University of Waterloo to hold 117th convocation

Thursday, October 4, 2018

More than 2,000 students will receive their degrees at Waterloo’s 117th convocation, and the University will install a new chancellor and award four honorary doctorates.

Waterloo will install Dominic Barton, managing partner emeritus of McKinsey & Company, as its 11th chancellor on October 27 at 10 a.m. Barton stepped down as the firm’s global managing partner after nine years and completing the maximum of three terms. Barton is the chair of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth. He holds degrees in economics from the University of British Columbia and the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Barton replaces Tom Jenkins, chair of the board at OpenText Corporation. Jenkins’ three-year term ended in the spring. The University will name Jenkins chancellor emeritus.

Other highlights of Waterloo’s 117th convocation include:

Friday, October 26  at 10 a.m.

Applied Health Sciences and Science

David A. Butler-Jones is senior medical officer for First Nations and Inuit Health at Health Canada. Dr. Butler-Jones was the first chief public health officer of Canada and head of the Public Health Agency of Canada. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards for his achievements in public health and commitment to health equity. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science and address convocation.

Lynn Judge will become Honorary Member of the University. As the director of academic services in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, formerly the Graduate Studies Office, she championed projects to improve the graduate student experience and services for graduate students.

Friday, October 26 at 2:30 p.m.

Environment and Mathematics

Ingrid Daubechies is the James B. Duke professor of mathematics and electrical and computer engineering at Duke University. She was the first female full professor in mathematics at Princeton University. It was while she was a researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories that Daubechies published her discoveries regarding wavelet theory. Among her many honours, she received the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics, a MacArthur Fellowship, and King Albert II of Belgium gave her the title of baroness. She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Mathematics and address convocation.

Alfrieda Swainston will become Honorary Member of the University. Having worked at the University for 50 years, she was instrumental in the design and development of the staff salary structure and job evaluation system that enabled the University to achieve pay equity compliance 30 years ago and since then, managed the strict adherence to the framework to ensure equitable and affordable salary administration practices across the staff employee group.

Saturday, October 27  at 2:30 p.m.


Parker Mitchell, a Waterloo alumnus, is the founder and CEO of SHIFT. With George Roter, he co-founded Engineers Without Borders, one of Canada’s most influential non-governmental organizations dedicated to tackling global poverty. A recipient of Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross (Civil), Mitchell will receive an Honorary Doctor of Engineering and address convocation.

George Roter is a director at Mozilla. He launched Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in 2000 with Parker Mitchell. A Waterloo alumnus, Roter worked to develop and expand EWB into a vibrant and highly successful organization addressing poverty around the world. Roter has received Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross (Civil) and numerous other awards. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Engineering and address convocation.

Leo Rothenburg will become Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Formerly chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Waterloo, Rothenburg also served as acting dean of the Faculty as well as associate vice-president, international. He has made several innovative research achievements, and has a reputation for exceptional teaching and student supervision. His expertise in theoretical and computational methods are in use in the geomechanics of mining, petroleum, solid waste and transportation.

All ceremonies take place in the Physical Activities Complex.

More information on Waterloo’s 117th convocation is available on the website.

Members of the media are required to register in advance with the media contact below.


Media Contact:

Pamela Smyth
University of Waterloo

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