Friday, April 17, 2009

  • Library talk to introduce chancellor
  • Galleries show work of MFA graduates
  • Bits of news and bytes of spaghetti
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Library talk to introduce chancellor

UW’s new chancellor, financial executive Prem Watsa, will be introduced to the campus Monday as he gives this year’s Friends of the Library Lecture.

[Watsa]Watsa (right), who is CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, will speak on “Fair, Friendly Acquisitions: The Fairfax Story” and is expected to focus on “the culture, guiding principles, and values driving Fairfax, including its focus on people, ethical action, and doing the right thing regardless of the outcome,” an announcement from the library says.

The Friends of the Library Lecture is an annual spring event and has presented both UW thinkers and prominent outside figures. This year’s lecture is a reminder of the initial Friends Lecture in May 1993, when newly appointed UW president James Downey faced the campus for the first time.

“The lecture is designed,” the library’s announcement explains, “to bring our campus community together to be inspired by the creativity that surrounds us in all disciplines. Waterloo is known worldwide as a university committed to both curiosity-driven research, essential to the discovery of new knowledge, and applied research, which seeks novel ways to use that knowledge.

“We choose a speaker each year who has an association to the University of Waterloo. In the past our speakers have been faculty, staff, alumni, and members of our board of governors. Previous speakers have also represented a diverse range of disciplines; they include a politician, an artist, a composer, scientists, journalists, novelists, an astronaut, and a historian.

“The UW Library is the organizing body behind this campus event. The event reflects the fundamental work of the Library: bringing together information from a diverse range of disciplines for the purpose of creating new knowledge.”

As always, a part of the event’s celebrations allows the library and the audience to recognize members of the university community who have authored a book, composed a musical score, mounted an art show, or were recognized for their design or photography work in the past year.

Among this year’s contributions are artistic pieces by associate professor of computer science Craig S. Kaplan, and a fictional work by retired associate professor of kinesiology Don Ranney. Kaplan’s artistic creations are inspired by the decorative tradition of Islamic geometric art; Ranney’s novel, When Cobras Laugh, is co-authored with his friend and Waterloo alumnus, Ray Wiseman, and describes their early experiences overseas. Ranney and his novel are featured in the Spring issue of WatTimes, the newsletter of the UW retirees’ association. Kaplan’s and Ranney’s works, as well as those of many other individuals from the Waterloo community, will be publicly showcased and recognized during the event.

Everyone is welcome to attend Monday’s lecture, which will start at 12 noon in the Theatre of the Arts.

Watsa was introduced last fall as the next — the ninth — chancellor of the university, and will assume that post May 1, succeeding Research In Motion executive Mike Lazaridis. The chancellor’s most public role is to preside at convocation ceremonies, and he or she is also an ex officio member of the senate and the university’s board of governors. UW president David Johnston said recently that Watsa has agreed to bring his expertise to the table as a member of the board’s finance and investment committee.

Watsa was born in Hyderabad, India, in 1950 and earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1971. He moved to Ontario the following year and later earned an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, working at Confederation Life Insurance Co. in Toronto and serving as a vice-president of Confederation Life and then of start-up firm GW Asset Management.

He co-founded Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. (now fully owned by Fairfax) in 1984. The next year he took control of Markel Financial Holdings Ltd. In 1987, he re-organized Markel and renamed it Fairfax, which is short for fair and friendly acquisitions. The company says its name reflects the firm's guiding principles: that honesty and integrity are essential in all relationships and will never be compromised.

Fairfax is currently working with UW to create a one-year professional master's program in actuarial science. Subject to approval, the program will provide actuarial training to 30 students, one-third of them from India, who have strong quantitative undergraduate degrees.

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Galleries show work of MFA graduates

Work by six graduating Master of Fine Arts students is on display at various locations this spring, the fine arts department has announced. Here’s the word on the exhibitions.

Ram Samocha’s drawing installation, “No Peace”, has been open since March 28, and closes tomorrow, at the student-operated Artery Gallery, 158 King Street West in Kitchener.

