Monday, June 29, 2009

  • Campaign officially passes half a billion
  • 'Club' closes, camps start, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Campaign officially passes half a billion

UW is announcing today, on the main web site and with a proud news release, that Campaign Waterloo has made history by raising more than half a billion dollars in private donations since it was launched in 2004.

It's been an open secret, certainly ever since vice-president (external relations) Meg Beckel quoted a figure of $462 million to UW's board of governors at the beginning of this month, and associate VP Linda Kieswetter spilled the beans to the university senate a few days later. Kieswetter and other university officials went public in interviews with the Waterloo Region Record that were published Saturday morning.

The campaign "has transformed the university and its community", says Bob Harding, chair of the university’s board of governors and chair of the campaign. The five-year effort has now raised more than $515 million, nearly double its original goal of $260 million and attracting, among thousands of contributions, four of the 10 largest gifts ever made to education in Canada.

Only two other universities have surpassed $500 million in fundraising campaigns — Toronto and Alberta — and both are significantly larger and older institutions, today's news release observes.

"This hugely successful campaign is classic Waterloo, the university that dared to be unconventional and ask 'why not?' and is now one of Canada's best universities” says Harding. “It demonstrates the power of philanthropy to make a huge difference in the future of a university, a community, a country.” He says this became possible because “our alumni, students, faculty and staff, individuals, plus many corporate partners — over 58,000 donors in all — collaborated in creating opportunities for this university to build a better future, for Canada and the world.”

Says the news release: "Those philanthropists range from Boaz Van Veen, who was four years old when he contributed his piggybank’s contents to Waterloo’s Alzheimer research program, to Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis, who donated $101 million to support the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Quantum-Nano Centre. The latter leveraged an additional $100 from federal and provincial governments, plus $100 million from other sources, creating a $300-million investment in research that may transform everything from communications to medicine.

"The campaign has spurred creation of new facilities, satellite campuses, teaching resources, scholarships and research capacity, and also attracted talent, brainpower and investment to the region and province."

The release lists some "key developments made possible or aided by this record philanthropy", including the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, the School of Pharmacy and the health sciences campus in Kitchener, the Stratford Institute, and so on and so on.

And now, "The campaign continues, focusing on the priorities of Waterloo’s sixth decade plan, entitled Pursuing Global Excellence: Seizing Opportunities for Canada, for each of the six faculties and four colleges."

To mark the new direction, the familiar logo ("Building a Talent Trust") on the template for tens of thousands of UW web pages is being changed to a black-and-red "Making the Future" logo (pictured above). It'll be seen across the web before today is over.

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[Lots of empty floor space]

There’s more empty space in the Davis Centre library since 22 tables and 88 chairs were moved out the other day to a new home in the Student Life Centre. The result: reduced noise and, according to several people on an online feedback page, the end to the “Club DC” social culture in the library’s group study area. Says one student: “The library is very cool to take away the tables and provide an extensive list of other library, classroom and lounge spaces for us to use. How can anyone argue with this clear number of good alternatives for group study while allowing Davis to become a real library again?” From another library user: “I have seen the police in here many times this term. I think moving out this much furniture will help a lot but wanted you to know there were many students smiling to see the thugs being tossed out.” The online response was overwhelmingly positive, although several people called for UW to build “a real study hall”.

'Club' closes, camps start, and more

School's out, and that means camp's in. UW's two major day camp programs for children begin their summer operations today. At the south end of campus, it's Arts Computer Experience, starting the first of four two-week sessions for kids aged 7 to 12, this year scampering about the campus in "jade" T-shirts. The program includes art, music, swimming, computers and drama: "Campers will discover improvisation, environment and character creation, emotion, non-verbal communication, and the use of props and costumes in a real theatre setting. Family Night rehearsals and the final performance will expose them to the performance side of theatre."

Meanwhile, Engineering Science Quest is under way in the engineering region of campus, with one-week camps all summer in half a dozen streams from Banting (children in grade 1 and 2) to Exxtreme (as high as grade 9). "Our engineering and science camps," says the ESQ web site, "strive to have one activity from the three major branches of science and one activity from civil, electrical, mechanical and computer engineering strands. In addition to this, often these camps pull in ideas from the realms of earth sciences, health sciences and more." Starting next week, ESQ will also be running camps at a number of out-of-town locations that vary week by week, including Brantford, Stratford, and — four July weeks in a row — the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in Brant County.

Watch for an announcement of a new child care facility on campus. “As you may have heard,” David DeVidi, president of the faculty association, told his membership by e-mail on Friday, “the university has given the green light to a new child care centre. The two goals are to replace the aging facilities of three of the existing child care providers, and to increase the total number of child care spots. This has long been a priority for FAUW, because it is important to many of our members and to the university. I want to congratulate the university on recognizing that this is an important matter and taking a progressive step. I also want to thank and congratulate the members of the campus child care committee, and the directors and staff members at the existing day cares now that all the hard work they've poured into this looks to be paying off. The hard work is not done, of course, as a committee with representatives of the existing facilities and the university will be working over the summer to hammer out the details of what will be built.”

