Friday, June 14, 2019

Mathematics Convocation ceremonies add up to a celebration

Mathematics students in their seats at Convocation.

The Faculty of Mathematics will celebrate its graduating class today with two ceremonies in the Physical Activities Complex.

Morning ceremony

The morning ceremony takes place at 10:00 a.m. 521 undergraduates, 97 Master's, and 20 PhD students will cross the stage. Watch the livestream.

Bearing the mace will be Professor Mary Hardy of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Michael Klein will sing “O Canada”.

David Sankoff.David Sankoff will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics. Sankoff is a Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Genomics at the University of Ottawa. He earned his PhD at McGill University, and was on the University of Montreal’s faculty from 1969 until 2002. Sankoff is one of the founders of bioinformatics. He co-wrote the field’s first book with Joseph Kruskal and identified several of its foundational problems and algorithms. Sankoff made basic contributions in sequence alignment, RNA structure prediction and his specialty of genome structure evolution and its use in evolutionary tree prediction. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada and the recipient of numerous international prizes.

Shafrira Goldwasser.Shafrira Goldwasser will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics and address Convocation. Goldwasser completed her BS at Carnegie Mellon University (1979), and her MS (1981) and PhD (1984) at University of California, Berkeley. Following her PhD, Goldwasser began her career as a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1997, she was appointed the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and, since 2018, has served as the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at Berkeley. Since 1993, Goldwasser has simultaneously held a professorship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Among many honours, Goldwasser was co-recipient of the 2012 Turing Award and won the Gödel Prize in 1993 and 2001.

Wang Li will deliver the Valedictory Address.

Cameron Stewart.Cameron Stewart, University Professor in the Department of Pure Mathematics will receive the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. Stewart is the Canada Research Chair in Number Theory and has been a Professor in the Department of Pure Mathematics since 1978. Over his career, he has supervised 22 master’s students, 13 doctoral students and 18 postdoctoral fellows. In recognition of his exceptional scholarly achievement and international pre-eminence, he was designated University Professor in 2005.

Many current and former students as well as colleagues enthusiastically nominated Dr. Stewart for this award. Throughout his 40-year long career at the University of Waterloo, he has been and continues to be respected and admired for the incredible care, knowledge, insight, and wisdom he provides to his students and colleagues. He is a tremendous ally to his students; he provides guidance and direction while encouraging creativity, self-exploration, persistence, and thinking outside the box, while at the same time being generous in sharing his ideas and deep insight on problems.

Professor Stewart provides a unique mentoring experience to each of his students, taking into account their past background, present abilities and interests, as well as their future aspirations and career goals. He clearly embraces their individuality, and adapts to them, invariably providing the support and inspiration they need to succeed. Quoting a former student: “Cam always inspires and drives his students to do their best—not to simply do what is easiest.”

Chen Fang Rui Wu will receive the President's Award of Excellence for highest standing in an undergraduate degree program.

Sina Abbasi will receive the Alumni Gold Medal for recognition of academic achievement.

Hanmeng Zhan will be named University Finalist for the Governor General's Gold Medal at the doctoral level and will also receive the Mathematics Doctoral Prize.

Samuel Erik Jaques will receive the Governor General's Gold Medal for highest standing in a graduate degree program.

Chao Qi Li will receive the Samuel Eckler medal for highest standing in actuarial science.

Afternoon ceremony

The afternoon ceremony takes place at 2:30 p.m. 565 undergraduates, 56 Master's and 11 PhD candidates will receive their degrees. Watch the livestream.

Dan Brown, director, undergraduate studies in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, will bear the University's mace. Birgit Moscinski will sing the national anthem.

Barbara Liskov.Barbara Liskov will receive a degree of Doctor of Mathematics, honoris causa, and will address Convocation. Liskov is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She obtained her BA (1961) in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and PhD (1968) in Computer Science from Stanford University. Liskov is best known for her work in software systems design, particularly data abstraction as a key organizational principle in large software systems. Among numerous awards and honours, she is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, charter fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors, fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and recipient of the Turing Award.

Jenny Sun will deliver the Valedictory Address.

