Remembering University Professor Garry Rempel
A message from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Professor Garry Rempel is being remembered today for his many contributions to academia, Canadian industry and the field of chemical engineering, as well as his long and distinguished service to the University of Waterloo.
Professor Rempel passed away peacefully at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener on Friday, November 2, with his wife of 43 years, Professor Flora T.T. Ng, by his side. He was 74.
After receiving his B.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, Garry pursued a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship at Imperial College in London, England, before joining the University of Waterloo as an Assistant Professor in 1969. He rose to the rank of Professor in 1980, guided the Department of Chemical Engineering as Chair from 1988 to 1996, and received the prestigious title of University Professor in 2004.
Garry had long expressed his desire to pursue his love of teaching and research at the university for 50 years. This year, his fiftieth on campus, he was proud to be one of the University’s longest-serving faculty members.
During his tenure at the University of Waterloo, Garry’s expertise in applied catalysis, polymer science and chemical engineering became world-renown. He was proud to work and collaborate with talented researchers from around the world. In the early 1980s he began his pioneering work on hydrogenation of nitrile rubbers, which he applied industrially in the following years. By the late 1980s, he was patenting his technologies to produce high performance elastomers via processes catalyzed by transition metal complexes. Over his career, Garry held 35 patents and had authored or co-authored more than 400 publications. His work on the chemical processes that produce high-performance rubber materials has influenced the products that many of us use every day.
Garry received numerous awards and recognitions for his academic achievements and contributions to science and engineering, culminating with his appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015 for his contributions to education, research and industry in Canada. He was also appointed a Fellow with the Royal Society of Canada (1992); Vice-President of the Royal Society of Canada (2001-2003); and President, Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada (2001-2003). He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013) for dedicating himself to the service of his fellow citizens, community and country through his research.
Garry was a mentor, teacher and friend to many students and colleagues in Canada and around the world. His love of knowledge was obvious and influential. Writing to prospective graduate students as Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Garry concluded his remarks with the following:
“Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas ... Virgil was not a chemical engineer but we share his view that knowledge and understanding are delightful. That is essentially what advanced learning is about and we hope we are doing our share.”
Garry most certainly did his share of discovering, learning and sharing his knowledge and encouraging others to follow his lead. He will be greatly missed.
Friends and relatives are invited to share their memories of Garry with his family during visitation at the Trillium Lutheran Church (John’s Lutheran & Elevation Church) at 22 Willow Street in Waterloo on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 10:00 am. The funeral service will be in the Church at 11:00 am on November 9, 2018. A reception to celebrate Garry’s life will follow in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, condolences for the family and donations to St. Mary’s General Hospital, Kitchener, or St. Michael’s Hospital may be arranged through the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home at www.erbgood.com or 519-745-8445.
Setting the bar for learning - and for life
by Claire Mastrangelo. This article originally appeared in the 2017-2018 Report on Giving.
David Shepherd (BMath ’75) could solve math problems in the blink of an eye – so his first high school students called him Tex, as in Texas Instruments. He worked through the equations with the same ease as the calculators on their desks, but what truly set him apart was his ability to help his students when they were struggling. If one method of solving a problem didn’t make sense, he would show them another, and another, until they found an approach that worked.
“There was no shame in failing,” says Krysia Piorczynski, David’s wife of 42 years. “David wanted to show his students that math was for everyone – that it was all around us, and it was fun.”
Passionate about nurturing talent in promising young mathematicians, David also volunteered with Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) by writing and marking problems for high school math contests. When he wasn’t teaching, he was coaching athletics and organizing meets for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA). He was finalizing sponsors for OFSAA’s 2015 cross country championship when he suffered a debilitating stroke.
David was paralyzed from the neck down, and he wasn’t expected to speak or eat on his own again. His friends in mathematics and athletics rallied around him and Krysia to offer any help they could.
“I was getting all kinds of emails from the CEMC,” says Krysia. “Ian VanderBurgh, the director, would ask, ‘Is there anything we can do as a group for David?’”
Knowing how much David valued his volunteer work, Ian said that David would continue to mark their contests.
