Daniel Parent reflects on three decades of design at Waterloo
by Susan Fish.
If anyone would know the deep dark secrets buried at the University of Waterloo, it would be Daniel Parent. The good news is that Parent, retiring as the Director Design and Construction Services and University Architect, says that he’s never run into anything peculiar during his 27 years and 42 major projects.
When he came to the University of Waterloo in February 1991, he says, the existing buildings were fairly standard buildings, other than the Davis Centre and Dana Porter Library, which stood out. Since the university was not designed around a specific architectural style (unlike Queen’s or Western), he was able to take a more contemporary approach to design, and in other cases, to blend new buildings with existing buildings.
Parent supervised a significant transformation of the University's landscape, filling in much of the green space on the campus, beginning with an addition to the Columbia Ice Field in 1995 and including four engineering buildings, four additions to Burt Matthews Hall, two additions to Optometry, the School of Accountancy and Finance at Hagey Hall, three additions to the Student Life Centre and Physical Activities Complex alterations, the EIT building, the Science Teaching Complex, the Quantum-Nano Centre, Environment 3, Mathematics 3, the School of Pharmacy and the Integrated Health Building in Kitchener, the Digital Media Building in Stratford, two residence buildings, and many other small additions, alterations, and renovations.
While it’s hard to choose a favourite project, Parent admits to a fondness for the way Environment 3 is built above an existing building, and how it stands out with its choice of materials. He also points to the attractiveness of the atrium of the Quantum-Nano building.
Raised in New Brunswick, Parent’s interest in architecture began when he was exposed to construction, drawing and drafting as a child by his father who worked in the construction business. He went on to study architecture at the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie University) before moving to Toronto to work for a few architectural firms and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He eventually settled in Waterloo.
Architecture dominates Parent’s interests and pastimes outside of work, with his hobbies including reading about architecture, and traveling around North America to see interesting buildings. He plans to return to the University part-time after retirement to finish up a couple of projects, but also hopes to do more travel further abroad to see great architecture in Europe.
And while there may be no secrets or artifacts buried on campus and the only tunnels being service tunnels and the tunnel from South Campus Hall to the Arts buildings, Parent is pleased with many of the visible ways he has connected the campus, from walkways that help travel between buildings in inclement weather to the construction of courtyards and indoor social spaces that promote collegiality at the university.
He says, “My career at UW was a great experience, I enjoyed working with the various user groups, students, staff, and faculty. Together we achieved remarkable progress over the years and made life better for the University community.”
Parent’s retirement celebration will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. today in the DC 1301 fishbowl.
Remembering Eric (Ric) Soulis
This article was originally published on the Engineering news site.
Ric Soulis, a longtime Waterloo civil and environmental engineering professor, died June 21 after a brief illness.
Born in Toronto in 1949, Ric was raised in Kitchener where he attended Eastwood Collegiate Institute. He received his BASc in civil engineering in 1972 from the University of Waterloo and then attended Memorial University of Newfoundland.
He spent 10 years working in industry before he returned to the University of Waterloo where he completed his doctorate in civil engineering in 1988. That same year, he began a career teaching and researching hydrology and related fields. Ric recently celebrated his 30th anniversary of working at the University. His family says he had no intention of retiring until “he achieved specific teaching, research, and service goals.”
Carl Haas, the chair of Waterloo’s civil and environmental engineering department, says that Ric had a substantial record of accomplishments and impact through his research in hydrology, water resources and the physics of water movement.
“Ric was an excellent mentor to several of our early career faculty members,” says Haas. “He was well respected in the department and throughout Waterloo Engineering for his integrity. He will be sorely missed by everyone across the Faculty.”
Giovanni Cascante, a Waterloo civil and environmental engineering professor, was one of many faculty members who benefited from Ric’s guidance.
“Since I started my work at the University in 1997, Ric has been a role model for me because of his kindness, perseverance, strength, and dedication,” says Cascante.
His family says that Ric was equally passionate about both his family and the University.
“As he did with his family and colleagues, he recognized the potential in his students and inspired them to tackle any challenge,” his sons wrote. “His door and his heart were always open."
