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Thursday, April 28, 2011

  • Digital high-flyers converge on Stratford
  • Math teacher among those leaving 'a legacy'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Looking out over the plains]

‘The Kgalagadi desert began calling to me in oboes, pizzicato strings, frolicking bassoons, and horns,’ says Carol Ann Weaver, music professor at Conrad Grebel University College, who’s currently on an African sabbatical (and is seen viewing a herd of wildebeest). “An orchestra piece was being born.” She had no more than three weeks to write “Kgalagadi Calls”, working in a music practice room at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. David Plylar, the new conductor of the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, agreed to give the piece a reading, something that happened April 19 — “a very high honour”, Weaver says. “It was incredibly well received by the players, the conductor and the people who had come to listen,” she reports. Concert performances may now follow, both in Durban and in Waterloo.

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Digital high-flyers converge on Stratford

Canada's premier national digital media event — the annual Canada 3.0 digital media forum — “will have a strong lineup of speakers including MacroWikinomics co-author and consultant Anthony D. Williams” when it takes place in Stratford next week, organizers promise.

The university, through its Stratford campus, was a founder of Canada 3.0 when it was first held in 2009, and this year ranks as a “supporter” along with the city of Stratford. Platinum sponsors are Open Text, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Research in Motion.

The Canadian Digital Media Network, which is organizing the event, says in a news release that the goal continues to be the “Moonshot” — that anyone can do anything online in Canada by 2017. “The Moonshot goal is what drives the discussion and action items resulting from the event,” said Kevin Tuer, managing director of the CDMN. “Canada 3.0 2011 will be examining how ICT — Information and Communications Technologies — can advance Canada's productivity.”

In addition to the industry focus, Canada 3.0 also spans government and education, with the speaker roster including Jeremy Gutsche, author of Exploiting Chaos and host of Trend Hunter TV; Michael Wesch of Kansas State University, winner of the Wired Magazine Rave Award; Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile; Soniya Monga, community manager at; and Paul Lepage of Telus.

Eight sector tracks will include more than 100 speakers and panelists, plus interactive discussions regarding the latest in digital media-driven productivity gains in education, health, media and entertainment, telecommunications and distribution, natural resources, public sector, research, and human resources.

In addition to the “main tent" presentations and sector tracks, the forum also features an Interactive Showcase area which this year promises more than 60 exhibitors. Tuer emphasizes that the connections between participants in the forum are a key benefit of the event: ”Every year the conversation is renewed and revitalized with connections that make for lasting relationships amongst digital startups and established companies, across sectors and up and down the influence chain.”

The power of ultra high-speed, high-capacity fibre optic connectivity will come to Stratford during next week’s event as CANARIE, Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network, will showcase two projects that take advantage of the network's high speed and capacity. Open Orchestra is an advanced simulation environment for musicians, similar to cockpit simulators that pilots use during their training. Delegates will also interact with the real-time data and images streamed from instruments located on the sea floor off the coast of Vancouver Island, home of the NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS underwater ocean networks.

"As we work to enable all Canadians to do anything online by 2017, the CANARIE demonstrations at Canada 3.0 will provide inspiration as to what high-speed broadband connectivity can bring to life," said Tuer. "Ultimately Canada needs to strive for a solid commercial infrastructure that can support applications which aren't even imagined today."

As the host city for the 30 forum, Stratford “is all about going digital”, CDMN says. The city's deployment of a high-speed wireless network and underlying fibre optic grid recently put Stratford on the “Top 7” cities designation by the Intelligent Community Forum. The city has enhanced its wireless connectivity including making the downtown core a wireless hot spot, and supported improvements in the Stratford Rotary Complex — where Canada 3.0 will be held — to enable better connectivity within the buildings.

"Stratford is setting an example for other municipalities in the country as to what's feasible for enabling digital commerce," said Tuer.

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Math teacher among those leaving 'a legacy'

by Emily Huxley, office of development

April showers bring May flowers — and Leave a Legacy Month. Held annually across Canada, Leave a Legacy Month celebrates individuals who have made a planned gift and encourages others to join them in supporting non-profit organizations. Individuals leaving a legacy at Waterloo are recognized as members of the Laurel Society.

Laurel Society members have helped Waterloo develop into a world-class university that will continue making a significant impact on society, well beyond their own lifetimes. Just as important, these individuals took the time to contact Waterloo's planned giving staff to learn more about available resources and benefits (including tax benefits) and to ensure their gift has the most impact in an ever-changing university environment. Anyone who has or plans to include the University of Waterloo in their estate is encouraged to do the same.