Robin Cohen.Professor Robin Cohen of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science will receive the Distinguished Teacher Award. Cohen is able to keep her students engaged in her lectures at all times; even while talking about the social impacts of technology amongst a class of Computer Science majors! Cohen has facilitated many group discussions, within large class sizes, and has guided her students through “extremely challenging and controversial topics”. The “dynamic and collaborative learning space” that she creates in her classroom is what keeps her students interested and motivated. As a student noted, Cohen’s teaching methods “proved very helpful in eliminating the sense of isolation in the class and improved our [their] group dynamics”. Additionally, students greatly appreciate the detailed feedback she provides on assignments, as well as how she relates the course content to their own personal experiences. Cohen, a past recipient of the Faculty of Mathematics Award for Excellence in Teaching, has been described as “passionate”, “knowledgeable” and “caring”. Both her peers and students recognize the hard work she has done over her years of teaching.

Eldon Wayne Sprickerhoff will receive the J. Wesley Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation.

Seung Gyu Hyun will receive the Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award for excellence in undergradaute research.

Charles Raymond Zinn will receive the Sandford Fleming Foundation award for academic excellence.

Pranaab Dhawan will receive the Sandford Fleming Foundation award for co-operative work term proficiency.

Three Engineering ceremonies tomorrow

An overhead shot of many Engineering graduates in their seats at Convocation.

The Faculty of Engineering will close out the University of Waterloo's One Hundred and Eighteenth Convocation with three ceremonies on Saturday, June 15.

Morning Ceremony

The morning ceremony takes place at 10:00 a.m. 638 undergraduate students will cross the stage. Watch the livestream.

Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies Carolyn MacGregor of the Department of Systems Design Engineering will bear the University mace. Dr. Reinhold M. Schuster will sing the national anthem. 

David Tse.David N.C. Tse will receive a Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa and will address Convocation. Tse is the Thomas Kailath and Guanghan Xu Professor of Engineering at Stanford University. He received his BASc in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and his MS and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tse is a world-leading authority in information theory, particularly for his contributions to wireless communication, energy and computational biology. An Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) fellow, Tse is the recipient of numerous awards, including the IEEE ITS Claude E. Shannon Award, the IEEE Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize and the INFORMS Applied Probability Society Erlang Prize. He was inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2018.

Blakelock Allan Brown will deliver the Valedictory Address.

Paul Fieguth.Paul Fieguth of the Department of Systems Design Engineering will receive a Distinguished Teaching Award. Fieguth is noted as being a “strong academic leader” within the Department of Systems Design Engineering. He is very involved in the Faculty of Engineering, as he was the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (2005-2009) and is currently the Chair of his department. He has been involved in undergraduate curriculum development as well. Students describe Professor Fieguth as being “passionate, open and enthusiastic”. They feel that “his main goal is truly to help students learn”. A student commented that “participation [in one of Professor Fieguth’s courses] felt more like a privilege than an obligation”. Additionally, students appreciate how he incorporates relevant applications of their field to real-world problems in his lessons. As a student noted: “Dr. Fieguth is always trying to connect concepts to the outside world, in order to cement the ideas in our minds, and to show the importance of them”. Furthermore, he provides his students with support in their projects and continues to offer them guidance when they are no longer his students. Professor Fieguth has been the recipient of other awards in graduate supervision and teaching excellence.

David Rousso will receive the Governor General’s Silver Medal.

Laura Marie Bingeman will receive the Alumni Gold Medal.

Rachel Maria Malevich will receive the John Fisher Award for Leadership. 

Afternoon Ceremony

The afternoon ceremony takes place at 2:30 p.m. 551 undergraduate students will cross the stage. Watch the livestream.

Carolyn Hansson, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering will bear the mace. Dr. Reinhold M. Schuster will sing the national anthem. 

H. Vincent Poor.H. Vincent Poor will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering and will address Convocation. Poor is the Michael Henry Strater University Professor at Princeton University, from which he received his PhD in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science in 1977. His pioneering contributions to wireless networks, energy systems, and related fields have been published in more than 20 books and 700 journal articles. Professor Poor is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Engineering and Sciences, and is a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Recent recognition of his work includes the 2017 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Alexander Graham Bell Medal and the 2019 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Benjamin Garver Lamme Award.

Sabrina Lucia Renna will deliver the Valedictory Address.

Pallavi Hukerikar will receive the Albert Sherwood Barber Medal for best overall work term and academic performance.

Isaac Hart Boersma will receive the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering gold medal for outstanding academic achievement in mechanical engineering.

