Wednesday, June 9, 2010

  • 'More than 450' will leave legacies
  • Hawking begins his visit to Perimeter
  • Honour for chem eng prof; more notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

'More than 450' will leave legacies

Hundreds of Waterloo alumni and other friends have already heard the message of Leave a Legacy Month, marked across Canada during May, but that leaves thousands more whom the university’s development office hopes to reach.

The annual “month” is “an important component of a national public awareness program,” says communications officer Ryan Jacobs, “designed to encourage people to leave a gift through their will, or any other gift planning instrument, to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice.”

Dipali Batabyal, planned giving officer in development, tells more: “Leave a Legacy Month is a chance for all not-for-profit organizations to celebrate the ways individuals demonstrate leadership through legacy gifts. At Waterloo, we have more than 450 people who have informed us that they’ve made arrangements for a future gift to the university, and we are proud to recognize each of them as a member of Waterloo’s Laurel Society.”

Setting an example are a Markham couple, alumni Andrew and Joanna McDowell. Andrew (BA 1976) lived at Conrad Grebel College, as it was then called, and both he and his wife Joanna (BA 1981) donate regularly to the college.

While Andrew was a student, he and his roommate, Gary Leis, served as leaders for regional Mennonite youth groups and planned events to bring the two groups together. Now, in addition to volunteering at their church in Markham, they put an emphasis on serving the broader church. Andrew has served as moderator for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and is currently moderator for Mennonite Church Canada. Several years ago, while he served on the Grebel board of governors, the couple arranged a planned gift using a life insurance policy.

“We support Conrad Grebel because it had a positive impact on our development as Christian young adults,” they write, “and we are impressed with the unique model — a nurturing church-based college community within a large university that offers many excellent opportunities for higher education in diverse fields. Years ago, we chose to make a planned gift to Conrad Grebel through a life insurance policy. It allowed us to make an affordable contribution in the present that will translate into a more substantial gift to the college in the future.”

At the development office, Dipali added that Leave a Legacy Month (or the month after it) is a good time to remind people to let somebody know if they plan to leave an insurance policy or bequest to the university, so they too can be recognized as members of the Laurel Society. It’s also an opportunity to confirm that the university will be able to live up to the donor’s vision and wishes for the gift.

“Part of my job,” she says, “is ensuring that people’s intentions and motivations for their legacy are understood. An important part of this is having the opportunity to speak with them. We work hard to ensure that everyone knows to call us, whether they want to talk about their legacy, or learn more about tax and estate planning benefits and the different planned giving vehicles.” She can be reached at ext. 37040 and colleague Sharon McKay-Todd is at ext. 35413.

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Hawking begins his visit to Perimeter

World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is in town, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where he's serving as a Distinguished Research Chair, is making sure everybody knows it's extraordinary news.

The institute — not a part of UW, though with close ties to the physics and astronomy department — has announced that Hawking, who is British, "will be officially welcomed to Canada" by federal and provincial officials at a ceremony on June 20. That's the same day UW will hold a special convocation ceremony at Perimeter's Theatre of Ideas, at which Hawking may, or may not, be present.

At 4:00 that Sunday afternoon, Perimeter says, Hawking will be greeted by federal industry minister Tony Clement and Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty. "The greetings will be followed with a special presentation by Prof. Hawking.  The activities will be broadcast on TVO that same evening."

Says Neil Turok, the director of Perimeter: “We are very happy to have Stephen here doing science with other researchers at Perimeter Institute. On June 20 he will take time out to be welcomed by our many public and private partners, including the governments of Ontario and Canada, and to give a special broadcast lecture. Stephen is an exceptional communicator, and we are delighted to be able to share his talk on television.  We are also looking forward to his impressions of the ‘Stephen Hawking Centre at Perimeter Institute’ now under construction.”

This past October, when the expansion to PI’s facility was named in his honour, Hawking said from his home in Cambridge, England: "Our field of theoretical physics has been the most successful and cost-effective in all of science. Where would we be today without Newton, Maxwell and Einstein? Many great challenges lie ahead. Where this new understanding will lead, is impossible to say for sure. What we can say with confidence is that expanding the perimeter of our knowledge will be the key to our future."

The formal greetings a week from next Sunday will be followed by announcements about Perimeter's construction project and the "Expanding the Perimeter initiative", and then Hawking will speak about "topics involving space, time, matter and his life in science", a Perimeter news release says. "As Prof. Hawking will be conducting private research activities during his visit, the June 20th activity is his only scheduled appearance."

Hawking — whose wheelchair is an internationally recognized scientific icon — "has made several extraordinary contributions to fundamental theoretical physics," the Perimeter release explains, "especially in establishing the classical and quantum properties of black holes and in building quantum gravitational theories of the origin of the universe and structures within it. His most celebrated work was the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, known as Hawking radiation. In keeping with university policy, Prof. Hawking retired as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University in 2009, the year he turned 67. He has authored many popular books, from A Brief History of Time (1988) to George’s Secret Key to the Universe (2007)."

His arrival in Waterloo Region was greeted by a long front-page story in Saturday's issue of the Record newspaper, and there have been several more stories this week.