[Dupuis]The Alzheimer Society of Canada has presented a "special recognition award" to Sherry Dupuis (left), professor of recreation and leisure studies and director of UW's Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program. She also heads the doctoral program in "aging, health and well-being". Says a news release from the society: "Dr. Dupuis’s research program has focused primarily on identifying ways to improve the quality of the lives of persons living with dementia and their families, shifting the focus to engage people with the disease directly in the planning for their well-being and developing alternative ways to translate research into practice." Dupuis was one of four people recognized as the society launched a new awards program.

There's a bit more to say, apparently, about the photo that appeared in the June 18 Daily Bulletin, an artifact from 1984 that shows UW president Doug Wright celebrating with a very-young-looking Ian McPhee of spinoff company Watcom Ltd. I originally described the picture as dating from the founding of Watcom, but I'm reminded (by a reader who's now with a newer though larger high-tech firm) that Watcom actually began in 1981. "If the photo dates from 1984, it would have been related to a special project," she says. And that does seem to be the case. The immediate source of the picture was the "Chronology of Computing at the University of Waterloo" maintained online by the School of Computer Science. It says the Wright-McPhee encounter "commemorates the sale of Watsoft Products, by UW, to Watcom. After the purchase of Watsoft, the fortunes of Watcom developed an international market. A little over ten years later, the company was acquired by the US-based firm Powersoft for $48 million. A year later Powersoft was purchased by Sybase of California, the world's sixth largest computer software company."

Finally, being a stickler for detail, I have to correct the statement in Thursday's Daily Bulletin that associate provost Bruce Mitchell "has also been serving as acting associate vice-president (international)". The word "acting", I'm reminded, means that somebody actually holds the position but is away from the university. The AVP (international) post has been vacant since Gail Cuthbert Brandt finished her term a year ago tomorrow. Thus Mitchell has been filling in not as "acting" but as "interim" associate VP. As of July 1, similarly, he'll be interim (not acting) provost of the university.


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Link of the day

Peter and Paul

When and where

Pre-enrolment for winter 2010 term undergraduate courses, June 29 to July 5 on Quest.

Architecture student job posting for fall term co-op jobs, June 29-30.

Industrial research chair: Announcement of a new chair in Mathematics-Based Modelling and Design for John McPhee, systems design engineering, sponsored by NSERC, Toyota and Maplesoft, by invitation, 10:00, Davis Centre room 1709.

Lectures in Quantum Information series by Anthony Leggett, “The physics of topological quantum computing: selected topics”, continues June 30 and July 2, 2 p.m., Research Advancement Centre room 2009. All welcome.

Canada Day holiday Wednesday, UW offices and most services closed; classes cancelled; annual celebrations and fireworks on the north campus 2:00 to 11:00.

Summer session classes begin Thursday.

Blood donor clinic at Student Life Centre, July 6-9 (10:00 to 3:00) and July 10 (9:00 to 2:00). Details.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” July 6 and 13, 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

‘What Is Your Carbon Footprint?’ brown-bag seminar with Mike Greulich, plant operations, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Wednesday, July 8, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Swing2Cure Charity Golf Tournament sponsored by Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Wednesday, July 8, 12:00, Rebel Creek Golf Club. Details.

Farm market operated by UW food services and volunteers, Thursday, July 9, 9:00 to 1:00, Environment I courtyard.

‘Teaching Large Classes’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday, July 9, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal bus trip sponsored by International Student Connection, July 10-12, tickets starting at $149 from Federation of Students office.

LIF and PIF funding proposals (Learning Initiatives Fund and Program Initiative Fund) deadline: July 15. Information here (click on Grants.)

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment Thursday, July 16, 12:30 to 2 p.m., East Campus Hall.

R&T Park charity golf tournament Thursday, July 16, at Conestoga Golf Club: barbecue 12:00, shotgun start 1:00, dinner and prizes 5:00, tickets $99, proceeds to K-W Community Foundation. Details.

Student Life 101 open house for students coming to UW this fall, Saturday, July 25, 9:00 to 4:00. Details.

Waterloo at the Zoo outing to Metro Toronto Zoo for alumni, family and friends, Saturday, July 25. Details.

Spring term classes end Wednesday, July 28. Exams August 4-15; unofficial grades begin appearing on Quest August 17; grades become official September 21.

Civic Holiday Monday, August 3, UW offices and most services closed.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is August 31 (cheques, fee arrangements) or September 9 (bank payment). Details.

Homecoming 2009 Saturday, September 26. Includes AHS fun run, East Asian Festival, engineering and math reunions, Aboriginal Pow-Wow, Conrad Grebel University College 1990-95 era alumni reunion. Details.

PhD oral defences

Chemistry. Alla Dawish, “Syntheses and Applications of Vinylstannanes.” Supervisor, J. Michael Chong. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, July 9, 1:00 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Accounting and finance. Leslie Berger, “How Incentive Contracts and Tax Complexity Influence and Facilitate Long-Term Performance.” Supervisor, Alan Webb. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2419. Oral defence Friday, July 10, 9:00 a.m., Hagey Hall room 2104.

Sociology. Shane Dixon, “Preventing Occupational Injury: An Examination of Two Participatory Workplace Health Programs.” Supervisor, Nancy Theberge. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2419. Oral defence Tuesday, July 14, 9:30 a.m., PAS building room 2030.

Electrical and computer engineering. Muhammed Said Boybay, “Sensitivity Enhancement of Near Field Probes Using Negative Materials.” Supervisor, Omar M. Ramahi. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, July 15, 10:00 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Friday's Daily Bulletin