Friday, May 24, 2024

Reunite, reminisce and celebrate at Reunion 2024

Reunion 2024 banner featuring two people wearing old UW leather jackets.

A message from Advancement.

We’re welcoming more than 1,000 alumni and friends back to campus Friday, May 31 and Saturday June 1 for Reunion 2024.

On Friday, watch the popular Rock this Town documentary at Princess Cinemas. It was produced by Betty Anne Keller (BA ’69) and brings to life the exciting history of rock music concerts in Kitchener-Waterloo from the ’60s and ’70s.

On Saturday, alumni can walk down memory lane by exploring activities across campus before the Black and Gold Luncheon at Federation Hall, where those celebrating 25-, 50-, 55- and 60-year anniversaries will be honoured.

Faculties and the University Colleges are hosting special events throughout the weekend including open houses, tours and receptions.

If you’re a member of the Waterloo alumni family, join us! Register now.

Exploring Canada's quantum future

Panelists sit on stage conversing at the Quantum Connections conference.

By Alex Kinsella. This is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared on Waterloo News.

More than 190 researchers, leaders and policymakers gathered for the second annual Quantum Connections Conference on May 1 and 2 at the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. The conference built upon last year’s event with a focus on the potential impacts of quantum on business, government policy and security.

Dr. Norbert Lütkenhaus, executive director of IQC opened the conference by recognizing Canada's quantum community's global reputation and growth.

“As I thought about this conference, I reflected on our conversations last year and the conversations and events we’ve had since then.  This past year has only strengthened my belief that if you want to study quantum or start a business in quantum then you should be here in Canada,” Lütkenhaus said.

There have been numerous investments in Canadian quantum research and business in 2024, including $17.2 million in support for quantum projects from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, $7 million in investment to quantum projects at the University of Waterloo through NSERC Alliance grants and up to $14.9 million from the federal government in support for Quantum Valley Ideas Lab to accelerate the development and adoption of quantum science technologies.

“This is great progress and shows what we are capable of while working together to build a stronger quantum nation,” he said.

Following the opening remarks, Lütkenhaus was joined by Dr. Blake Johnson, Quantum Engine lead at IBM, for a fireside chat moderated by Kayleigh Platz, IQC’s director of communications and strategic initiatives.

The conversation looked at the state of today’s quantum industry and what the future has in store for quantum research and commercialization.

“Finding that sweet spot of product-market fit is crucial. It's when technology or an industry becomes integral, moving beyond the early adopter phase driven primarily by public and private investments to something more organic,” Johnson said. “Currently, we're at a critical juncture where we need to be careful not to get sidetracked by other technologies or external factors like economic downturns. To truly unlock the potential value for companies and the world, we must focus on achieving that product-market fit.”

The day’s first panel, Quantum + Business, discussed creating commercialization opportunities for quantum computing. The panel emphasized the need for Canada to create a comprehensive strategy to develop and promote quantum computing, including the importance of startup funding and early-stage strategic investments.

Dr. Donny Cheung, Google’s Health care and Life Sciences AI product portfolio lead for Google Cloud, said it is also important not to oversimplify the technology's potential or underestimate the challenges involved.

“It's like sitting in 1920 and trying to imagine what Tinder is like in the future. We don't know. We have some ideas of what impact quantum is going to have, but it is incredibly difficult to find that killer application,” Cheung said.

“Researching and developing real-world quantum solutions requires a quantum-ready workforce. Canada has the right ecosystem of post-secondary and research institutions and industry partners to build this workforce,” said Dr. Anindya Sen, acting executive director of the University of Waterloo Cybersecurity & Privacy Institute. “That's our Canadian advantage, and I don't think it's easily replicable in other parts of the world.”

The Law + Policy panel discussed understanding the legal and policy-making aspects of emerging technologies like quantum. During the conversation, Simon Hodgett, partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, expressed that quantum leaders need to consider the policy and ethical implications of quantum advancements.

“When we go to market with a technology, we're thinking about the policy, legislative and ethical implications of that technology. What are the negative implications that we're going to need to deal with that are unique to the technology? There are some really significant concerns about quantum that need to be dealt with, and I think artificial intelligence is blazing the trail for how to deal with policy and how to deal with the downsides of a technology,” Hodgett said.

Read the full story on Waterloo News

Waterloo will re-raise Pride flags at ceremony on June 3

Two Pride flags fly adjacent to the Canadian, Ontario, and University of Waterloo flags.

Members of the University community are invited to a flag-raising event to kick off Pride Month celebrations on campus. "This event marks an important moment for our campus community as we re-raise two flags: the Intersex-Inclusive Progress flag and the Two-Spirit Pride flag," wrote President Vivek Goel in a memo circulated to campus earlier this week. "These flags are a symbolic gesture of our commitment to nurturing an inclusive and welcoming campus culture where all individuals feel seen, valued, and respected." Readers will note that the Pride flags have been flying on campus masts since June 2023.

The re-raising ceremony is set for Monday, June 3 from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., with remarks beginning at 9:00 a.m. in H Lot near the University of Waterloo's south campus entrance, and, naturally, the main campus flagpoles.