“He practiced every day,” Krysia says. “He was determined to get better, faster, because he had math to do.”
Sadly, David succumbed to his health issues and passed away in 2016. His involvement with the CEMC in his final months was so meaningful to him that Krysia decided to create a special scholarship at Waterloo. She and David had been donating to the Centre for years, but she wanted do something more to give back to the people who had become family to her and her husband.
Last year, she established the David Shepherd Upper-Year Scholarship in Mathematics, an award that recognizes students who stand out in both their coursework and extracurricular activities.
“David and I felt it was extremely important to support students,” she says. “You look at them, and they have solutions for all the problems in the world. It’s a joyful thing to see.”
When talking about the award, Krysia adds that David wouldn’t have named it after himself. He believed in doing good deeds for their own sake, and not for recognition.
“David set the bar unconsciously,” she says. “He made me want to work that much harder, be that much of a better person. That’s all that he wanted of his students too. He always encouraged them to do their best.”
The Woman Who Loves Giraffes and other notes
This year's Zonta Film Festival at the Princess Cinema will feature a documentary about retired University of Waterloo professor Anne Innis Dagg. Entitled The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, the documentary outlines Dagg's career as a zoologist and pioneer in the study of giraffe behaviour.
Professor Dagg will be attending the festival and be available for questions following the screening of the film.
The Zonta Film Festival runs from November 8 to 10. The Woman Who Loves Giraffes will screen on Friday, November 9 at 6:00 p.m.
The next exhibition at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) opens on Thursday, November 8.
In Gallery One is Katie Bethune-Leamen’s Orchid mantis. Tom Selleck. Hats. (Gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover.) Also hats. This new work “continues her preoccupation with the presence and resonance of objects. Combining amorphous, blobbily glazed porcelain forms with gaunt, steel supports, and a maelstrom of orbiting imagery and elements—high-crowned hats, irregular neon light lines, digitally printed silk yardage, vintage movie posters, found objects, hairclips, dangling lumpen pearls, pretty insects, gaudy framing devices, sheets of coloured latex—Bethune-Leamen’s installations form conversations between ambiguous objects that elide language yet remain firmly grounded in the material world.”
In Gallery Two is Catherine Telford-Keogh’s Dental Dam. Telford-Keogh’s work “combines domestic, industrial, and edible materials in unfamiliar ways to highlight inherent connections between human and non-human matter. Adopting the forms of tables, trays, containers, and other familiar functional objects, her sculptures act as flatbed terrains for the accumulation of aqueous and encrusted materials mixed beyond easy recognition. Dental Dam presents an installation of new objects configured to consider the excess and blockage of the mouth; a porous site of communication, sexuality, and ingestion. The artist overlays, coats, and embeds a gamut of objects and liquids that shift and chemically alter over time to simulate aspects of digestion. Her intense layering of elements combine to form chains of superimposed ingredients that suggest a discomfiting intimacy between bodies and things consumed, evoking underlying links between ecology, consumption, and bodily function.”
The opening reception takes place on Thursday, November 8 at 5:00 p.m.
In addition, the Department of Fine Arts is hosting an MFA Open Studio from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in East Campus Hall 1205 to coincide with the UWAG opening reception. The open studio features works by Patrick Allaby, Zahra Baseri, Brubey Hu, Tyler Matheson, Paula McLean, Kayla Polan, Lauren Prousky, Jordyn Stewart, and Becca Wijshijer.
The UW Recreation Committee is selling tickets to a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in Waterloo. The performance takes place on Sunday, December 9 at 4:00 p.m.
Email Shirley at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing information for this Waterloo employee theatre event.
Attention parents! The Centre for Ocular Research & Education at the University of Waterloo is currently seeking children ages 6-9 to participate in a study investigating whether a new style of spectacle lenses can slow down the progression of myopia (nearsightedness). Receive up to $690 for 9 visits over 3 years and a free pair of spectacle frames. Check out www.COREstudies.ca/cypress for more information on how to register or email. Have a question? Email email@example.com or call 519-888-4742.