The George Dufault Medal For Excellence in Communication will go to Jiahui Jenny Dong.

The Roy Duxbury Leadership Award will go to Awn Duqoum.

The Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education Gold Medal for Academic Achievement will go to Daniel Hui Zhou.

Ruvimbo Wendy Chikowero will receive the Sir Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski Medal for excellence in communication.

Evening Ceremony

The evening ceremony takes place at 6:30 p.m. 441 Master's and 83 PhD candidates will receive their degrees. Watch the livestream.

Bearing the mace will be Gerry Schneider, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Julie-Anne Desrochers will sing “O Canada”.

John Chatzis.Professor Ioannis (John) Chatzis of the Department of Chemical Engineering will be named Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Chatzis completed his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo (1979), where he spent over 30 years as a professor (1982-2014) and served as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering (1997-2002). His pioneering contributions to the field of porous media have been multifaceted, integrating experiments with theory and simulation. As a result, his research has achieved commercial impact and advanced the fundamental understanding of fluid transport in porous media now included in textbooks. He has been a professor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the Kuwait University since 2015.

Two graduate students are named the University Finalist for the Governor General's Gold Medal - Fiona Ya Ying Khor at the Master's level and Timothy Michael Carter Leshuk at the Doctoral level. Both were honoured at the Fall 2018 convocation ceremony.

Get ready to go Beyond the Bulletin with new podcast

Beyond the Bulletin banner featuring two vintage-style condenser microphones.

After more than 25 years of chronicling campus life online, the Daily Bulletin is adding a new dimension and direction to its content with a weekly podcast.

Hosted by Daily Bulletin editor Brandon Sweet and Media Relations Manager Pamela Smyth, Beyond the Bulletin will serve up easily-digestible tidbits of campus news and happenings around Ring Road, a look ahead to what's coming up, and interviews with personalities on campus about issues that matter to the University community.

New episodes will go online every Friday. And rest assured the Daily Bulletin will continue to be published on a daily basis.

The podcast will continue the Daily Bulletin's tradition of answering questions nobody is asking and celebrating successes that can't be measured, providing breaking news, facts, highlights and a modest amount of commentary to the campus community. 

The podcast is available to listen on SoundCloud as well as TuneIn and StitcherIt will soon be available through the Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts apps. Get the RSS feed.

Like (or don't like) what you hear? Send your comments, criticisms and content ideas to

Donna Strickland to receive honorary degree from McMaster today

On Friday, June 14, Donna Strickland will receive an honorary Doctor of Science from McMaster University. It will take place at the spring convocation for the Faculty of Engineering. It will take place at the FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place).

Strickland is a McMaster alumnus, having received a bachelor of engineering degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster in 1981.

Link of the day

Toronto's hoop dreams come true

When and Where

Bike Month, Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 30, across campus.

Bike Challenge, Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 30, across campus.

The Water Institute international PhD summer school, "Climate change and water security in urbanized watersheds: An interdisciplinary perspective,” Monday, June 3 to Wednesday, June 12, SJ2 2003.

Spring 2019 Convocation ceremonies, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15, Physical Activities Complex.

University Club Convocation Luncheon, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Aging and Spirituality: Finding Courage and Resilience, Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14, Conrad Grebel University College.

Gender Equity Research Grants submission deadline, Friday, June 14.

IT Seminar: Mac Management: Beyond wipe and rebuild, Friday, June 14, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., MC 2009.

"Common Waters" exhibition opening reception, Friday, June 14, 7:00 p.m., Design at Riverside Gallery, Cambridge School of Architecture.

Balinese Gamelan ensemble concert, Friday, June 14, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Town Square.

Velocity Fund $5K applications close, “Today’s Velocity Fund winners, tomorrow’s innovative companies,” Sunday, June 16.

How to be an Exceptional Employee, Monday, June 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., TC 1208.

University senate meeting, Monday, June 17, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Waterloo Alumni Cybersecurity Panel and Networking Event, Monday, June 17, 6:30 p.m., Akamai Technologies, London, UK.

Forbes Lecture - Technology and aging: Supporting our current and future selves, Tuesday, June 18, 1:00 p.m., OPT 1129.

