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Faculty of Arts takes to the Convocation stage today

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The third Convocation ceremony this week takes place at 10:00 a.m. today. 677 undergraduates, 138 Master's, and 24 PhDs will graduate this morning.  John North, Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, will bear the mace. Birgit Moscinski will sing the national anthem. Follow along with the livestream.

Heather Lynn Smith will become an Honorary Member of the University. Smith began her career at the University of Waterloo as a Records and Admissions Clerk in the Registrar’s Office in 1979 before moving to the Department of Psychology in 1985 where she would advance and serve as the academic advisor and program administrator of Psychology’s undergraduate program for 30 years. She graduated as a psychology major from the University of Waterloo in 1991. For her outstanding contributions she received a special Staff Recognition Award in 2004 and the Faculty of Arts Excellence in Service Award in 2014.

Francois PareFrançois Paré will be named Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Paré joined the University of Waterloo in 2003. He earned his doctorate from the State University of New York (Buffalo), and taught at the University of Guelph before he was appointed chair of the Department of French Studies. A specialist in the study of minority cultures and literatures, his ten books and more than 100 publications won prestigious awards: Governor General’s Award, Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, Gabrielle-Roy award. His widely-influential work has been recognized with his appointment as University Professor, as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in receiving an honorary doctorate from Université Laval in 2016.

Ingrid Mary Mattson will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws and address Convocation. Mattson is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, where she earned a BA in philosophy and fine arts (1987). She completed her PhD in near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago, and is professor and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at Western University of Western Ontario, and Senior Fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan. She has published widely in the areas of Islamic theological ethics, Qur’an interpretation, and interfaith relations.

Amy ZhouAmy Chun Zhou will deliver the valedictory address.

Joanne WoodJoanne V. Wood of the Department of Psychology will be named University Professor.

At 2:30 p.m. the second Arts ceremony takes place and will include graduating students from St. Jerome's University, Conrad Grebel University College, Renison University College and the School of Social Work. 

507 undergraduates, 24 Master's and 1 PhD student will receive their degrees. Bearing the mace will be Wendy L. Fletcher, President and Vice-Chancellor, Renison University College. Birgit Moscinski will sing the national anthem.

Ginny Dybenko speaking Ginny Dybenko, executive director of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus and Special Advisor to the Dean of Arts will deliver a special Convocation address. Dybenko served as Executive Director of the University of Waterloo’s Stratford Campus following five years as the Dean of the Wilfrid Laurier School of Business & Economics, and after over 30 years of corporate experience where she held a number of senior executive roles in telecommunications and with a high tech startup. She has championed the promotion of technical programs for youth, and she is president and founder of the Waterloo chapter of the International Women’s Forum. A highly-valued board member for numerous public entities, she was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

Ashna Mankotia will deliver the valedictory address.

Sophia Chen will receive the Governor General's Silver Medal.

Ding Jia will receive the Alumni Gold Medal.

Gordon PennycookGordon Pennycook will receive the Governor General's Gold Medal.

"Gordon’s record of winning awards and recognitions is extremely impressive," says his award citation. "In the Fall 2016 he was awarded the Alumni Gold Medal for Outstanding Academic Performance in a Doctoral Program. He is also a recent recipient of a SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship where he was ranked number one out of 162 applicants nationwide. Gordon has already achieved a publication record that is worthy of a tenured faculty member at a top research-intensive university. He has published 33 peer-reviewed journal articles, 5 book chapters, several popular press articles and has an edited book on the way. His papers often contain multiple experiments and have significantly advanced theory. Gordon’s research in cognitive science has reached national and international academic and public audiences. His work is extremely insightful, shedding new light on how the human mind works, with practical applications for economic decision-making as well as deep philosophical implications for altruism and religious belief. His research focuses on issues of extreme importance for human psychology. Gordon is currently doing his postdoctoral work at Yale University." 

Matthew Brooker will receive the Reginald Haney Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in the Legal Studies Program.

Karisa Parkington will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies award at the Master's level.

This story is originally published in the Daily Bulletin, June 14, 2017.

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