From entrepreneurs to volunteers, we all pitch in
by Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor.
As we come to the end of yet another term, I’m glad to be able to share with you some events and initiatives that took place on campus during the month of April so far. Furthermore, my monthly update is a chance for me to recognize a few of the many exceptional members of our community each month, whether they are faculty, staff, students, or alumni.
When it comes to alumni: on Thursday, April 9 in Toronto, Alumni Relations hosted a pitch event. This wider celebration of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at University of Waterloo showcased some truly innovative startups in a pitch competition. The audience consisted of a wide representation of our community as well, with Waterloo alumni, staff, faculty, and co-op students. Following the pitches, alumni participated in an interactive voting to determine the pitch winner. Eye Check, who won the pitch competition and a $5,000 award, approaches vision assessment in an accessible and mobile manner. Well done to all the incredible startups who pitched at the event!
In my role as chair of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, I participated in Canada’s Business Higher Education Roundtable this month; a group of 27 leading executives from the private sector, universities, colleges, and polytechnics. The collaboration in this roundtable will place a focus on helping young Canadian graduates transition from their academic education to the workforce; a highly important discussion in our current post-secondary climate.
The Fifth Annual Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) meeting was held on campus on April 13 and 14. The two day meeting brought together CERC holders from across Canada to the University of Waterloo to share key developments and the latest discoveries in their respective research programs. The first day featured plenary lectures by the most recently appointed chairholders, and the second day had three parallel sessions in the key research areas of: environment, health, and quantum information. Concluding the second day were two outreach events for local elementary and high school students. The two-day event was a wonderful opportunity to hear from top-tier researchers in disciplines that are priorities for our university.
Just this week I was proud to kick off the #UWEarthWeek campaign. Sustainability is important to our campus, and I invite you to watch our video kicking off #UWEarthWeek 2015. Join me in celebrating our community’s environmental successes, and in making our plans for the future.
April 12-18th was National Volunteer Week: an opportunity for us to thank those in our University of Waterloo community who give back both within and beyond our campus, I was pleased to be a part of a video wishing you all a Happy National Volunteer Week 2015. Community Relations & Events also published an excellent blog series highlighting some devoted volunteers among our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Thank you again to our fantastic volunteers in our community!
This month two researchers from the University of Waterloo were honoured with funding for Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships. The scholarship funding exposes students to participate in internships or academic study in another Commonwealth country. Congratulations Susan Elliott and Ashwin Nayak on the award, I wish you all the best in your learning abroad.
In partnership with Communitech, the Accelerator Centre, and Waterloo Innovation Summit, on April 2 we were proud to host a guest session with speaker, strategist, entrepreneur, and University of Waterloo alumnus, Salim Ismail. I was pleased to introduce Salim in his presentation, Exponential Organizations, based on his book of that title, which won the 2014 Business Book of the Year. Salim’s talk was an insight into how organizations can stay relevant and competitive, a topic which was highly relevant for any community.
On the subject of inspirational leadership, let me close by congratulating board members William (Bill) Watson and Catherine Booth for being named chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the University of Waterloo Board of Governors. These illustrious Waterloo alumni will serve in their new roles from May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2017.
Also, my congratulations to Sandra Banks, whose appointment as our new vice-president, university relations became effective April 6.
With these and other recent appointments, we can all take pride in the talent that Waterloo continues to attract to our professoriate, our student body, and our leadership team.
Finally, with the term coming to an end and tomorrow being the last day of exams, I wish you all continued success in your academic and professional endeavors!
Grebel renews Huxman's presidential term
by Fred Martin.
After its April meeting, the Conrad Grebel University College Board of Governors was pleased to announce the four year extension of the term of President to Susan Schultz Huxman, commencing July 1.
President Huxman started her term in July 2011, in the middle of a $9 million building project. This successful project opened last June with over $6.3 million in donations. During her first four years, there were significant faculty retirements, replacements and expansions that in total brought 10 new faculty members to Grebel. Her first term also included the plans for, and the opening of, the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Center for Peace Advancement (CPA) and the celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary.
