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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

  • 5,045 degrees of convocation
  • Waterloo joins counterterrorism team
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Convocation image.
5,045 degrees of convocation

The University of Waterloo's 104th Convocation gets underway today, with ceremonies over the next four days that will see more than five thousand diplomas and degrees, both undergraduate and graduate, handed out.

Highlights of this spring's Convocation include the first graduating classes in management engineering, knowledge integration, and international development.

Today, the morning ceremony is for graduates from the faculties of applied health sciences and environment — a total of 847 of them. The speaker is David B. Brooks, a member of the International Water Academy, who is receiving an honorary Doctor of Environmental Studies.

Alan Christian Cudlip, graduating in honours kinesiology, will deliver the valedictory address on behalf of graduating students. Alumni gold medals, recognizing the top graduating students in the two faculties, will be presented to Shih-Yuan Liang (School of Public Health and Health Systems, AHS) and Eric Brian Kennedy (knowledge integration, ENV). In addition to the medal winners, departmental awards for "distinguished academic achievement" go to Shih-Yuan Liang (School of Public Health and Health Systems), Allison Engelhardt (kinesiology), Danielle Krysia Helena Ufniak (Recreation and Leisure Studies), Chris Ray (environment and business), Johanna Maria Vanderkooy (environment and resource studies), Heather MacKinnon (geography and environmental management), Meng Li (geomatics), Dana Stacey Vanthof (international development), Eric Brian Kennedy (knowledge integration), and Joshua David Price Layton (planning).

Two other students are being recognized for "outstanding academic performance in graduate studies": Homa Kheyrollah Pour (master's in Geography) and Laura Claire Brown (PhD in Geography).

Also at the morning ceremony, which starts at 10:00 in the Physical Activities Complex, Waterloo will honour John P. Hirdes of the School of Public Health and Health Systems, and Susan Wismer of the Department of Environment and Resource Studies with awards of excellence in graduate supervision.

This afternoon's ceremony, starting at 2:30, is focused on the faculty of science, and will see 773 students presented with their diplomas.

The honorary degree recipient and convocation speaker this afternoon is Arthur B. McDonald, holder of the Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in particle astrophysics at Queen's University and director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory from 1989 to 2009, who will be receiving a doctor of science. Jovian Tsang (honours biochemistry) will speak as valedictorian.

Firas Mansour of the Department of Physics and Astronomy will receive a distinguished teacher award. Michael Power will receive the award of excellence in graduate supervision.

Qiaoyuan Dong (honours physics) will be given an Alumni Gold Medal. This marks the first time that the faculty's gold medal has been awarded to a graduate of the Waterloo Science China 2+2 program.

Jerry Edward White (Master's, biology) Jennifer Sophia Ings (PhD, biology) will receive the outstanding achievement in graduate studies award.

Desmond Fonn of the School of Optometry and Vision Science will be named "distinguished professor emeritus."

The a capella group The Water Boys will sing the national anthem at the morning Convocation ceremony, with Jake Willms, an honorary member of the university, singing in the afternoon.

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Waterloo joins counterterrorism team

with material from a media relations office news release

It's not quite "fighting for freedom wherever there's trouble", but I'll take it:

International efforts to fight terrorism are taking a leap forward now that the University of Waterloo and its research partners have launched a major project that will bring together experts from every aspect of the issue.

Called the Canadian Research Network on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), it is a partnership between Waterloo, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. This new network will provide Canadian experts on terrorism and security an unprecedented opportunity to meet and share their expertise.

“Waterloo is proud to be a partner in this groundbreaking project,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president & vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “Not only are Waterloo researchers assisting with counterterrorism efforts through work, but the immeasurable benefits of facilitating dialogue between experts are far-reaching and will have an international impact.”

Professor Lorne Dawson, chair of Waterloo’s Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, is an expert on the study of the process of radicalization leading to violence, especially for so-called homegrown terrorists. He is one of the key experts involved in setting up the network. He says while TSAS is comprised of independent researchers, one of the most innovative elements of the project is that high-level government officials will be involved in every aspect, listening, interacting and learning from the experts.

“This network will include lawyers, criminologists, geographers, psychologists, sociologists, religious studies scholars, political scientists, experts in immigration and refugee matters, and others,” said Professor Dawson. “This work spans disciplines, and could have immediate policy implications.”

TSAS recently received a grant for $460,000 as part of the Kanishka project, the Government of Canada’s funding initiative focusing on counter terrorism research. The institutional partners also received a Partnership Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) worth $200,000.

Plans over the next 18 months include three specialized workshops on terrorism, security, and societal responsibilities pertaining to terrorism. The network will commission literature reviews, and post them on a public website it plans to launch. The project will involve internships in government departments for graduate students. There will also be a week-long summer institute for leading scholars, graduate students and government employees involved in counterterrorism efforts.

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Link of the day

Upper Canada's Last Fatal Duel

When and where

2012 J.W. Graham Lecture, featuring Stephen M. Watt, Distinguished University Professor, University of Western Ontario / Lead Director, Descartes Systems Group, "Leading Flying Objects," Thursday, June 14, 1:30 p.m., DC 1302. Reception to follow in DC 1304.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Zvi Galil, Georgia Institute of Technology, "Real-Time Streaming String-Matching," Thursday, June 14, 3:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Chemical Engineering seminar featuring Xingcheng Xiao, Chemical Sciences and Materials Systems Laboratory
General Motors Global R&D Center, Warren, MI, “Advanced Electrode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries,” Thursday, June 14, 3:30 p.m., E6-4022. Coffee and donuts will be served at 3:20 p.m.

The Institute for Computer Research presents Professor Amir Khandani, RIM-NSERC Industrial Research Chair, Canada Research Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, “Shaping the Future of Wireless: Two-way Connectivity,” Monday, June 18, 2:00 p.m. DC 1302.

University senate Monday, June 18, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

25-Year Club Reception, Tuesday, June 19, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

Systems Design Engineering presents Dr. Subash Bhatnagar
Honorary Professor of Information Systems
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, "Information Technology and Development: Challenges and Opportunities in India," Wednesday, June 20, 10:30 a.m., E5 6111.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, June 21, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre lower level.

Pension information session, Tuesday, June 26, 12:45 p.m., RCH 301.

Pension information session, Tuesday, June 26, 2:15 p.m., RCH 301.

Pension information session, Tuesday, June 26, 5:45 p.m., RCH 307.

Canada Day holiday observed Monday, July 2, classes cancelled, university offices and most services closed.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Technical Operations Director – Chemical Engineering, USG 13
• Student Shop Technician – Engineering Machine Shop, USG 7
• Administrative Assistant, Academic Programs – Stratford Programmes, USG 5
• Media Lab Instructor/Media Technician – Stratford Programmes, USG 9
• Graduate Program Co-ordinator – English Language and Literature, USG 6
• Administrative Assistant to the Vice-President Advancement – Vice President Advancement, USG 8
• Administrative Assistant to the Associate Dean, Research & External Partnerships – Dean of Engineering, USG 7
• Online Technologies Consultant – Centre for Extended Learning, USG 8-10

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