“As an immigrant,” the show’s publicity explains, the Israeli-born Samocha “focuses on the issues of personal and global transformation and uses challenging media such as drawing, animation, video and performance. In his new series of works Samocha talks about the emotional restlessness of an immigrant who lives in a peaceful place but at the same time is tormented by the ongoing war in his homeland. Ram Samocha is a member of The Red Head Gallery, an artists' collective in Toronto, and presently resides in Ontario. Samocha's work is part of various museum and private collections and has been shown in Israel, The Netherlands, Mexico, the United States and Canada.”

Scott Everingham’s exhibition of paintings, “Based on a True Story”, has just closed at Paul Petro Special Projects on Queen Street West in Toronto. The show “explores the space in which one may become dislocated, anxious, and unsettled.

“Heavily influenced by literary and cinematic fiction, Everingham generates content for each painting through a process of discovery, examining ambiguity of both landscape and figuration simultaneously. This new body of work investigates the arrangement of space through the limitation and autonomy of paint by remaining inventive and impulsive. The painted environments are at once illogical and concrete, implying both failure and reconstruction.”

Everingham received his BFA from NSCAD University in 2004, and was published in Magenta Foundation's Carte Blanche Vol. II Painting. He has recently exhibited in STARE at the Brick Lane Gallery London, La Petite Mort Gallery in Ottawa, and the Satellite Gallery at the University of San Antonio.

Colin Carney’s digital video exhibition, “Locate/Dislocate: Haiku Videos”, has been running this week at UW’s own Render gallery in East Campus Hall, where there will be a reception tonight from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Carney,” says the publicity, “adopts the 5-7-5 haiku poem as a video structure. In works which last no longer than 30 seconds the artist explores a variety of situations that are at times transient, domestic, sublime and intimate. Carney uses a combination of superimpositions and quick edits in an effort to locate or dislocate our position in each circumstance.”

Heidi Overhill’s personalized museum, “MoMe”, runs this week and next at the Front Gallery, also in East Campus Hall, where there will be a reception today from 5 to 8 p.m. (“birthday cake will be served”).

“As an exhibition designer,” says the publicity, “Heidi Overhill has created permanent galleries for the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum, the National Museum of the Philippines, and the Shania Twain Centre. Now applying formal museum design methodology to the domestic problems of her own house, Overhill has created the Museum of Me. Current curatorial work at MoMe focuses on accessing the permanent collection: assigning each item in the house a standardized reference number and recording basic data about its identity, medium, location, dimensions and provenance. This inaugural exhibition from MoMe features works from the collection with their records. A gift shop sells MoMe t-shirts, postcards and other souvenirs.”

Miranda Urbanski’s “Performative Gestures” will run April 22-30 at the Render gallery in ECH, with an opening reception next Saturday, April 25, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Urbanski, the organizers explain, “brings artistic perspective gained in Canada and abroad to her exhibition Performative Gestures. Miranda's series of self-portraits explores identity as changing social performance — in essence a masquerade. She uses the vivifying power of oil paint and bold gestural brush marks to bring her fleshy figures to life.”

Finally, Nathalie Quagliotto’s “The Maturity Playground” — “a sculptural series of reconfigured playground structures” — will run at Render from May 4 to May 22, with a reception Friday, May 8, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“Quagliotto's practice,” says the publicity, “is rooted in taking everyday pre-fabricated objects linked to childhood and disrupting their associated habitual function to the point in which they become tensional situations for adults. When approaching and experiencing these manipulated forms, the works present a method for people to deal with dilemmas of morality in association with the self and in association with others by playing out the activity of the object.”

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Bits of news and bytes of spaghetti

“The system for wireless authentication on campus will be changing during the spring term,” says Mike Patterson of the information systems and technology department. “The go-live date is May 14, but the system will be enabled in test mode on April 20,” which is this coming Monday. Patterson explains the plan: “The new system will bring back the system security check software known as MinUWet. Your Quest/ADS and/or Nexus credentials will still work. During the test phase, you will be able to run MinUWet and see what your results would be. You will gain full access to the network regardless of these results. If your system fails a MinUWet check and you believe that to be an error, you should contact your local computing helpdesk or the CHIP. After the May date, passing MinUWet will be required for all Windows machines to gain full access to the network. We are making these changes in order to allow us to better control client access to the network. Along with the MinUWet system for NAC (Network Access Control), network administrators will be able to more easily blacklist users with problematic applications or machines.”

