Skip to the content of the web site.

Friday, June 28, 2013



  • A few paragraphs from the President
  • Student Success director heading to McMaster
  • Bidding farewell to a campus 'rock star'
  • What's open and closed this long weekend


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


A few paragraphs from the President

This is the first in a series of personal month-end updates to the campus community from President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur.

I never get tired of Convocation.

Feridun Hamdullahpur head shot.Seeing our graduands cross the stage and getting the chance to speak with many of them is a perennial pleasure. It’s incredible what you hear. “I’m starting my own company,” is something our grads tell us more and more frequently. Some are going on to further studies, others have travel lined up, and many are making the transition to the workforce.

During Convocation this June, I again took a moment to step back and observe. At these ceremonies our entire community rallies around a special purpose: to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates, and witness the renewal of our mission as an institution of higher learning.

It made me think of the importance of strengthening the ties that bind us together as a community, and of doing an even better job at keeping in touch.

So for the summer months, I am going to contribute a month-end message to our Daily Bulletin in lieu of more formal memoranda that I previously sent out on a quarterly basis. I feel it might be a good way to catch you up on my activities, keep our many institutional initiatives in broad strategic perspective, and take a little more time to celebrate this institution as not only a school, but as a community – of students, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees.

In fact, I’d love to know what you think. Feel welcome to send me your feedback on these columns – including what you’d like to hear more about – at I promise to read each and every message, even if I can’t respond to all of them.

Thinking about our community as a whole, and the kind of future we’re trying to build for it, our new Strategic Plan is absolutely central to our efforts, day-in and day-out. It’s been my main focus over the last several  months, and is currently moving through the formal approval process with our Board of Governors. Those of you who made it out to one of the two Town Halls we hosted in May will be familiar with the plan.

As you know, this document is meant to guide the university during the next five years, and position the university for what you might call “reputational differentiation”.  Enhancing our experiential and entrepreneurial platforms and activities will be key to setting us apart in an increasingly competitive and globalizing sector. Equally, the plan is meant to ensure we guard and enhance the basic principles at the heart of great academic institutions: academic excellence, research, strong values, student success, global mindedness and positive, productive employer-staff relationships.

It’s an important job, building and implementing a Strategic Plan, which many of you know from your personal involvement in the Mid-cycle Review process. Your participation has made all the difference and I am sincerely grateful for your contribution. While it has taken many months of planning to get to this stage, seeing those grads cross the stage at convocation makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks for your active participation and valuable contributions to the university. Thanks also for reading this inaugural message to campus, and I’ll look for that feedback. For those of you heading on vacation in July, please enjoy yourselves and be safe.

For those of you – hopefully most – coming to our Canada Day celebrations on Monday, I’ll see you there!




Back to top


Student Success director heading to McMaster

Sean Van Koughnett.Sean Van Koughnett (left), director of the Student Success Office, has accepted the position of Associate Vice-President, Students and Learning and Dean of Students at McMaster University. His last day on campus will be Friday, July 19.

"I would like to thank Sean for his many contributions to our university since he first arrived on campus in 1990,” wrote Associate Provost, Students Chris Read in a notice circulated yesterday. “His journey through campus included stops in the Registrar’s Office, Graphics and the Student Success Office, where he launched the office as the inaugural Director.  Sean has many notable accomplishments on campus, including his key role initiating the VeloCity program."

Van Koughnett earned an undergraduate degree in Honours Economics and a Master of Applied Environmental Studies, Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo. He was a five-time co-captain of the Warrior Men’s Basketball team and was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. He began working on campus in 2001 as a Development Officer for the Faculty of Science, and later as Assistant Registrar for the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

“We wish Sean all the best as he takes his talents to McMaster University, who will benefit greatly from his creativity, determination and passion,” wrote Read.

The search for his successor will begin immediately.


Back to top


Bidding farewell to a campus 'rock star'

After 46 years at the University of Waterloo, Peter Russell, longtime curator of the Earth Sciences Museum and the rock garden that bears his name, is retiring - again. His final day is today.

Peter Russell in an undated photo.Russell joined the university in June of 1967 as a petrographic lab technician in the Earth Science department, working later as a draftsman before taking up duties as an administrative assistant and curator of the Earth Sciences Museum in 1974.