Résumé Tips: Thinking Like an Employer, Tuesday, June 18, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

“Pipelines, Tar Sands and the Climate” - Hosted by KW Chapter of Council of Canadians, Divest Waterloo, UW Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) and the Faculty of Environment, Tuesday, June 18, 7:00 p.m., EV3 1408.

Community Dialogues | Creating Effective Activism and Change, Tuesday, June 18, 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "Engaging Stakeholders," Wednesday, June 19, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., East Campus 5 (EC5), 1111. 

Continuous Improvement Workshop for employees, Wednesday, June 19, 10:00 a.m., STC 1012.

Spring 2019 Thrive Day, Wednesday, June 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Journey to Leadership, Wednesday, June 19, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Federation Hall. RSVP by June 12.

CBB- Symposium: Smart Aging and Rehabilitation Technologies (Netherlands and Canada), Wednesday June 19, 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Engineering 7, E7-2317. This event is open to Faculty, Staff, Students, and postdocs. Register today.

More Feet on the Ground - Mental Health Training for Students, Wednesday, June 19, 1:30 p.m., HS 2302.

Business Etiquette and Professionalism, Wednesday, June 19, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208

Thank-you event for Mario Coniglio, Wednesday, June 19, 4:00 p.m., University Club.

NEW - Ethical AI - Separating the Fact from Fad, Wednesday, June 19, 5:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Green New Deal Canada Town Hall - Kitchener, Wednesday, June 19, 7:00 p.m., St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Elizabeth Room), 54 Queen St. N , Kitchener.

Velocity Start: Pitch to Win, “Perfect your 3-minute business pitch at this interactive workshop,” Wednesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI)’s Conversations on Complex Systems, Thursday, June 20, 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., STC 1019.

Graduate Student Stress Management Group, Thursday, June 20, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions, Thursday, June 20, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI)’s Graduate Student Complexity Seminar, Thursday, June 20, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., STC 1019.

NSERC Alliance Grants Introductory Workshop, Friday, June 21, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., East Campus 5, Enterprise Theatre, Room 1111. Please register to attend in person or via livestream.

Can we scale tobacco control intervention research with school teachers in india?,” Friday, June 21, 11:00 a.m., AHS 1621.

Farewell celebration for Jason Coolman, Friday, June 21, 3:00 p.m., E7 second floor event space.

Glow Goes to Toronto Pride 2019, Sunday, June 23.

NEW - Getting Published for Graduate Students, Monday, June 24, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., SCH 228F.

NEW - Coping Skills Seminar - Thriving With Emotions, Monday, June 24, 3:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Wellness Collaborative Launch Event, Tuesday, June 25, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Federation Hall. Register on Ticketfi.

Retirement celebration for Anne Wagland, Tuesday, June 25, 3:00 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Jaime Fohkens by June 14.

Talking Careers with Your Kids (for employees only), Wednesday, June 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC 2218.

NEW - Waterloo Women's Wednesdays: Pilates Class, Wednesday, June 26, 12:00 p.m., EIT 3142.

QPR Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Wednesday, June 26, 1:30 p.m., HS 2302.

Retirement celebration for Sergeant Patrick Ulett, Wednesday, June 26, 3:00 p.m., University Club.

NEW - Eating Disorder Support Group, Wednesday, June 26, 4:00 p.m., NH 3308.

NEW - Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Wednesday, June 26, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Velocity Start: BYSB (Building Your Startup Brand), “The basics of setting up your brand and the online platforms available to help you,” Wednesday, June 26, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

PhD oral defences

Computer Science. Joseph Haraldson, "Matrix Polynomials and Their Lower Rank Approximations." Supervisors, George Labahn, Mark Giesbrecht. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Wednesday, June 26, 9:00 a.m., DC 2310.

Physics & Astronomy. Miroslav Rapcák, "The Vertex Algebra Vertex." Supervisors, Davide Giaotto, Jaume Gomis. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Wednesday, June 26, 9:00 a.m., B1 266.

School of Public Health and Health Systems. Mingyang Fang, "The effect of adverse childhood experiences on depression symptoms among older adults in China." Supervisor, Mark Oremus. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 2213. Oral defence Thursday, June 27, 12:00 p.m., BMH 3119.

Combinatorics and Optimization. Xiaojing Wang, "Constructing Cospectral and Comatching Graphs." Supervisor, Chris Godsil. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Thursday, June 27, 2:00 p.m., MC 5417.