116th convocation ceremonies welcome more than 1000 new Science alumni

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Convocation program.The Faculty of Science held its 116th Convocation ceremonies today to celebrate the achievements of two honorary degree recipients, two highly distinguished honorees and 1007 graduating students. Among them, 786 Bachelor degrees, 66 Master degrees and 40 Doctoral degrees, 87 Doctor of Optometry and 28 Doctor of Pharmacy degrees were conferred.

Morning ceremony

Waterloo graduate with family.The morning ceremony convocated graduates from Biochemistry, Biotechnology/Chartered Accountancy, Biotechnology/Economics, Chemical Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science, General Science, Geochemistry, Honours Science, Life Physics, Materials and Nanosciences, Mathematical Physics, Medicinal Chemistry, Physics, Physics and Astronomy, Science and Aviation, and Science and Business.

The morning valedictory address was given by Richard Nguyen.

Jake Fisher receiving the 2018 Distinguished Teacher Award

Jake Fisher (left) was recognized for receiving a 2018 Distinguished Teacher Award, the University’s most prestigious teaching honour.

Fisher, a Laboratory Instructor in the Department of Chemistry for 29 years, is known for taking pride in bridging what students learn in theory with what they see in the lab. He teaches both experimental and computational chemistry labs, including courses he developed from scratch, Chem 140: Introductory Scientific Calculations and Chem 340: Introductory Computational Chemistry.

One of his undergraduate students remarked that “Jake is always welcoming and willing to help, his open-door policy for asking help ensures that students fully understand. You can tell that teaching is not just a job for him, but a passion.” 

Ryan Robert Ferguson received the University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal in recognition of academic achievement.

Kianna Wan was awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal (BSc Honours, Mathematical Physics), and German Augusto Gómez Ríos the Governor General’s Gold Medal (PhD, Chemistry). Since 1873, the Governor General Academic Medals have been bestowed annually to students demonstrating Canada’s highest levels of scholarship and academic achievement.

Curtis RichardsonDr. Curtis J. Richardson (right) received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Richardson, a graduate of the University of Tennessee where he completed his PhD in 1972, holds the John O. Blackburn Distinguished Professorship at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.

During his career as an ecologist, his research emphasized phosphorus and metal biogeochemistry in natural and restored wetlands. He has led significant advances in the fundamentals of wetland science, trained many scientific specialists and advocated for the need for high-quality science in science-based policies and regulations in professional practice.

In 2000, he spearheaded the Stream Wetland Assessment Management Park (SWAMP), a wetland and stream restoration on the Duke University campus that has become a powerful showpiece for teaching, research, and public education.

Afternoon ceremony

Waterloo graduate and parents.The afternoon ceremony graduated students from Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Optometry, Vision Science, Pharmacy and Psychology (Science).

The afternoon valedictory address was given by Caroline Illmann.

Bernard GlickBernard R. Glick (right) of the Department of Biology was named Distinguished Professor Emeriti.

Bernard Glick earned his BSc in Chemistry from City College of New York, followed by his MSc and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo. After postdoctoral training at the University of Toronto and the National Research Council, Professor Glick spent three years as a Group Leader in an early biotechnology company before returning to Waterloo for a 35-year career as a faculty member in the Department of Biology.

He is internationally recognized as a pioneer in plant-microbe interactions with over 260 research publications. His seminal textbook on Molecular Biotechnology is still widely used around the world.

Jo HandelsmanJo Handelsman (left) received an Honorary Doctor of Science.

Handelsman received her undergraduate training at Cornell University and her PhD from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, where she subsequently spent many years as a faculty member. She moved to Yale University in 2010 and served as Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2014 to 2017. Returning to the University of Wisconsin in 2017, she was named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Director of the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery.

She spent many years directing Centres for Scientific Teaching at Wisconsin and Yale, co-directed the National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology, and co-established the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute.

Her pioneering research in environmental metagenomics, enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring in biology, advocacy for women in science, as well as her public service in the White House mark a record of outstanding achievement rarely seen in a single individual.

Feridun Hamdullahpur poses with members of the academic procession.The Dean of Science Award recipients, in recognition of creative research as presented in a student’s Master’s thesis were:

  • Patrick G. Pumputis, Biology
  • Neil G. Raymond, Chemistry
  • Jennifer Mead, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Fall 2017)
  • Daniella Calderon-Nieva, Pharmacy
  • Allison Sachs, Physics (Fall 2017)
  • Viquar U. Begum, Vision Science

The W.B. Pearson Medal recipients, in recognition of creative research as presented in a student’s Doctoral thesis were:

  • Maricor J. Arlos, Biology
  • Jason Tao, Chemistry
  • Taylor Maavara, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Fall 2017)
  • Elizabeth Gould, Physics
  • Ian Erkelens, Vision Science

Faculty of Science cupcake display.Congratulations to all of our honorees and graduates!