"Peter Fisher, a colleague from Leeds, England had moved to Waterloo two years before me and encouraged me to come to Waterloo," Russell recalls. "The Biology and Earth Sciences departments were installing the Biology-Earth Sciences museum on the top floor of Biology 2."

Russell started work in the lab making rock thin sections—hair-thin slices of rocks mounted on glass slides, ground down to the point of transparency—that could be studied under a microscope. "Many of these are still in use for teaching today."

Fridays were visiting days for high school groups. "One of my jobs was to show them a couple of 16mm movies," Russell says. "Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes and The Continuing Past, a plate tectonics movie by Tuzo Wilson."

With the hiring of Bob Farvolden as chair and the new focus on groundwater research that Waterloo would eventually become known for, Russell moved into more illustrative work, creating diagrams for publication and hand-crafting colour illustrations "looking much like the PowerPoint pictures everybody uses today."

Soon after he was doing administrative work, taking photographs, and acting as the curator of the museum. Russell recalls that the university paid $13,000 for the Albertosaurus and Parasaurolophus replicas on display in the museum. "Albertosaurus is worth $70,000 now!"

In 1996, after nearly 30 years with the university, he was one of eight members of the Earth Science department who took advantage of the Special Early Retirement Program (SERP), brought in as a result of government funding cuts to post-secondary education in the early 90s (approximately 340 eligible faculty and staff across the university did so). His retirement, however, was by no means the end of his career at Waterloo. He continued to serve as curator of the Earth Sciences museum, conducting tours and talks for visitors.

Three years after his formal retirement in 1996, he received the designation "Honorary Member of the University" in recognition of his work in building public awareness of science.  As well, the Geological Garden, which he kickstarted and curated as part of the university's 25th anniversary celebration, was renamed in his honour. In 2004 he was awarded the prestigious E.R.W. Neale Medal by the Geological Association of Canada (GAC) for "sustained outstanding efforts in sharing earth science with Canadians."

Peter Russell and a rather toothy dinosaur in the Earth Sciences Museum.The construction of the CEIT building offered a new opportunity for the museum. "The building would have a museum in the atrium, rather than a large, dedicated room," Russell says. "The atrium was designed around our exhibits from the old museum."

"The Great Lakes water feature is a hit with visitors," Russell says. "And people always wonder how we came to have the gneiss monolith in the building. Yes, it was installed first and the building built around it!"

Beginning July 1, Russell will be stepping away from the daily operations of the museum. He has been transitioning out of his duties as curator for the past year as his successor, Corina McDonald, prepares to take on the job. "Corina went from volunteering and doing presentations to high school students as a master's student, to landing the job as curator, outreach co-ordinator and undergrad advisor," Russell says. "I wish her every success."

Friends and colleagues celebrated his retirement at a reception at the museum on Wednesday, June 26.

Russell plans to continue volunteering for the museum after his retirement, though he also plans to spend more time with his family. "Vivian, my wife, has always been there supporting my efforts and family as I disappeared time and again," he concludes. "I need to help her enjoy and celebrate the next part of our life adventure!"


Back to top


What's open and closed this long weekend

The university will be closed on Monday, July 1 for Canada Day, that most national of national holidays. Classes will not be held, staff have the day off, and most services will not operate.

The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, reopening on Tuesday, July 2.

Retail Services locations are shuttered on Monday as well, reopening Tuesday.

Bon Appetit, Browser's Café, Brubaker's, CEIT Café, Eye Opener, ML's Coffee Shop, Subway in the Student Life Centre, all Tim Hortons locations, and William's Fresh Café are all closed Monday. Mudie's in Village 1 is open Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open from noon to 6:00 p.m. only, with normal hours resuming Tuesday, July 2.

As always, even on holidays, the university police (519-888-4911) will be at work, the Student Life Centre (519–888-4434) will be open, and the central plant will monitor campus buildings (maintenance emergencies, ext. 33793).


Back to top

Canada Day - The Diet Starts Tuesday

Don't miss the amazing lineup of food vendors at the Canada Day Celebration that includes Angelo's Grilled Chicken, Domino's Pizza, Grainharvest Breadhouse Inc., Gail's Cotton Candy, Heavenly Dreams Ice Cream Inc., Papa's Gourmet Grill, The Scrumptious Spud, Smoke's Poutinerie, Souther Ontario Smoked BBQ and Wok Wagon.