“It is important to have a solid academic providing leadership at Grebel at this time in our history as we continue to develop existing and new programs reflective of current Anabaptist thought and establish interdisciplinary research through the CPA,” says Geraldine Balzer, a board member who works on faculty at the University of Saskatchewan.
Fred Redekop, pastor at Floradale Mennonite Church and the current Board chair said, “we recently passed our five year Strategic Plan, ‘Extending the Grebel Table,’ and Susan is well positioned to lead the College on this ambitious undertaking. We look forward to Susan's dynamic leadership as the College goes forth to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.”
"It has been an absolute delight to serve as President of Conrad Grebel from 2011-2014. What a calling! What great people. What a vibrant College!” said Huxman. “I think of myself as an ambassador of Grebel's special mission, its ‘salt of the earth’ people and its distinctive programs wherever I go, on or off campus, in travels near and far.”
"As a student leader, I find that Susan is very encouraging of our ideas, ensuring the student voice is seriously considered when planning the future direction of the College,” said Student Council President, Kenny Hildebrand. “There were several opportunities to join the table with staff and faculty, communicating what was important to the student body as we moved forward with Grebel’s strategic plan.”
The strategic plan adopted recently outlines many priorities that connect to external audiences. “I’m looking forward to a second term, where we can realize these priorities, and extend the ‘Grebel Table’ to our growing constituencies,” said Huxman.
Wong named Hong Kong Foundation director
"I am pleased to announce that Michael Wong has accepted the position of Director, University of Waterloo Hong Kong Foundation reporting to Mike den Haan, AVP Principal Gifts," says a note from Vice-President, Advancement Ken McGillivray. "Michael is joining the University of Waterloo after 20 years of professional experience across several industries including most recently with the SPCA (Hong Kong) as Director of Community Development, where his focus was fundraising. Prior to the SPCA, Michael held management roles with Walt Disney Videos, Blockbuster and SC Johnson, overseeing a diverse portfolio of products and services."
Passionate about education, Michael has held teaching positions at several Hong Kong universities and sits on the accreditation panel for two university sub-degrees. His degrees include a Doctor of Business Administration from the University of South Australia and both an MBA and a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Texas.
A haunted factory and other Friday fables
University of Waterloo drama students will be taking part in an immersive performance piece that explores the history of Waterloo’s landmark Button Factory that kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m.
“She Haunts This Place” weaves together storytelling, acting, videography and music in an exploration of the history of the Roschman’s Button Factory, built in 1886 and the current home of the Button Factory Arts centre. “It has been rumoured that some of the spirits of past workers still haunt the Button Factory,” the play’s press release states. “Renters, staff and tenants in the building claim to have heard womens’ footsteps. It is very reasonable to believe the spirits are those of women, as the Button Factory was one of the few places where young women could find employment.” The production imagines the reality of these girls and suggests that their spirits are still present in the building, and indeed “the challenges they faced in the work place still haunt working women today.”
The play is directed by Andy Houston and features stories told by Brenda Byers, Mary McCullum Baldasaro and Michele Braniff, all members of the Baden Storytellers. Waterloo drama students will be performing a physical score to music by Meghan Bunce.
Performances are scheduled for April 24 and April 25 at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and a Sunday performance at 7:00 p.m., Admission is $15, with students and seniors paying $10.
The proposed repairs to the Student Life Centre's front doors facing the ring road, which were to begin today, have been postponed until August, according to Plant Operations. The Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre will close at 9:00 p.m. tonight as previously scheduled and remain closed until Sunday, May 3, reopening Monday, May 4.
The deadline for students to become "Fees Arranged" for the Spring term is Monday, April 27. There are two ways to become Fees Arranged:
If students are not Fees Arranged by June 30, they will be unenrolled and lose access to assignments, exams and course material on LEARN.