Getting Convocation down to a Science: Celebrating the 118th Convocation

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Shadow of students in line at convocation with the University of Waterloo emblem in the backgroundThe Faculty of Science held it's 118th Convocation ceremonies today to celebrate the achievements of two honorary degree recipients, 847 undergraduate, 57 Master's, and 25 PhD students. 

Morning Ceremony

Bearing the mace was Donna Strickland, Nobel Laureate and Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. 

The morning ceremony convocated graduates from Biochemistry, Biotechnology/Chartered Professional Accountancy, Biotechnology/Economics, Chemical Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, 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 Muzammil Taj.

Emily Katherine Pass received the President’s Award of Excellence.

Isaac John Stuart De Vlugt recieved the University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Metal regognizing their academic achievements.

Robie Hennigar (PhD '18, Physics) recieved the Governer General's Gold Medal. Since 1873, the Governor General Academic Medals have been bestowed annually to students demonstrating Canada’s highest levels of scholarship and academic achievement.

Arokia NathanDr. Arokia Nathan (left) recieved an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. 

Nathan obtained his BSc from University of Leeds (1981), and his MSc (1984) and PhD (1988) from University of Alberta. From 1989 to 2006, he was a Professor at the University of Waterloo, where he held a Canada Research Chair and was a Steacie Fellow. In 2006, he was appointed to the Sumitomo Chair of Nanotechnology at University College London.

In 2011, Nathan moved to Cambridge University, where he held the Chair of Photonic Systems and Displays. Currently, he serves as the CTO of Cambridge Touch Technologies. Arokia is a co-founder of the Giga-to-Nanoelectronics lab, Quantum Nanofab facility, and the nanotechnology engineering program at Waterloo.

Afternoon Ceremony

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

The afternoon valedictory address was given by Samanatha Anne Fowler.

Mario Coniglio, associate vice-president, academic beared the University's mace.

George C. WooDr. George C. Woo (right) recieved an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. 

Professor Woo completed a Doctor of Optometry degree at the College of Optometry of Ontario, the precursor to today’s School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo. Following graduation, he worked for the Canadian Red Cross delivering vision care to small communities in Northern Ontario. He then completed his MSc and PhD at Indiana University.

In 1970, he joined the faculty of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo, where he was instrumental in developing the low vision program.

In 1996 Professor Woo retired from Waterloo, and took the position of Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Graduating Science students celebrated with awards

The Dean of Science Award recipients, in recognition of creative research as presented in a student’s Master’s thesis were:

  • Benjamin Jean-Marie Tremblay, Biology;
  • Jarrod Michael Psutka, Chemistry;
  • Stacey Parmenter, Earth and Environmental Sciences;
  • Mariko Hirano, Optometry and Vision Science;
  • Alexandra Maria Durocher, Pharmacy; and
  • Sainath Motlakunta, Physics and Astronomy.

The W.B. Pearson Medal recipients is awarded to in recognition of creative research as presented in the student's Doctoral thesis were:

  • Xinda Lu, Biology;
  • Jonathan Grandy, Chemistry;
  • Adrian Mellage, Earth and Environmental Sciences;
  • Emmanuel Borquaye Alabi, Optometry and Vision Science;
  • Roger Ding-Wen Chen, Pharmacy; and
  • Olivia Di Matteo, Physics and Astronomy.

The award winners were celebrated at a special luncheon at the University Club on Wednesday, June 12, where the awards were presented to the recipients. 

Congratulations to all of our honorees and graduates!