Friends of the Philosophy Department

dinosaur toys wearing birthday hats and eating cake

Friends of the Philosophy Department

Brian Rudrick (Posthumous 1959 - 2013)

Dr. Brian F. Rudrick was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada and a Pathologist and Laboratory Director for Grey Bruce Health Services when he began taking Waterloo Philosophy courses part-time by Extended Learning in 1996. He completed his Bachelor's degree in 2007. He studied everything from the history of philosophy to political philosophy, and from logic to existentialism while mixing in courses in Sociology, Economics, and Mathematics.

Brian was an active supporter of the Department of Philosophy and the University of Waterloo. He was a willing visitor to undergraduate and graduate classes in the Department, giving talks and lectures that demonstrated how the critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills essential to good philosophy are important to decision-making in a medical setting. He exemplified what it is to contribute philosophically to professional and public life. His willingness to share his story about the value he found in studying philosophy was of lasting value to the Department. For the generous donation of his time, his financial support of Philosophy education at Waterloo, and his inspiring example of lifelong learning, the Department of Philosophy unanimously voted to recognize Brian F. Rudrick as a Friend of the Philosophy Department. Dr. Rudrick graciously agreed to accept the honour shortly before his sudden and tragic death in March  2013. The Department remembers his friendship with affection and gratitude.

The Brian Rudrick Visiting Scholar in Philosophy is made possible by a generous gift from the estate of Dr. Brian F. Rudrick

Gerry Remers

Gerry Remers received his MA in Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in 1982, completing his thesis (“Edmund Husserl’s Phenomenological Theory of Intersubjectivity”) under the supervision of Professor Richard Holmes.

An early proponent of digital projection technology, Remers's leadership saw first Electrohome and then Christie Digital evolve into a global research and sales leader in the industry. He has always had strong relationships with the University, the Faculty of Arts, and the Department of Philosophy, and in 2007 he received a University 50th Anniversary Alumni Award.

In his various public leadership roles, Remers emphasizes the practical relevance of the analytical and communicative skills one acquires through philosophical education, and he illustrates the application of ethical ideals in his work with local charities and educational foundations. He also played an integral role in securing the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy for the University and for the Department of Philosophy. For his outstanding voluntarism on behalf of the Department and for his history of outreach on behalf of the discipline, the Department is pleased to recognize Gerry Remers as a Friend of the Philosophy Department.

Robert Ewen

Robert Ewen came to Waterloo Philosophy from his original program in Engineering. Intrigued with themes in Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Hegel, he graduated with an Honours BA in Philosophy in 1971. With a subsequent MBA in hand, by the late 1970s, Ewen was becoming skilled in finance. As a broker and discretionary money manager, he has enjoyed great success in the Canadian banking industry. Ewen is a strong supporter of the universities from which he graduated and of the Bruce Trail Association (whose 720 kilometers both he and his wife Anita have hiked end-to-end). In 2017 received a 60th Anniversary Alumni Award, and he continues to bring philosophical reflection to bear on his life and work.

On his website, he puts it this way:

Studying Philosophy revealed how I think; Studying Business showed how my competitors think; Within is my evolving process which utilizes this gap.

For his role as a major supporter of the Philosophy’s undergraduate awards program, and for his generosity in consulting with the Department on strategic development goals, we are pleased to recognize Robert Ewen as a Friend of the Philosophy Department. 

Arts in academics

Each year, the Faculty of Arts recognizes the academic achievements of Waterloo Arts alumni. We are proud to have several recent winners of this award.

Nathan Houser (2010)

Nathan Houser is one of the world's most distinguished scholars of American philosopher C.S. Peirce. He earned all three of his Philosophy degrees at the University of Waterloo, between 1974 and 1986. Nathan was a founding editor of Eidos, the graduate journal of philosophy that UW's philosophy grads have been editing and publishing for over thirty years. In 1980, he began working on the university's satellite of the Peirce Edition Project (PEP) - an ambitious, decades-long undertaking to publish the critical edition of Peirce's writings. In 1983, Nathan joined the Philosophy department and main branch of the PEP at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He was appointed director and general editor of the PEP in 1993, full professor in 1997, and founding director of the Institute of American Thought in 2003. Nathan, now Professor Emeritus, at IUPUI, is equally noted for his original publications on Peirce's thought and for his leadership of the PEP, for which he garnered over a million dollars in grants and gifts, and which he worked to develop from a North American to truly international collaboration.


Paul Rusnock (2009)

Paul Rusnock is a graduate of the Universities of Toronto (BSc, MA), New Brunswick (BEd), and Waterloo (PhD). As an undergraduate, he studied a variety of subjects, with a concentration in mathematics, English literature, and zoology. After completing a master's degree in the history and philosophy of science, he came to Waterloo for doctoral studies in philosophy in 1992, finishing in 1996. For several years after that, accompanied by his family, he led the life of an itinerant scholar, with stops in Paris (1996-98), East Lansing, Michigan (1998-99), Edmonton (1999-2001), and Ottawa (2001-04). In 2004 he found more permanent work at the University of Ottawa, where he is now an associate professor. His present research, in collaboration with Rolf George of Waterloo and Jan Sebestik of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) (France), focuses on the philosopher, mathematician and social reformer Bernard Bolzano (1748-1848).


Trudy Govier (2008)

A widely published scholar of war and peace, Govier completed her PhD in Philosophy at Waterloo in 1971. Through her influential book A Practical Study of Argument (now in its sixth edition) she is probably responsible for teaching critical thinking to more people than anyone else in Canada. Whether in moral philosophy, political philosophy, or argumentation theory, her work shows a long-standing commitment not only to excellence but also to the public application and accessibility of academic research.


Stephen Ward (2007)

Stephen Ward completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in 1988. He went on to become an accomplished foreign correspondent and Canadian Press bureau chief. Following an appointment as a research fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Stephen accepted a position at the University of British Columbia, serving as the Director of both the School of Journalism and Journalism Ethics for the Global Citizen program. His book The Invention of Journalism Ethics: The Path to Objectivity and Beyond, won the 2005-2006 Harold Adams Innis Prize from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.