Tuesday, June 11, 2024

7,250 degrees of Convocation

PhD and Master's candidates file into the darkened Physical Activities Complex.

More than 7,251 degrees, diplomas and certificates will be awarded to undergraduate, Master's and PhD graduates as they cross the convocation stage in 14 ceremonies over the next five days as part of the University's one hundred and twenty-eighth Convocation celebration.

This Convocation is extra special in that at some point during the ceremonies, the 250,000th Waterloo graduate will cross the stage and join the alumni family.

The Convocation ceremonies will all be held in the Physical Activities Complex, which has been decked out in black and gold as part of the occasion's pomp and circumstance. You can watch the Convocation livestream this week on the Convocation website.

The Convocation ceremonies follow a pattern developed over nearly 65 years since the University's first convocation was held in what was then Seagram Stadium in June 1960. The graduating students will come in first, filling up the main body of the hall. 

After the graduands have come in, the academic procession will begin. At the head of the academic procession is the ceremonial Eagle Staff, a symbolic representation of Indigenous peoples and the University's commitment to indigenization, which will be carried in by Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Elder Myeengun Henry. Next, a selected faculty member will carry the mace, a traditional symbol of the University’s authority. Then, faculty members enter, walking two by two, dressed in their academic finery. The final party to arrive is the Chancellor’s party.

President Vivek Goel (alternately James W.E. Rush, Vice-President, Academic and Provost) will provide a territorial acknowledgement and welcome the Indigenous opening, featuring traditional drumming and led by Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry. Each ceremony will also featuring an Indigenous closing.

As the ceremonial head of the University of Waterloo, the Chancellor presides over convocation ceremonies every June and October and awards all degrees, diplomas and certificates, including honorary degrees. The Chancellor also offers an inspirational message for the graduands.

13 exceptional students have been selected as valedictorians for each convocation ceremony. Check out their stories and experiences on Waterloo News.

Following each convocation ceremony, graduates and their guests are invited to the BMH Green to celebrate with their classmates, professors and family members who supported them through their Waterloo student experience.

The June and October Convocation ceremonies form the pinnacle of the University's academic calendar, and this week's ritual celebration represents the culmination of years of effort for students, faculty and staff alike as the newest members of Waterloo's alumni family take their first steps off the Convocation stage as graduates of this institution.

Congratulations to all Waterloo graduands, their families and supporters.

Faculty of Environment graduands cross the stage this morning

A collage of University of Waterloo shields in grayscale.

The first graduands to take the convocation stage this year come from the Faculty of Environment in a ceremony that begins at 10:00 a.m. 380 undergraduates, 87 Master's, and 14 PhD candidates will receive their degrees.

Michael Klein will sing the national anthem.

Brendan Larson will bear the mace.

Dr. Jean Andrey.Dr. Jean Andrey will be named Honorary Member of the University. Dr. Andrey, professor emeritus and former dean of the Faculty of Environment, left an indelible mark on Waterloo and beyond, as a scholar, administrator and champion for sustainability. Following completion of her PhD, Andrey joined the Department of Geography and Environmental Management as an assistant professor, rising through the ranks to full professor in 2009. A dedicated educator, scholar and colleague, Andrey had an excellent record of teaching, supervision, publication and service both at Waterloo and to her discipline. During her tenure as dean, Andrey was integral to launching and advancing Waterloo’s sustainability strategy and policy and establishing SDSN Canada to co-ordinate the post-secondary sector’s implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Sheryl Kennedy.Sheryl Kennedy will receive a Doctor of Environmental Studies, honoris causa. Kennedy exemplifies leadership for societal impact. Working first as an urban and regional planner, then in the federal public service, she was appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Canada in 1994. A Women in Capital Markets Leadership Award winner, Kennedy was also honoured as a trailblazer and trendsetter, one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. In 2009, as CEO, she established the Canadian affiliate of the global consulting firm, Promontory Financial Group. Kennedy has served on several boards, including the University of Waterloo Board of Governors, where she was the driving force behind enhancing investment fund portfolios and policies and chaired the Responsible Investing Advisory Group. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Waterloo, a master’s in public administration from Harvard, and studied financial markets at the London School of Economics.

Sheryl Kennedy will address Convocation.

Valedictorian Emma Schuster will address Convocation. Read more about Emma in Waterloo News.

Guneet Sandhu will be named University Finalist for the Governor General's Gold Medal at the Doctoral level.

Mary Ann Gray will be named University Finalist for the Governor General's Gold Medal at the Master's level.

The University of Waterloo's President's Award of Excellence, awarded to the student with the highest standing in an undergraduate degree program, will go to Andrew Chen Ding.

The University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal for outstanding academic achievement will be awarded to Farah El-shayeb.

Faculty of Health convocation takes place this afternoon

The University of Waterloo convocation stage setup.

The Faculty of Health Convocation ceremony will begin this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. 490 undergraduates, 72 Master's, and 16 PhD candidates will cross the stage.

Julie-Anne Desrochers will sing the national anthem.

