Convocation turns up the heat to 2,000 degrees
The University of Waterloo will be welcoming back more than 2,000 students on October 26 and 27 to receive their degrees at Waterloo’s 117th convocation ceremonies. In front of friends, family and special guests, graduating students will receive their academic hoods and be presented with their official diplomas as they cross the Convocation stage. Approximately 2,090 students are eligible to graduate this fall.
Friday, October 26, 10:00 a.m. - Applied Health Sciences and Science
Convocation kicks off Friday morning with a ceremony for graduands from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science. 333 undergraduates, 225 master's, and 28 PhD candidates will cross the Convocation stage. Watch the livestream.
Bearing the mace will be James Frank, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology. Julie-Anne Desrochers will sing the national anthem.
Lynn Judge will become an Honorary Member of the University. As the Director of Academic Services in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (formerly Graduate Studies Office), Lynn Judge championed a multitude of projects to improve services for graduate students and the graduate student experience. Examples include transforming the application process to a fully electronic platform, simplifying the delivery of student awards, facilitating a web presence for marketing and recruitment and having an online Graduate Studies Academic Calendar; initiatives ahead of many other Canadian universities. Lynn’s accomplishments were recognized through external accolades during her career; the Ontario University Registrars’ Association Honorary Membership and Award of Achievement and Innovation Award for Waterloo’s online application project.
David A. Butler-Jones will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa and address Convocation. Dr. Butler-Jones earned a medical degree (Toronto, 1978), specialist credentials in family medicine (Queen’s, 1980), and a Master of Health Science and Residency in Community Health and Epidemiology (Toronto, 1982). He was the inaugural Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and Head of the Public Health Agency of Canada. He is currently the Senior Medical Officer in Ottawa, and Atlantic Region Public Health Specialist for First Nations and Inuit Health, with Indigenous Services Canada. Dr. Butler-Jones has received numerous prestigious awards from professional and scientific associations for achievements in public health and commitment to health equity.
Robie Hennigar will receive the University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal. Mariko Hirano and Cassandra Justine Lowe will be named University Finalists for the Alumni Gold Medal.
Friday, October 26, 2:30 p.m. - Environment and Mathematics
The afternoon ceremony will see graduands from the Faculty of Environment and the Faculty of Mathematics, including mathematics students registered at St. Jerome's University cross the Convocation stage. 480 undergraduates, 217 master's, and 39 PhD candidates from the two faculties will receive their degrees. Watch the livestream.
Bearing the mace will be Dan Brown, director of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. Birgit Moscinski will sing the national anthem.
Alfrieda Swainston will become an Honorary Member of the University. After working for the University of Waterloo for 50 years, holding a regular, on-going staff position for 44 years, Alfrieda Swainston has left a lasting legacy of not only loyalty and commitment but also, exceptional service to Waterloo and the employee population. She was instrumental in the design and development of the staff salary structure and job evaluation system that enabled the University to achieve pay equity compliance 30 years ago and since then, managed the strict adherence to the framework to ensure equitable and affordable salary administration practices across the staff employee group.
Ingrid Daubechies will receive a Doctor of Mathematics, honoris causa and will address Convocation. Professor Daubechies obtained her PhD in theoretical physics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels in 1980, staying on as a professor. In 1987, she took a research position at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where she published her discoveries on wavelet theory. In 1994, Dr. Daubechies left AT&T to become the first female full professor in Mathematics at Princeton University. In 2011, she joined Duke University as James B. Duke professor of Mathematics and Electrical & Computer Engineering. Dr. Daubechies has received numerous honours, including the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics, John von Neumann Lecture Prize, MacArthur Fellowship, and being made a Baroness by the King of Belgium.
Amir-Hossein Karimi will receive the Alumni Gold Medal. Ahmad Abdi, Margaret Ellis-Young, and Matthew Morison will be named University Finalists for the Alumni Gold Medal.
Liam Cory Palmer will receive the K.D. Fryer Gold Medal.
Saturday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. - Arts
Saturday morning's ceremony is dedicated to the Faculty of Arts. 305 undergraduate, 329 master's, and 23 PhD candidates will cross the stage at 10:00 a.m. Watch the livestream.
Bearing the mace will be University Secretary Karen Jack. Michael Klein will sing the national anthem.
There are no honourary degrees to be granted at this ceremony, as time has been reserved instead for the formal installation of Dominic Barton as the University of Waterloo's 11th Chancellor (read the article that follows for more information).
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will address Convocation.
Chancellor Dominic Barton will address Convocation.
Thomas Jenkins will be invested as Chancellor Emeritus and will address Convocation. (More on this later)
Jennifer Roy will receive the James D. Leslie Prize.
Mandy Ran Tao wil receive the Arts Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their professional field, in the community, and in public service within 10 years of graduation. Mandy Ran Tao received a BA in Economics in 2011. She was active in campus life as an Arts Student Union leader, a volunteer for the International Students Office and for the Centre for Career Action. In 2008, Mandy was honoured with the President’s Circle Award for Volunteerism. Mandy earned her Master’s degree in Switzerland. There, she co-founded the award-winning NGO, Education Togo Switzerland to support education for sustainable development in West Africa, raising €50,000 to fund initiatives in rural communities. She worked at an orphanage in Guatemala, organized sold-out TEDx events, and supports childcare in Delhi, India.