[Muir]Yet another award has come to Heather Muir (left), a UW arts student who has already received such honours as the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers. Now Muir, from Walkerton, Ontario, is one of 75 recipients of this year's Caring Canadian Award from the Governor General of Canada, "presented to individuals and groups whose unpaid, voluntary contributions provide extraordinary help or care to people in the community". The official citation notes that Muir, "diagnosed with a rare medical condition at the age of four, has selflessly dedicated herself to being a strong voice for youth issues and to offering her assistance to the Canadian Blood Services. Ms. Muir is a past president of Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving association, a member of the local Optimist Club, of 4-H and of the National Liaison Committee of Canadian Blood Services. Today, Ms. Muir continues to devote a large part of her life to the promotion of valuable causes."

People both with Italian background and without it have been rallying in the past few days to support relief and reconstruction following the massive earthquake April 6 in central Italy. A major presence among Italian-Canadians in Kitchener-Waterloo is the Italian Cortina Club, whose president this year is Gabriel Niccoli, professor of French and Italian at St. Jerome’s University. He sends word that all are invited to an all-day pasta buffet at the club tomorrow, with tickets priced at $20 (children under 12, $10). It runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the club’s premises, 22 Kevco Place, off Manitou Drive in Kitchener. “The Cortina Club will donate the hall and all food,” says Niccoli, “while an army of volunteers will service the event. Please come out, enjoy a savoury spaghettata and support an urgent and extremely worthy cause. All proceeds will be donated to the victims of the Abruzzo earthquake.” An estimated 300 people died in the disaster, and the destruction included sizeable damage to the campus of the University of L’Aquila, whose rector said this week that the institution “is in mourning for the victims of the tragic event that has befallen our city”.

Lisa ter Woort in the co-op education and career services department serves as advisor to the World University Service of Canada group on campus, and she reports on how things are going: “Waterloo International and senior administration have now committed to providing a one-year tuition waiver for each of the students sponsored through the Student Refugee Program. Local committee (volunteering students) will continue to provide the logistical, emotional and social support to the sponsored students with support from WUSC Ottawa, including the experiences of the other participating universities across Canada. The UW SRP budget is held and managed at the Federation of Students. The local committee continues to organize events on campus related to bringing attention to international development issues including the plight of refugees. A Bike for AIDS event is scheduled for Sunday, April 26. The SRP was initiated at UW in 2006. Currently there is one sponsored student studying at UW and one former sponsored student studying at UW. This year UW WUSC SRP is expecting to host two sponsored students who are scheduled to arrive in August.”


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Minister to announce funding

Federal science minister Gary Goodyear, as well as Suzanne Fortier, president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, will be at UW today to make an announcement of this year's Canada-wide NSERC funding for research. The event is to be held at 2:00 in Chemistry II room 392.

Stepping out for Earth Day

People who work in the north campus Research and Technology Park are being invited to mark Earth Day a little early, in this afternoon's 17-degree sunshine. "We ask," an organizing committee says in a flyer, "that employees take 20 minutes from their busy schedules at 2 p.m. to clean up the grounds around their building for a good cause. Supplies will be provided to each building." Full garbage bags will be collected for a commemorative photo north of the Accelerator Centre building. Earth Day cleanups are planned in other parts of Kitchener-Waterloo today, tomorrow and next week.

Link of the day

'Day of silence'

When and where

Winter term examinations continue through April 24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27. Grades become official May 25.

Grant-writing workshop with Nicolas Germain, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 9:00, Needles Hall room 1116; individual appointments available afterwards; RSVP uwsshrc@

Teaching-Based Research Group seminar: “Demystifying Library Databases, Conducting a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Literature Review” 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Dance Dance Canada performances Friday-Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

Pharmacy building community open house Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 10 Victoria Street South, all welcome. (Official opening ceremony, by invitation, today 10 a.m.)