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[Simon]Honour for chem eng prof; more notes

A Waterloo researcher was one of the guests of honour at a Toronto luncheon yesterday as the annual “Top 40 Under 40” winners were celebrated. He’s Leonardo Simon (left), faculty member in chemical engineering and a member of the Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology. A proud announcement from WIN says Simon “won the prestigious honour for excellence in research, most notably his leadership of the Ontario BioCar Initiative. BioCar is a joint venture between Ford Canada and the Universities of Waterloo, Guelph, Windsor, and Toronto. For his part, Dr. Simon obtains waste fibres from the agricultural industry, like wheat or straw, and chemically modifies these at the nano-scale to obtain new functionality. These modified fibres are then transformed into composites. Ford uses these composites in the Flex, its sport utility vehicle.” Each year, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 celebrates “exceptional Canadians under the age of 40, who are outstanding leaders in their chosen fields, and who are shaping the country’s future.” Waterloo claimed a share of the credit for another Top 40 winner, Linda Campbell, who earned her PhD in biology here and is now a Canada Research Chair at Queen’s University. Simon and Campbell were congratulated in an ad published in yesterday’s Globe and Mail, under the heading “Waterloo: Our Natural Resource Is Talent.”

The housing and residences office says details of residence assignments for September went out yesterday to thousands of new first-year students. • The admission process for first-year programs at Waterloo's United Arab Emirates campus for this fall is getting under way, and so far 15 students are confirmed in engineering and 13 in the new mathematics program, the registrar reports. • Waterloo city council discussed the Northdale neighbourhood on Monday night, heard delegations (including a joint presentation from UW and Wilfrid Laurier University officials), and decided to call for a land-use study that will "consider" intensified development in the area.

Convocation this month will see the graduation of the first students from the Master of Catholic Thought program at St. Jerome’s University. “In honour of the program and its inaugural graduation,” St. Jerome’s has announced, the UW-federated institution “will bestow a Doctor of Theology, honoris causa, degree upon Deborah Pecoskie in recognition of her contributions to theological learning and education, to Catholic education in general, and to St. Jerome’s University in particular.” It’s not common for St. Jerome’s to grant degrees directly — its students go home with Waterloo degrees — but the institution, which had been in operation for a century before UW came along, does have “the right and power to grant degrees in Theology, honorary or otherwise”, a news release stresses. Pecoskie played a pivotal part in establishing the MCT program, as chair of the college’s board of governors when it was launched and, along with her husband, Ray, as a major donor. “As Chair,” says the release, “Ms Pecoskie played a direct role in promoting Catholic higher education. She took advantage of every opportunity to promote St. Jerome’s University, something she continues to do today. The MCT program was designed to respond to the need for Catholics who provide leadership in areas such as health care, social services, and education to be theologically informed about Roman Catholic life and thought.” The ThD degree will be presented at a Convocation Mass in Siegfried Hall on the morning of June 17.


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Link of the day

'The first scream was for fun'

When and where

Students for Palestinian Rights protest rally against flotilla raid, 1:00, Student Life Centre courtyard.

Paul Heinbecker, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks on foreign policy and recent events in Gaza, sponsored by department of history, 2:00, Doug Wright Engineering room 3522.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type”, first of two sessions, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Health and wellness fair for people with developmental disabilities and their families, featuring School of Pharmacy students and other groups, 5:30 to 8:30, Creekside Church, 660 Conservation Drive.

Ring road closed between PAS building and Needles Hall, because of Environment 3 construction work, June 10 to July 12.

‘Test drive the iPad’  Thursday 11:00 to 2:00, Campus Tech (Student Life Centre) and E-Smart (South Campus Hall).

Net Change Week webcast, “The Future” and “Cybersecurity” panels, Thursday 12:00 to 4:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Retirees Association annual general meeting Thursday 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, information 519-888-0334.

School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, information session Thursday 5:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Agile Coach Camp “open space conference” June 11-12. “Unkeynote” event open to all: “Interactive Agile Games” led by Gerry Kirk, Friday 5:30 p.m., Davis Centre lounge. Details.

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery opening reception for “Lucid Dreaming” by Bruce Taylor, UW department of fine arts, and other exhibitions, Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 (artist talks 1:00), 25 Caroline Street North.

Media conference to discuss Waterloo football team and tests for banned substances, Monday 11:00, information mstrickl@

‘Yoga on the Green’ led by Sandra Gibson, health services, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00, outside Graduate House.

Centre for Extended Learning (formerly distance and continuing education) open house and name change celebration, Tuesday 3:30 to 5:30, 335 Gage Avenue, Kitchener, RSVP jmoser@

100th Convocation June 16-19, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details. Special session Sunday, June 20, 9:45 a.m., Perimeter Institute, for MSc (physics) graduates.

School of Planning graduation reception June 16, light lunch 12:30 p.m., program to follow, South Campus Hall, tickets $10, e-mail slknisch@

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Laboratory instructor, chemical engineering, USG 10
• Bombshelter kitchen manager, Federation of Students, USG 6
• Faculty secretary, dean of engineering, USG 7
• Admissions officer, office of the registrar, USG 8 (two positions)
• Senior fabrication equipment technologist, Institute for Quantum Computing, USG 9
• Learning management systems and quality assurance specialist, Centre for Extended Learning (12-month secondment or contract)

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Prodip Kumar Das, “Transport Phenomena in Cathode Catalyst Layer of PEM Fuel Cells.” Supervisor,  Xianguo Li. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 11, 9:30 a.m., Energy Research Centre room 3012.

Chemical engineering. Juan Rosendo Diaz Mendoza, “Robust Empirical Model-Based Algorithms for Nonlinear Processes.” Supervisor, Hector Budman. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, June 15, 9:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Pure mathematics. Xiaomei Zhao, “Asymptotic Estimates for Rational Spaces on Hypersurfaces in Function Fields.” Supervisor, Yu-Ru Liu. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, June 15, 10:00 a.m., Mathematics and Computer room 5046.

Earth and environmental sciences. Fred A. Blaine, “The Effect of Volatiles (H2O, Cl and CO2) on the Solubility and Partitioning of Platinum and Iridium in Fluid-Melt Systems.” Supervisor, Robert L. Linnen. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, June 16, 10:00 a.m., Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 305.

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