The 40,000th Faculty of Mathematics alumnus will cross the stage today

Friday, June 14, 2019

A female student smiles next to Waterloo Grad sign
Today over the course of two ceremonies, the Faculty of Mathematics added 1,286 alumni for a total of 40,750 in more than 100 countries. We also gave out one award for leadership, one Doctoral Prize, had two valedictorians, handed out six medals, and three Honorary Doctor of Mathematics degrees.

During the morning ceremony, Shafi Goldwasser, director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at Berkeley, received an honorary doctorate. In 1997, she was appointed the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and, 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.

David Sankoff receives his honourary doctorate
David Sankoff, received the second honorary doctorate of the morning. A leading Canadian scientist for more than five decades who has been called the “father” of bioinformatics, Sankoff has been a leading researcher consistently innovating at the highest levels of computational biology. 

During the afternoon ceremony, Barbara Liskov, a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received an honorary Doctor of Mathematics and addressed convocation. A Turing Award Laureate, she is best known for her work in software systems design, particularly data abstraction as a key organizational principle in large software systems.

The faculty was pleased to also hand over the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation to Eldon Sprickerhoff. Sprickerhoff graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics with a degree Computer Science and minor in Economics. He was recognized today for his innovative and entrepreneurial achievements, and his contributions to the field of computer science through his company eSentire.

We also want to congratulate the following honorees:

  • The Young Alumni Achievement Award went to Sam Pasupalak, co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Maluuba.
  • Eddie Cheng, a Distinguished Professor at Oakland University, and Keith Farlinger, CEO of BDO International Limited, both received the Alumni Achievement Award.
  • Abina Premachandran won the 2019 J. Alan George Leadership Award. This award is given to a graduating undergraduate who enhances the profile of the Faculty of Mathematics on campus, fosters communication between communities, contributes to the social fabric of Math, helps improve the academic environment for fellow Math students, and provides support and participation for university wide activities and groups.
  • At the spring ceremonies, one undergraduate representing each of Waterloo’s six faculties receives the Alumni Gold Medal. This year’s recipient was Sina Abbasi.
  • Jacqes Samuel, with an impressive 97% average took home the 2019 Governor General Gold Medal.
  • The Faculty of Mathematics first-ever Mathematics Doctoral Prize was awarded to Harmony Zhan.

David Li prepares for his Valedictory address
Thank you to our two valedictorians, Jenny Sun (David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science) and David Li for their contributions throughout their academic career and to today’s ceremony.