"Flying the Two-Spirit Pride flag represents the intersection of National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month and signifies the University’s ongoing commitment towards indigenization across our campuses," President Goel's memo continues. 

Speaking at the event will be President Goel and members of the University's 2SLGBTQIA+ campus communities including speakers from the GLOW Centre and the Queer-Trans Alliance. There will be a special closing ceremony led by Myeengun Henry.

Muffins and cold beverages will be served for attendees and passersby, while quantities last. 

The Pride flag-raising event is one of several events taking place throughout June to celebrate Pride Month. Visit the Pride Month web page to learn more about Pride Month events, initiatives and resources. 

You @ Waterloo Day tomorrow and other notes

People wearing University of Waterloo clothing cheer on a sports team with King Warrior.

Thousands of future students and their families are expected to visit the University of Waterloo's campuses tomorrow for You @ Waterloo Day, which runs from 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. at various locations. The event gives incoming first-year students an opportunity to learn more about the University and the services and amenities available to them. Attendees will tour campus and residences, speak with students and professors about programs and co-op, learn about scholarships, and discover the many supports on offers as they sample life at Waterloo with their families.

Also this weekend, Waterloo.AI and MAG Aerospace will be hosting a Wildfire Hackathon on Saturday, May 25 all day in Biology 1. "Wildfires present a challenge for forest management, threatening communities and destroying vast amounts of timber resources, resulting in costly losses," says a note from hackathon organizers. "The hackathon topic will be related to wildfire growth prediction. We will make available data covering several fires on the day of the challenge. A few days before the challenge, we will release a starter kit containing some data and starter code. We highly encourage teams to familiarize themselves with the data and code before the challenge."

An action shot of a student driving an electric go-kart-style racecar near University buildings.

From burning forests to burning rubber: parking lots on the University's East Campus will be temporarily turned into racetracks this weekend as the annual Waterloo Electric Vehicle Challenge gets underway on Saturday, May 25 (rain date Sunday, May 26). Hosted by Waterloo Engineering, the competition will feature high school students who have designed and built their own electric race cars in an endurance competition. There are 12- and 24-volt car classes, design awards to be won, and of course, the electric thrill of victory and the shock of defeat.

Also, just a heads up that Quest will be down for maintenance on Saturday, May 25 from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon. During this time Quest will be unavailable.

Looking ahead to next week:

Together Ensemble conference banner image.

There's still time to register for the 2024 Together Ensemble Conference, billed as "Canada’s all-of-society conference" on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference will be held in-person on May 28 and 29 in Waterloo with the theme of "Innovation for the SDGs" and three streams of curated content:

  1. AI and Emerging Technologies for Eco-Innovation;
  2. Future Cities;
  3. Sustainable Finance.

"Join us in-person and online to track progress, deepen commitments, and create new collaborations for the SDGs in Canada," says a note from Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Canada.

Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence poster.The Sexual Violence and Prevention Response Office (SVPRO) is hosting a "Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence" open session for all Waterloo staff and faculty on Tuesday, May 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can register for the session on Portal.

"This is a virtual open session to learn more broadly about sexual and gender-based violence and how to appropriately respond to disclosures," reports SVPRO. "All staff and faculty are welcome to register and attend."

If you have any questions, please contact

A family of Canada Geese with a heart logo superimposed over them.Don’t forget to enter the Faculty, Staff and Retiree Giving Program’s nesting season Canada goose art contest. "All current faculty, staff and retirees of the University of Waterloo are invited to download the partial image, let your imagination take flight (pun intended) and draw the most original, epic or hilarious Canada goose," says a note from Advancement. "Email your masterpiece (digital or scanned) to by 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29."

Finally, Information Systems & Technology (IST) has published the latest in its Atlassian Blog Series, entitled What's new in Atlassian: New Request Type Templates for Team-Managed Projects.

Upcoming office closures

The Office of Indigenous Relations will be closed on Thursday and Friday this week as HVAC repairs continue. Office staff will continue to work remotely.

The Office of Indigenous Relations will be closed for staff training on Monday, May 27. Staff will be delayed in responding to email inquiries.

Register for the "From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding" conference

Registration for the upcoming international conference, "From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding," is now open. The conference will take place from June 27 to 28 at Federation Hall.

Link of the day

Don't fear the Reaper: The Stand miniseries at 30

When and Where

The Student Health Pharmacy (located in the lower level of the Student Life Centre) is offering flu shots with no appointments needed daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for more info. COVID shots will be available on appointment basis only. You can register online at

Warriors Youth Summer Camps. Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Multi-Sport and Volleyball. Register today!

Safeguarding Science workshop and more, throughout May and June. Public Safety Canada invites faculty, staff and students to attend a series of virtual event via MS Teams. Register to receive a link.

Food Truck Wednesday, Wednesday, May 8 to Wednesday, July 24, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 25.

NEW - Quest down for maintenance, Saturday, May 25, 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

NEW - Wildfire Hackathon, Saturday, May 25, 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., B1 271.

Tri-Agencies webinar on Sensitive Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) policy (in English), Tuesday, May 28, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Register.