Margaret Burnett will bear the mace.

Margaret Burnett.Margaret Burnett will be named Honorary Member of the University. Burnett has a BSc and MSc in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. Her career at Waterloo began in 1981 as a research assistant in Dr. Howie Green’s muscle physiology laboratory. In 1982, she became the biochemistry lab manager before being hired by the Department of Kinesiology to be the lab and admin co-ordinator in 1999. Burnett then became the first administrative officer for the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, a position she held until her retirement in 2023, marking an impressive 40-year career at the University of Waterloo.

Tina Roberts.Tina Roberts will be named Honorary Member of the University. Roberts graduated in 1980 from Health Studies at Waterloo and began her career as a liaison officer and academic advisor in the Faculty of Health (Applied Health Sciences at that time). With the encouragement of her dean, she was one of the first on campus to learn about marketing post-secondary institutions. She attended industry conferences to learn the principles of marketing higher education from experts who had acquired experience at institutions in the United States. Tina worked in the Faculty, overseeing liaison, marketing, recruitment and communications until 1997 when she became the inaugural director of Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment centrally for the University.

Dr. Rhona Hanning.Dr. Rhona Hanning will be named Distinguished Professor Emerita. Dr. Hanning retired at the rank of professor from the School of Public Health Sciences. She is recognized for her significant impact on community- based participatory food and nutrition research with Indigenous communities, food and nutrition policy and program evaluation, and dietary assessment including development, application and evaluation of novel technologies. Hanning was appointed a Fellow of Dietitians of Canada, one of the highest honours of the profession. While at Waterloo, she served in governance roles including associate dean of the Faculty of Health. Her exemplary student mentorship was recognized with the University of Waterloo Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.

Rick Hansen.Rick Hansen will be granted a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. Hansen graduated from the University of British Columbia; he was the first person with a physical disability to graduate with a degree in physical education. He is best known as the “Man In Motion” for undertaking an epic 26-month, 40,000 km journey around the world in his wheelchair. Hansen is also a three-time world champion, nine-time Pan Am gold medalist, and six-time Paralympic medalist. He is the founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation, an organization committed to creating an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential. The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) is the only program that rates, certifies and showcases accessible building based on their level of meaningful access for persons with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities. To date, more than 1,350 sites across Canada have been rated through the program.

Rick Hansen will address Convocation.

Kathleen Szajbely will deliver the valedictory address. Read more about Kathleen in Waterloo News.

Emma Sara JuracicThe Governor General's Academic Gold Medal for highest standing in a Doctoral program will be awarded to Emma Sara Juracic. "Dr. Emma Juracic completed a PhD in Kinesiology and Health Sciences, under the supervision of Dr. Russell Tupling, where she studied the membrane system that regulates calcium inside the muscle cells of our bodies," says a recent Waterloo News story. "  Juracic’s doctoral dissertation examined the roles of two newly discovered regulatory proteins that interact with a calcium pump protein named SERCA, which is integral within the membrane system inside the muscle cells of our bodies that governs calcium homeostasis. Her research provides new insights into the intricate regulatory mechanisms governing cellular calcium homeostasis within muscle. Juracic has published nine papers, including one in the journal Nature. She has also received impressive research support for her work, including a prestigious NSERC postgraduate scholarship. She has regularly presented at national and international conferences on exercise physiology and was the recipient of the Walter B. Cannon award by the American Physiological Society. Juracic has started her postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University, where she is leading a clinical trial with the aim of advancing our understanding of Type 1 Diabetes-induced skeletal muscle myopathy and the role of exercise training in maintaining muscle health."

Chloe Eve McLeod, who graduated at the fall 2023 convocation, will receive the University Finalist for the Governor General's Gold Medal at the Master's Level.

The University of Waterloo President's Award of Excellence, given to the student with the highest standing in an undergraduate degree program, will be awarded to Claudia Rose Baxter Heeney.

The University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal for outstanding academic achievement will be awarded to Simon Weber Friesen.

PACES recruiting two staff and one student representative

A photo of the University of Waterloo sign and campus pathways.

A message from the Sustainability Office.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (PACES) is currently recruiting three new members. PACES works to advance Waterloo’s sustainability efforts and activities, comprising a cross-section of students, faculty, staff, and administration representatives from across campus. The following positions are open for a two-year term from May 2024 to April 2026:

  • 2 staff at large representatives (with a preference for applications from departments not already represented on the committee)
  • 1 undergraduate student at large representative

The committee meets at least once per term. If you are interested in joining, please submit an application by Friday, June 14 at 5:00 p.m. For more information and to apply, please visit the PACES webpage.

Parking lot closures for Convocation

"Spring convocation is fast approaching and parking spaces on campus will be pushed to a maximum," says a note from Sustainable Transportation (formerly Parking Services). "To ensure our graduating students and their families have a seamless memorable experience, we are continuing the relocation protocol for this terms’ convocation."

Parking lots M, N, W, L, & R will be CLOSED to accommodate guests. 