Mandy currently serves as Senior Project Manager at Merck, working alongside the executive team on strategic initiatives. In 2017, she spearheaded global diversity and inclusion in an industry where women and minorities are under-represented. It was one of the most successful diversity campaigns, earning Mandy the “2017 Merck Recognition Award.”
Mandy was invited by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.org, to an exclusive event for carrying the Lean In flag to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Susheel Gupta will receive the Arts Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their professional field, in the community, and in public service. Gupta received his BA in History in 1993. He earned his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 1998 and was called to the bar in 2000. Today he is Vice-Chairperson at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Previously, he worked with the Department of Justice War Crimes Section, was Special Advisor to the President and CEO at CATSA, and has been a Federal Prosecutor with the Department of Justice since 2000.
Yk Hei Franki Kung and Rebekah Janelle Smoot-Enns will be named University Finalists for the Alumni Gold Medal.
Kim Tran Nguyen will receive the Accounting Alumni Award for Excellence in Accounting.
Henri Carlo Santos will receive the Warren Ober Award for Outstanding Performance by a Graduate TA in the Faculty of Arts.
Saturday, October 27, 2:30 p.m. - Engineering
Faculty of Engineering undergraduate and graduate students will receive their degrees and diplomas on Saturday afternoon. Watch the livestream.
Bearing the mace will be George Freeman, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Reinhold M. Schuster will sing the national anthem.
Leo Rothenburg will be named Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Formerly chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Waterloo, Rothenburg also served as acting dean of the Faculty as well as associate vice-president, international. He has several achievements in innovative research and has a reputation for exceptional teaching and student supervision. His expertise in theoretical and computational methods are in use in the geomechanics of mining, petroleum, solid waste and transportation.
Parker Mitchell and George Roter will be admitted to the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa and will address Convocation.
Parker Mitchell received a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1999, and an MPhil degree in Developmental Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2002. In 2000, he co-founded Engineers Without Borders (EWB) with George Roter. Through the next decade, he helped build EWB into one of Canada’s most influential non- government organizations dedicated to tackling global poverty. Parker is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary degrees from Queen’s University and Seneca College, and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross (Civil). After he left EWB in 2011, Parker co-founded Significance Labs to help American families living in poverty. He now lives in New York, where he is Founder and CEO of SHIFT.
George Roter received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1999 and started a MASc in orthopaedic biotribology the same year. In 2000, he co-founded Engineers Without Borders (EWB) with Parker Mitchell. George withdrew from his MASc in 2001 to spend the next 13 years developing and expanding EWB into a vibrant and highly successful organization dedicated to tackling global poverty. George has been recognized with four honorary degrees (including three doctorates) and eight other major awards including the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil) given by the Governor General of Canada. George left EWB in 2014 and is now a Director for Mozilla in Berlin, Germany.
Jonathan Mark Eyolfson and Amanda Garcia will receive the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student.
Fiona Ya Ying Khor and Timothy Michael Carter Leshuk will be named University Finalists for the Alumni Gold Medal.
Dominic Barton to be installed as Chancellor on Saturday
By Natalie Quinlan.
On Saturday, October 27, the 11th chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Dominic Barton, will be installed as a leading ambassador and voluntary ceremonial head of the University. The installation is an important centuries-old rite where the conferment of authority is signified and a long-standing intersection of tradition and fresh beginning for the University is proclaimed. The chancellor presides over convocation ceremonies every spring and fall, and has the authority to award all degrees, diplomas and certificates including honorary degrees.
Barton has provided strategic advice to national leaders, in both government and business, throughout his career, most recently being named global managing partner emeritus of McKinsey & Company after recently stepped down as its global managing partner earlier this year.
“I think the students at the University of Waterloo are amazing — the innovation here is just unbelievable and that’s the real talent,” said Barton. “The people here are taking what seem to be impossible problems and they’re going to make solutions for them. It’s wonderful.”
In May 2015, Barton joined Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Waterloo, and other government, business and academic leaders across the globe in committing his organization to the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 gender equity initiative.
“Dominic Barton is renowned for his strategic insights and expert guidance on business, governance and economic development,” said Hamdullahpur. “We are inspired by Dominic’s commitment to creating positive global change and to equity and inclusivity which in many ways complement our University’s record of innovation and aspirations to make a global impact.”
Barton also chairs the Government of Canada’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and is a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, a board member at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, and the Asia Pacific Foundation Canada. He is also a Rhodes trustee and an honorary fellow at Brasenose College in Oxford England.
Born in Uganda and a Ugandan and Canadian citizen, Barton received a BA Honours in economics from the University of British Columbia and studied as a Rhodes scholar at Brasenose College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of more than 80 articles and several books ranging from the role of business in society to leadership and talent development.
“There’s a lot of things the world can learn from the University of Waterloo. It’s about innovation, it’s about entrepreneurship, but it’s also about the cross-sector integration, the meshing of different disciplines coming together and the encouragement of that. That’s unusual to have both of those together.”
Barton succeeds Tom Jenkins as chancellor. Jenkins, chair of the board at OpenText Corporation and Chair of the National Research Council, served as chancellor for three years. The University will name Jenkins chancellor emeritus. Jenkins was an early supporter of opening the University’s Stratford campus and he and his wife Toby Jenkins (BES ‘82) have also supported the University of Waterloo with contributions of more than $23 million.
Past chancellors of the University of Waterloo also include Prem Watsa, chair of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Mike Lazaridis (DEng ’00), principal of Quantum Valley Investments® and Valentine O’Donovan, founder of COM DEV Intl.