NEW - Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence open session for staff and faculty, Tuesday, May 28, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register for the session on Porta

Waterloo Genomics Lunch and Learn Series: Illumina, Tuesday, May 28, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., B2-350. Please register.

NEW - Together|Ensemble Conference, Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29.

Climate Change Planning, Projects, and Pathways at the City of WaterlooWednesday, May 29, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Presentation ad Networking Lunch, SLC – Black and Gold room (2nd floor). RSVP.

Foundations of Collaborative Leadership, Chapter one of the Community Leadership Certificate (CLC), Wednesday, May 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (virtual).

WISE Public Lecture: Solar Powering Ontario's Clean Grid Economy” by Steve Dyck (President, Guelph Solar), Wednesday, May 29, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Engineering 7, 7303/7363, in-person and on Zoom. Register today!

Tri-Agencies webinar on Sensitive Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) policy (in French), Thursday, May 30, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Register.

NEW - Chemistry Seminar: Advanced catalyst discovery for clean energy transformation using computational material design, featuring Samira Siahrostami, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, Department of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Thursday, May 30, 2:30 p.m., C2-361 reading room.

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Speaker Series, Thursday, May 30, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., MS Teams.

Reunion 2024, Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1.

NEW - Pride Month flag-raising ceremony, Monday, June 3, 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., outside South Campus Hall.

Generative Artificial Intelligence and the Literature Review, Wednesday, June 5, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., LIB 323 learning lab.

NEW - The Future-Ready Workforce Series: Building inclusive workplaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, Wednesday, June 5, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Engineering Graduate Studies Fair, Wednesday, June 5, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Engineering 7 second floor event space.

Inert Atmosphere Fabrication and RAC Capabilities Open House, Thursday, June 6, 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Research Advancement Centre (RAC).

Soapbox Science Kitchener-Waterloo, Sunday, June 9, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Victoria Park near the playground and picnic area. Hear from twelve STEM researchers as they take to their soapboxes with short discussions and fun demos. Questions from the public are encouraged!

Hallman Lecture featuring Rick Hansen: In motion towards building an inclusive and healthy world without barriers, Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., EXP 1689.

NEW - Spring 2024 Convocation, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15.

NEW - School of Planning Graduation Luncheon, Tuesday, June 11, 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Federation Hall.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture featuring Vint Cerf, "Internet: Past, Present and Future," Tuesday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Indigenous Community Concert | Sultans of String "Walking Through the Fire", Monday, June 17, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

PhD oral defences

School of Public Health Sciences. Jennifer McCorriston, "Exploring Young Women’s Conceptualization of Sexuality: A Narrative Inquiry." Supervisor, Dr. Samantha Meyer. Oral defence Thursday, May 23, 9:30 a.m., online.

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Narasimman Lakshminarasimman Meanakshi Se, "Investigating the impacts of upgrading a full-scale conventional activated sludge process with a hybrid membrane aerated biofilm reactor." Supervisor, Dr. Wayne Jeffery Parker. Thesis available via SharePoint - contact to request a viewing link. Oral defence Wednesday, May 29, 1:00 p.m., E2 2350.

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Hemant Arora, "Biofiltration for Manganese Removal from Groundwater: Mechanistic Insights and Operational Strategies." Supervisors, Dr. Peter Huck, Dr. Sigrid Peldszus. Thesis available via SharePoint - contact to request a viewing link. Oral defence Thursday, May 30, 9:30 a.m., remote.

School of Public Health Sciences. Maria Major, "Estimating Incidence of Infectious Diseases in Canada Beyond Surveillance." Supervisor, Dr. Susan Horton. Email Health Graduate Administration for a copy. Oral defence Thursday, May 30, 10:30 a.m., online.

School of Public Health Sciences. Martin Holmes, "A psychometric evaluation and application of a measure of food literacy among young adults." Supervisor, Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick. Email Health Graduate Administration for a copy. Oral defence Thursday, May 30, 11:00 a.m., EXP 1686 and hybrid.

Upcoming service interruptions

Stay up to date on service interruptions, campus construction, and other operational changes on the Plant Operations website. Upcoming service interruptions include:

  • East Campus Hall, Engineering 5, Engineering 6 fire alarm testing, Friday, May 24, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business electrical shutdown, May 26, 9:00 a.m., all electrical power shut down for four hours.
  • Physical Activities Complex, Student Life Centre, Federation Hall fire alarm testing, Monday, May 27, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Pathways connecting William Tutte Way and B.C. Matthews Hall closures, Monday, May 27 and Tuesday, May 28, weather permitting. Pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic will be re-routed around alternate pathways as asphalt paving and other repairs are carried out.
  • Biology 1, Biology 2, Health Services, Quantum Nano Centre, Science Teaching Centre fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • School of Architecture fire alarm testing, Friday, May 31, 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • E7 Bicycle Shelter snow guard installation, Friday, May 31, areas around and under the E7 shelter will be blocked off for vehicle and personnel access.
  • Mathematics & Computer Building electrical shutdown, Saturday, June 1, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., power will be disrupted to several areas in the building.