These closures will be in effect from Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15.

Staff permits for L lot will be valid in Q lot or X lot, staff permits for R lot will be valid in J, S, or X lots, and student permits will be valid in C lot or X lot. 

Contact Sustainable Transportation at strnsprt@uwaterloo.ca for more information.

Upcoming office closures

The Campus Housing Office in REV South will be closed for renovations from Thursday, June 13 to Tuesday, June 25. The team will still be available to answer inquiries by phone at 519-888-4567, ext. 42679 or by emailing housing@uwaterloo.ca.

Link of the day

Don't feed them after midnight: Gremlins at 40

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 studenthealthpharmacy.ca.

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.

Spring 2024 Student Experience Survey open, Sunday, June 2 to Friday, June 21.

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

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.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STNBGNC+ employees (staff and faculty), Tuesday, June 11, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., virtual. Register here.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STNBGNC+ employees (staff and faculty), Wednesday, June 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in-person, Register here.

Webinar: Climate Action in Canadian Municipalities: Research Opportunities with N-ZAP’s new Open Access Database, Wednesday, June 12, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., available in English- and French-language. Zoom registration.

Climate Event: Growing Food as Climate Action SocialWednesday, June 12, 2:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Hosted by Waterloo Climate Institute and GreenHouse. Meet at United College to start. Register today!

Staff Association open meeting featuring the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office, Thursday, June 13, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., online.

Canadian Youth STEM Conference, Saturday, June 15, Federation Hall.

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

How to Disconnect from Work (for staff), Tuesday, June 18, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., online.

Active Bystander Intervention Training for Staff and Faculty, Tuesday, June 18, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., online.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STNBGNC+ employees (staff and faculty) with disabilities, Tuesday, June 18, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., virtual. Register here.

Talking to Children about Consent, Wednesday, June 19, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., online.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STNBGNC+ employees (staff and faculty) with disabilities, Wednesday, June 19, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in-person. Register here.

A Trauma Informed Lunch and Learn: Supporting the campus communities on the 1 year Anniversary of June 28th, Wednesday, June 19, 12 noon, in-person. Register on Portal.

Subway Never Miss a Lunch, Thursday, June 20, Subway will donate $1 per cookie sold on June 20 to Food Banks Canada.

CPI Talk - Characterizing Machine Unlearning through Definitions and Implementations, Thursday, June 20, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, Arts Lecture Hall 113.

Bike Fair, Thursday, June 20, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.,  Peter Russell Rock Garden. Please note the new location.

WaterTalk: Putting People at the Centre: Towards transforming climate risk assessment for water security and delivery, Thursday, June 20, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, DC 1302.

Queering Research: A Panel Discussion, Thursday, June 20, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EC5 1027. To register, please email your full name to researchoffice@uwaterloo.ca.

Menstrual Equity Project Reusable product distribution drop, Friday, June 21, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., EC5 second floor.

Inclusive Menstruation: Understanding Trans Experiences, Friday, June 21, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.

A Trauma Informed Lunch and Learn: Supporting the campus communities on the 1 year Anniversary of June 28th, Monday, June 24, 12 noon, online. Register on Portal.

How to Prepare a Strong SSHRC Insight or Insight Development Grant Application, Tuesday, June 25, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., virtual. Please register by June 18.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STBNGBC+ employees (staff and faculty) who also identify as Black, Indigenous, or racialized, Tuesday, June 25, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., virtual. Register here.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STBNGBC+ employees (staff and faculty) who also identify as Black, Indigenous, or racialized, Wednesday, June 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in-person. Register here.

SCA Pride Zine Workshop, Wednesday, June 26, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., online. Register on the SCA website.

From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding, Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28, Federation Hall.

Unlearning the Binary, Thursday, June 27, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Canada Day holiday, Monday, July 1, most University operations and buildings closed.

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:

  • DWE C Wing steam shutdown, Wednesday, June 13, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., autoclave, heating, humidification and hot water unavailable during the repair window.
  • School of Pharmacy, Integrated Health Building fire alarm testing, Friday, June 14, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • University Club, Bauer Warehouse, Avril Building fire alarm testing, Friday, June 14, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • MC to QNC Pedestrian Bridge temporary closure, Monday, June 17 to Friday, September 27, no access to bridge between QNC to MC due to construction.
  • Douglas Wright Engineering, Rod Coutts Hall, South Campus Hall, Carl Pollock Hall, Graduate House fire alarm testing, Monday, June 17, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation is not required.
  • Central Services Building, General Services Complex, Commissary fire alarm testing, Monday, June 17, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Physics, Earth Science and Chemistry, Chemistry 2 fire alarm testing, Tuesday, June 18, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Science Teaching Complex hot water maintenance, Tuesday, June 18, 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., no hot water in washrooms or kitchens during this time. Cold water will still be functional.
  • NH 1st floor non-essential lighting and receptacles electrical shutdown, June 25, 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., electrical power will be terminated to most 1st floor lighting and receptacles.