The majority of planned gifts made to Waterloo are bequests, gifts of stock, or gifts of life insurance. Bequests are typically structured as a percentage or specific number of shares from an estate’s residual value or are specific assets such as RRSPs and RRIFs. Gifts of stock provide an attractive tax benefit as the donor doesn’t have to claim the capital gains as income. Finally, gifts of life insurance are particularly appealing to younger donors as they provide an inexpensive way to leave a significant legacy. They are also beneficial for seniors with existing policies they no longer need.

[Fox]One of the newest members of the Laurel Society, high school math and computer science teacher, David Fox (BMath ’75) can certainly speak to the value of leaving a legacy and supporting education. Fox (left) has created a bequest in his will to establish the David M. Fox Awards in the Faculty of Mathematics, with a focus on students pursuing the faculty’s teaching option. The difference he will make through this award will multiply and divide in perpetuity — something a math teacher knows a lot about. Fox will leave his mark not only on the university, but also on future secondary school math teachers who will disperse around the world and inspire generations of students.

As a student, Fox struggled in school. It was only when a family relocation landed him in the classroom of a dedicated math teacher that his prospects took a turn for the better. Thanks to the confidence and inquisitiveness this teacher instilled in him, he began participating in math contests and annual computer science days hosted by the University of Waterloo. It was only fitting that, when it came time to enrol in post-secondary education, he chose to study math and computer science at Waterloo.

During his time at university, Fox was often reminded of his high school days. One particular course brought him into contact with math professor Ken Fryer, the author of many of his high school math textbooks. When searching for a job in his final year of study, he was intrigued by a flyer offering students the opportunity to attend teachers' college. Not only was teaching something he was interested in, but it would allow him to give back by inspiring students like him — just as his bequest will do.

David Fox is now retired and immersing himself in another one of his passions: the Ottawa Indoor Softball League he founded in 2006.


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Link of the day

National day of mourning

When and where

Spring term fees due today (bank transfer).

Graduate Student Research Conference final day. Details.

Opportunities and New Directions teaching and learning conference sponsored by Teaching Based Research Group, keynote addresses and workshop sessions, final day, Hagey Hall. Details.

Carl Pollock Hall (north block) hot and cold water shut off today 8 a.m. to noon.

Health services closed today until 1 p.m. for staff training.

Franco-fête for high school French students, from 9 a.m., Humanities Theatre.

‘Commute to uWaterloo by Bicycle’ sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , follow-up workshop: “What Do I Need?” 12:00, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

Germanic and Slavic studies day and evening of 50th anniversary celebrations, alumni invited. Details.

Provost’s Forum with speaker Julia Christensen-Hughes, “The Changing Context of Teaching and Learning and the Implication for University Leadership” 12:00, Laurel Room, by invitation.

Staff association round-table discussion; topic this month, “hiring practices”, 12:00, Math and Computer room 5136.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Chemical engineering seminar: Enrique Iglesia, University of California at Berkeley, “Consequences of Acid Strength in Chemical Reactions Catalyzed by Solid Acids” 3:30, postponed to June 16.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College , breakfast seminar: “Strategic Planning in a Family Business” Friday 7 a.m., Bingemans Conference Centre.

Retail services locations, including bookstore and Media.doc copy centres, closed for inventory, Friday.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Scott Campbell, “uWaterloo Computer Museum” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, Friday (9:00 to 9:00) and Saturday (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, Waterloo. Details.

Benefit concert for Japan: “Trios from the East and West” Saturday 8 p.m., Perimeter Institute. Details.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, concert for the Open Ears Festival , Sunday 3:00, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 2.

Federal general election Monday, May 2.

Employee Assistance Program sponsors UW Campus Walk, May 9 to June 5, individuals and teams welcome. Details.

Discussion group for parents of first-year students (incoming or just finished) May 16, 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116, information e-mail hwestmor@

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Jianjun Zhu, “Study of Vehicle Dynamics with Planar Suspension Systems (PSS).” Supervisors, Amir Khajepour and Ebrahim Esmailzadeh. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, May 9, 1:00 p.m., Engineering 3 room 4117.

Electrical and computer engineering. Hamid Reza Mohebbi, “Parametric Interaction in Josephson Junction Circuits and Transmission Lines.” Supervisors, A. Hamed Majedi and Sujeet K. Chaudhuri. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, May 9, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Electrical and computer engineering. Md. Forkan Uddin, “Throughput Optimization in Multi-Hop Wireless Networks with Random Access.” Supervisors, Weihua Zhang and Catherine Rosenberg. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, May 11, 3:00 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

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