The Faculty of Science held its 114th Convocation ceremonies yesterday to celebrate the achievements of two honorary degree recipients, four highly distinguished honorees and 920 graduating students. Among them, 837 Bachelor degrees, 50 Master degrees and 33 Doctoral degrees were conferred.
The morning ceremony convocated graduates from Biochemistry, Biotechnology/Chartered Accountancy, Biotechnology/Economics, Chemistry, Computational Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, General Science, 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 Shivangna Kaistha.
Pam Van Allen was named Honorary Member of the University. The Honorary Member of the University designation recognizes staff and faculty for their outstanding service to the University of Waterloo. It is the highest honour a staff member can receive from the university.
"Pam Van Allen spent 44 years working at the University of Waterloo, starting in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering," reads her award citation. "Following transfer to Dean of Science Office, she was promoted five times within the Science Undergraduate Office, demonstrating her extraordinary commitment to student academic advising and undergraduate calendar management. Throughout her career, she relentlessly worked to improve the student experience at the University of Waterloo, and her passion for the University has been long-term and meaningful such that, during her career, she received numerous invitations to represent the Faculty within the University community."
Other staff members recognized at the morning ceremony include Mónica Barra who received the Distinguished Teacher Award.
Barra, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and chair of Chemistry’s curriculum committee, has been highly praised by past and present students for her enthusiasm, patience, and passion for the course material. One alumnus noted that her lectures were interactive and stimulating, and that the course notes were written in such a way that it was easy and even fun to follow along. The Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes teaching excellence and is the University’s most prestigious teaching honour.
Gillian Faith Hawes received the University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal in recognition of academic achievement.
Thomas Fraser was awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal, one of three medals awarded annually by the University of Waterloo to an undergraduate student graduating with the highest academic standing.
John J. Clague received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. Clague is a leading expert on glacial geology, natural hazards and risk analysis of catastrophes and future climate change. He was recognized today for his role as devoted mentor, educator and scientific advisor and communicator. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of British Columbia, Clague retired in 2016 as professor and Canada Research Chair in Natural Hazards at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.
The afternoon ceremony graduated students from Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Optometry and Vision Science, Pharmacy and Psychology (Science).
The afternoon valedictory address was given by Allison Jewel.
Stephen W. Scherer (Honors BSc Biology and Chemistry ’87) received an Honorary Doctor of Science.
As Chair of Genome Sciences at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Scherer is best known for his groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of genetic variation as it relates to human health and disease. His discoveries of the genetic basis of many types of autism spectrum disorder have led to new approaches to diagnosis and therapy. He is the recipient of many top awards in biomedical research, including his designation as a “Nobel-class” citation laureate by Thompson-Reuters in 2014.
A graduate of Aston University in the UK, Flanagan spent 29 years as a professor at the University of Waterloo specializing in glaucoma research, for which he was internationally recognized. He also served as a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of Toronto and as a senior scientist at the Toronto Western Research Institute. In 2014, he was appointed dean of the Optometry School at the University of California Berkeley.
J. Graham Strong served as director of the School of Optometry and Associate Dean of Science as well as founder and director of the Centre for Sight Enhancement. A joint graduate of the College of Optometrists of Ontario and the University of Waterloo, Strong was an expert in low vision rehabilitation. His profound contributions include numerous papers, public policy development, assistive device innovations and vision rehabilitation that have improved the quality of life for persons with low vision.
Student award winners included Brenda Yasie Lee and Laura Sauder, who received the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student.
Spencer Yim received the Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies award at the Master's level and Anil Maharaj received it at the Doctoral level.
The Dean of Science Award recipients, in recognition of creative research as presented in a student’s Master’s thesis were:
- Dennis Curry (Fall 2016)
- Weiqiang Fu
- Faerlin Pulido
- Mark Steinepreis
The W.B. Pearson Medal recipients, in recognition of creative research as presented in a student’s Doctoral thesis were:
- Robert Broom (Fall 2016)
- Kent Fisher (Fall 2016)
- Anil Maharaj
- Chau-Minh Phan (Spring 2016)
- Laura Sauder
- Kimberly Van Meter
Congratulations to all of our honorees and graduates!