Warrior rugby clinic for boys and girls grades 9 to 12, Saturday 10:00 to 3:00, Columbia fields, cost $45. Details.

Conrad Grebel University College Convocation Sunday 2:00, Theatre of the Arts.

Staff Appreciation Week lunches at University Club, Monday-Friday 11:30 to 2:00, $18.95 per person, reservations ext. 33801. Monday menu: Vietnamese style sticky pork loin, baked catfish with Creole sauce, vegetable jambalaya.

UW Senate meets Monday 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Social work seminar: Sandra Loucks Campbell, Renison University College, “Parallels of Power: Organizations and Their Clients” Monday 4:30, Renison chapel lounge.

Walking yoga free trial session sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00 noon, start at CEIT building foyer.

Alumni in London, Ontario: networking event Tuesday 6:00, Aroma Mediterranean Restaurant. Details.

Live and Learn lecture: Marcel O’Gorman, English, “Necromedia”, Tuesday 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Public Library main branch.

UW Retirees Association spring luncheon Wednesday 11:30 a.m., Luther Village, speaker (new) Ron Schlegel, retirement community executive and gerontology researcher, tickets $25, information 519-885-4758.

‘Your American Income Taxes’ new faculty lunch-and-learn session with Ken Klasen and Stan Laiken, school of accounting and finance, for US citizens on the UW faculty, Wednesday 11:45 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004. Details.

Smarter health seminar: Neil Gardner, Saskatchewan Health, “Advancing Health Informatics as a Profession” Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Hallman Lecture: Tess Kay, Loughborough University, England, “Pressure Zone or Pleasure Zone? How Family Life Impacts Work-Life Balance” Wednesday 4:30, Hallman Institute room 1621.

Columbia Lake Health Club “lifestyle learning” session: “Get Ready for Golf”, Wednesday 5:30 p.m., 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Alumni in Windsor: reception with leaders of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) and student Alternative Fuels Team, Wednesday 6:00, The Keg Riverside, Windsor, Ontario.

St. Jerome’s University presents “Beyond the Barriers: A Community Forum on Healthcare in a Multicultural City”, Wednesday 7:00 p.m., St. Mary’s Hospital.

Public forum on the Middle East Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall.

Spiritual Heritage Education Network presents Swami Maheshanand Saraswati, “The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali”, Wednesday 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

Staff association pension, benefits and compensation subcommittee meets Thursday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1351, association members welcome.

Alumni in London, UK: networking reception Thursday, April 23, 6:00 p.m., Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill. Details.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: “Succession Stories” Friday, April 24, 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn. Details.

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry, annual general meeting, Friday, April 24, 1:00 p.m., University of Guelph Thornbrough building room 1200; seminar, Tong Leung of UW, “Surface Science of Some Nano Stuff”, 3:00; graduate student poster session and awards presentation follow, Peter Clark Hall, U of G.

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Yusof Ganji, “A Platform for Robot-Assisted Intracardiac Catheter Navigation.” Supervisors, Farrokh Janabi-Sharifi and Safavi-Naeini Safieddin. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, April 28, 1:00 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Optometry. Subha Trichy Venkataraman, “Retinal and Optic Nerve Head Vascular Reactivity in Primary Open Angle Glaucoma.” Supervisors, Christopher Hudson and John G. Flanagan. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, April 30, 10:00 a.m., Optometry room 347.

Sociology. Luc Boyer, “Student Satisfaction Surveys and Nonresponse: Ignorable Survey, Ignorable Nonresponse.” Supervisor, John Goyder. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2419. Oral defence Thursday, April 30, 10:00 a.m., PAS building room 2030.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Semen Mikheevskiy, “Elastic-Plastic Fatigue Crack Growth Analysis under Variable Amplitude Loading Spectra.” Supervisor, Grzegorz Glinka. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, May 1, 10:00 a.m., Engineering III room 4117.

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