And, for the first time, a beer tent hosted by local partner the Brick Brewing Company (19+).

But wait, there's more! speed-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi – famed for his world record for eating 110 hot dogs in 10 minutes – will perform for the crowd.

Waterloo has teamed up with Tim Horton’s to provide 2,000 Timbits for the event, although speed-eating experts doubt that Kobayashi will munch that number of always fresh treats.

The show will also include a challenge for current Waterloo students to see if they can match the professional eater Timbit for Timbit.

Canada Day details continue below.

Link of the day

A crash course in Canada Day

When and where

Petition to the Registrar to register late form required to become Fees Arranged after Sunday, June 30.

Canada Day Celebrations, Monday, July 1, Columbia Lake.

Canada Day Holiday, Monday, July 1, university closed.

Enterprise Co-op Info Session, Tuesday, July 2, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., TC 2218A and B. Details.

The Balsillie School of International Affairs presents Jim Lederman, "How the Middle East 'ain't what it used to be'", Wednesday, July 3, 10:00 a.m., BSIA 1-23. Details.

VeloCity Pitch Night, Wednesday, July 3, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Math 3 lobby. Register online.

Environment Lecture Series featuring Sven E. Jørgensen, University of Copenhagen, "Samsø , a Danish Island based on renewable energy," Wednesday, July 3, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

VeloCity Pitch Night, Thursday, July 4, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Math 3 lobby. Register online.

Campus Response Team Casualty Simulation, Saturday, July 6, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Details.

VeloCity Campus Customer Discovery #2: How to Build a Launch Page, Wednesday, July 10, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., EV3 4412. Details.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 11, Student Life Centre lower level, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Student Consultation Group - uWaterloo Student Portal, Tuesday, July 16, 12:00 p.m., SSO multipurpose room. Details.

UWRC Book Club featuring ML Stedman's "The Light Between Oceans", Wednesday, July 17, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 18, SLC lower level, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 25, SLC lower level, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

VeloCity Demo Day and Venture Fund Finals, Thursday, July 25, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., SLC Great Hall.

ChemEd 2013 conference, Sunday, July 28 to Thursday, August 1. Details.

WatRISQ seminar featuring Roger Lee, associate professor of mathematics, University of Chicago, "Variance Swaps on Time-Changed Markov Processes," Monday, July 29, 4:00 p.m., M3 3127.

Spring Term lectures end, Tuesday, July 30 (which is a Monday class schedule).

Pre-examination study days, Wednesday, July 31 to Monday, August 5.

Civic Holiday, Monday, August 5, university closed.

Drop, Penalty 2 Period ends, Monday, August 5.

3rd Annual Conference on Quantum Cryptography, Monday, August 5 to Friday, August 9, Institute for Quantum Computing. Details.

On-campus examinations begin, Tuesday, August 6.

Online class examination days, Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10.

One click away

• The "Detroit of Higher Learning..."
The Top 100 Under 50
Co-op gets a nod from Canada's newspaper of recordMobile commencement site helped Yale handle train crash• The Globe asks 'who teaches university students?'
• FAUW's blog deals with "casualization" of academic workforce
Students too anxious and stressed to party? That dog won't hunt, monseigneur.
Thalmic Labs listed on CNN's 10 Startups to Watch

More Canada Day Considerations

Be sure to check out the Artisan Village, with a wide variety of vendors selling handmade goods, art, and more.

For those with kids, there's the Activity Zone, with games like the Hockey Shot, mini putt, Outdoor Adventure (by Boy Scouts of Canada), Arts and Crafts (by Girl Guides of Canada), Kids Olympics, Game Asylum, a Dinosaur Dig, water games, and more.

And since smiles are contagious, why not visit our partners from Smile Epidemic to share your Canada Day love through social media "digital activations." It's a sort of digital photo booth that can beam your smiling face across the country.

Now, for how to get yourself there. Columbia Street West from Westmount Road to Hagey Boulevard will be closed July 1 in preparation for the festivities, but all University of Waterloo campus parking lots are available and free of charge on Canada Day.

Accessible parking is available off of Frank Tompa Drive within the OpenText parking lot.

The fireworks start with a bang at 10:00 p.m.

See you there, folks! The Daily Bulletin will return on Tuesday, July 2.


Yesterday's Daily Bulletin