Instrumental in launching the University’s weather station
Frank Seglenieks, the University of Waterloo’s weather station coordinator, says it was through Ric’s vision and guidance that the weather station was conceived and implemented.
“It is no exaggeration to say that without Ric there would be no University weather station,” he says.
Ric co-supervised Seglenieks while he completed his master’s in engineering at Waterloo and then supervised his doctoral studies.
In a weather station blog post Seglenieks says Ric always made the time for students to discuss answers to a question or share his views on science.
“I will forever be grateful for all the opportunities, mentorship, and friendship he provided me over these many years,” says Seglenieks.
Ric was predeceased by his mother and his father George, who died in January of this year. George, known as “the father of systems design engineering”, taught courses in several Waterloo Engineering departments starting in 1961. After his official retirement in 1991, George stayed on as an adjunct professor.
Ric is survived by his wife of 46 years, Carol Amrell Moogk-Soulis, their sons Neal (Melissa) and Graham (Michelle) and their son Brendan. Visitation for Ric will be held at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home , 171 King St. S., Waterloo today, Wednesday, June 27 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. His funeral will take place at Emmanuel United Church, 22 Bridgeport Rd. W., Waterloo, on Thursday, June 28 at 11:00 a.m., with a reception to follow.
Memorial donations to the Ric Soulis Memorial Endowment Fund through the United Church of Canada Foundation or to Engineers Without Borders may be arranged by contacting the funeral home at www.erbgood.com or 519-745-8445.
Executive actions at Convocation and beyond
It’s Wednesday, June 27. Do you know what your president is up to?
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the University President. Here is a non-exhaustive list of President Hamdullahpur's recent activities on and off campus and a look ahead at what's on his calendar.
President Hamdullahpur took part in all 12 ceremonies at Spring 2018 Convocation from June 12 to 16. The President was on stage proudly watching and greeting our new University of Waterloo graduates and addressing them, their supporters, faculty, staff and volunteers who took part in this important tradition.
The President hosted an important Strategic Plan kick off event on Monday, June 18, called Bridge to 2020: A Look Back, A Look Ahead. With over 200 in attendance and 140 watching on the livestream, students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members took part as the University moved forward into the Consultation phase of the strategic planning process.
It was an exciting Senate meeting on Monday, June 18 at which time the University’s 11th chancellor, Dominic Barton was appointed. Barton is the global managing partner at McKinsey & Company and shares many of the same values as our institution, including our shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The President traveled to California on June 20 and 21 for an official visit to Palo Alto and San Francisco where he met with alumni to discuss their views on the future of our University and toured several co-op partner businesses including Wish and California Things. While at the Wish offices, the President took part in an AI Ethics panel event with alumni and Waterloo co-op students in attendance.
What’s next on the President’s schedule?
The President is participating in the 7th Global Conference on Global Warming in Izmir, Turkey this week as he delivered a keynote address on Low Carbon Innovation for an Electricity Dependent World: Open Energy Access.
The President will be taking part in the Beyond Entrepreneurship panel taking place on campus Wednesday, July 11 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Sam Pasupalak, the Director of Velocity, Jay Shah, and moderated by the Co-Founder of Kiite, Donna Litt. The event will be taking place at the Davis Centre and will be open to students, faculty, staff and the general public.
On July 17 President Hamdullahpur will deliver the Dr. Richard Maponya Lecture on Entrepreneurship at the Durban University of Technology in South Africa. This prestigious lecture is in honour of South Africa’s first black millionaire. While in South Africa the President will also be speaking at the Workplace Integrated Learning-Africa Conference where he will be sharing a keynote address on how the University of Waterloo has developed its world-renown co-operative education program.
What the President’s been reading
Before the Bridge to 2020: A Look Back, A Look Ahead took place, the President read through the seven issue papers that were created during the evidence gathering phase of the strategic planning process. The seven issue papers can be viewed on the Bridge to 2020 website and, more importantly, the website offers the Waterloo community an opportunity to provide feedback on the issue papers after using your WatIAM ID to login into the website.
Computer Science Professor Robin Cohen recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association. Professor Cohen is the first female recipient of the Association’s highest honour, an award that is conferred to individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding research excellence in artificial intelligence during the course of their academic career.
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