Tuesday, June 14, 2022 | Daily Bulletin

Convocation brings the 7,000-degree heat back to campus

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 | Daily Bulletin

The calm before: The Physical Activities Complex has once again been transformed for Convocation.

More than 7,300 degrees, diplomas and certificates will be awarded this week at 14 ceremonies as part of the University of Waterloo’s 124th Convocation celebration, and, for the first time since the fall of 2019, graduands will be crossing the stage in person.

Nearly 6,900 students will be graduating this week, with some receiving multiple degrees and certifications.

The Physical Activities Complex is once again decked out for the pomp and circumstance as Waterloo’s Convocation traditions are revived, including the singing of the national anthem and the academic procession that sees the University’s mace presented to the assembly, and newer proceedings are instituted at the in-person ceremonies, including the Indigenous opening and closing that will feature drumming and remarks by Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry.

At each ceremony, President Vivek Goel will give a territorial acknowledgment and Chancellor Dominic Barton will provide welcoming remarks and the adjournment, while President Goel, Vice-President, Academic & Provost James W.E. Rush or Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International will oversee the conferment of degrees, depending on the ceremony.

At the point in the proceedings when the earned degrees are to be conferred, the vice-chancellor will request the members of the graduating class to rise in their places and then will address the chancellor as follows:

Mister Chancellor, I present to you those scholars who have fulfilled the statutory requirements laid down by the Senate of the University that they may be admitted to their various and several degrees.

The chancellor will reply as follows:

Mister Chancellor, I present to you those scholars who have fulfilled the statutory requirements laid down by the Senate of the University that they may be admitted to their various and several degrees.

Awards will be presented, valedictorians will address convocation, and honours will be conferred to notable members of the University community and beyond. Receptions for graduands and their guests will take place following the ceremonies.

This week promises to be a high point on the University’s academic calendar (but not the only high point, as there are Convocation ceremonies planned for October as well) and represents the culmination of years of effort for students, faculty and staff alike as the newest members of Waterloo’s alumni family take their first steps off the Convocation stage as graduates of this institution.

Congratulations to all Waterloo graduands, their families and supporters.

Faculty of Health ceremony starts Convocation off this morning

The University's mace.

This morning at 10:00 a.m. more than 590 students from the Faculty of Health will attend the first Convocation ceremony for Spring 2022. 496 undergraduate students, 68 Master’s and 22 PhD candidates will receive their degrees.

Troy Glover, Chair, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, will present Mark E. Havitz for conferment of the title Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Dr. Mark Havitz was a professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies from 1992-2019, serving as department chair from 2008 to 2016. He is well known for his work in the theoretical advancement of ego-involvement, psychological commitment and loyalty, and marketing services to marginalized people, as well as his creative autoethnographic accounts and retrospective techniques. Havitz was honoured with a Fellow in the Academy of Leisure Sciences in 2000 and received the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award from the National Recreation and Park Association in 2017. In 2021, he also received the Leisure Scholar Award, the highest recognition bestowed by the Canadian Association of Leisure Studies.

Jack Callaghan, Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, will present Stuart McGill for the conferment of the title Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Dr. Stuart McGill was a professor in the Department of Kinesiology from 1987-2017, serving as department chair from 2006-2009. He is internationally regarded for his work in spine biomechanics, investigating mechanisms of low-back injury and how to prevent and rehabilitate low-back pain and optimize performance. He has published more than 250 scientific papers and five books, mentored more than 40 graduate students, and taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners in courses and workshops around the world. Dr. McGill is the Chief Scientific Officer for Backfitpro Inc. and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2020.

Chris Perlman, Associate Professor, School of Public Health Sciences, will present John Hirdes for the conferment of the title University Professor. John Hirdes has been a Faculty member at the University of Waterloo since 1989, currently as a Professor in the School of Public Health Sciences and as a Fellow of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is the Senior Canadian Fellow and a Board Member of interRAI (interRAI.org), an international consortium of researchers from over 35 countries. He obtained his BSc in Health Studies, a Certificate in Gerontology, MA in Sociology, and PhD in Sociology all from the University of Waterloo. Dr. Hirdes has published over 250 peer-reviewed studies, book chapters, and clinical manuals focusing broadly on health systems and services for vulnerable health populations. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the fields of aging, mental health, and health information systems as well as his excellence in graduate student mentorship.

Professor Hirdes will address convocation.

Precious Nwaka will deliver the valedictory address.

Fiona Ly will receive the President’s Award of Excellence, which is awarded for the highest standing in an undergraduate degree program.

Arsh Maira Muhammad Muhyiddin will receive the Alumni Gold Medal, which is awarded in recognition of outstanding academic achievement.

The Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, awarded to the student with the highest standing in a doctoral program, will go to Michael Paris, PhD candidate in Kinesiology. Paris’ PhD research has gained him national and international recognition. He received multiple invitations to give presentations and workshops to clinicians from around the world, including the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, John Hopkins University, and other high-profile organizations. Read a profile of Michael Paris and other Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal winners on Waterloo News.

Shane Clark will receive the James D. Leslie Graduate award, given in recognition of academic excellence in an online graduate degree program.

Convocation continues with Faculty of Environment this afternoon

People from the Faculty of Environment holding up signs that spell out "Congratulations Class of 2022."

This afternoon at 2:30 p.m., 639 students from the Faculty of Environment will cross the Convocation stage. 530 undergraduates, 93 Master’s, and 16 PhD candidates will receive their degrees.

Amelia Clarke, Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Environment, will present Dianne Saxe for admission to the degree of Doctor of Environmental Studies, honoris causa.

For more than 45 years, Dianne Saxe has been one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers. She’s also an influential author, committed to keeping the public informed of their environmental rights and duties, and the importance of addressing climate challenges. Saxe served as the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, where she provided extensive analysis of the government’s commitments to protecting the environment and engaged people in conversations about Ontario’s sustainable future.

Dianne Saxe will address convocation.

Jaskaran Dhillon will deliver the valedictory address.

Kate Dienstmann will receive the Alumni Gold Medal.

Jenna Philips will receive the President’s Award for Excellence.

Check out a story on the Faculty of Environment news site that features student award winners.

Short film featuring professor’s work evokes the birth of life on Earth

A screenshot from Philip Beesley's short film Cradle.Cradle is a new short film created by Professor Philip Beesley, London-based artists Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, and Amsterdam-based sound designer Salvador Breed. 

Inspired by the form language of Beesley’s “living architecture” environments, the film’s intricate geometries move from inert crystalline minerals into surging life forms. Within an astral, dream-like vision of constant metamorphosis, a child-like being emerges, reflecting the fundamental journey from death into new life. Rising and falling in cycles, deeply fragmented wilderness is interwoven with shimmering, hopeful light. Whispering voices emerge from cavernous depths, creating an emotional passage from suffering through new life and innocent wonder. Together, the film and sound composition offer an almost overwhelmingly intense experience of innumerable worlds falling into chaos and rising again in new life.

Philip Beesley represented Canada at the 2021 and 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture. Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones are multi-disciplinary artists exploring the collision of photography, film, music, fashion, and new digital media. Within music culture, W&N have collaborated with UNKLE on their last four album projects (photography, film, and live installation), Björk on her last three album projects (photography, film, VR, and live show), and many Massive Attack projects (photography and film). As co-lead of 4DSOUND Technologies, Salvador Breed creates and sculpts sound and technology for a wide field of contexts like live performances, fashion shows, video art, and interactive art installations.

An extended, immersive version of this film accompanied the installation Grove exhibited at the 2021 Biennale of Architecture in Venice.

Nancy Gibson retires after 33 years at Waterloo

A message from the Office of Research.

After a 33-year career at the University of Waterloo, Nancy Gibson is retiring with her last day set for June 16.

After graduating as an animal health technician in 1981, Nancy joined the Psychology Department at Waterloo on January 23, 1989, and in 2012 she moved to the Office of Research Ethics.  

When she worked in the Psychology building, Nancy was regularly seen rescuing ducks from the third-floor enclosed patio. Every year the ducks would nest in the shrubs, have their babies, and then had no way to get out of the patio. Every year Nancy would get a call to come to get the ducklings and take them down to the creek. Word eventually got around and she started getting calls from another building on campus as there wasn’t any way for their ducklings to get to ground level. Nancy was the resident duck rescuer for 25 years.

Over the years Nancy has seen a lot of change take place at Waterloo. She has witnessed how the University has made ethics in research a top priority by meeting, and in many cases, exceeding federal and provincial guidelines.

Through professional continuing education and attending conferences, Nancy’s career at Waterloo has allowed her to meet people from all over Canada. She has also been able to reach the pinnacle of her training when she achieved her Registered Master Lab Animal Technician certification in 2014.

“Working in research has the potential to find a cure for cancer, diabetes, or eye diseases, and a lot of collaboration needs to happen,” says Nancy. Being able to help train and assist students that she works directly with to follow the policies and procedures and understanding the ethics of what you are doing, has been a very rewarding part of her job.  Nancy has really enjoyed watching students evolve over the years, some even becoming faculty members at Waterloo.

Although Nancy will miss her work at Waterloo, she plans to keep busy in retirement by volunteering in animal rescue, traveling and riding her motorcycle, and spending time with family outdoors.

Tuesday’s notes

Here are the latest offerings from the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC):

Hybrid Writing Cafes  

Write together and connect with other grads, post docs, and faculty members at the Hybrid Writing Cafés. Sessions are held online and in the SLC Grad lounge on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Evening and weekend appointments  

Book a virtual evening or weekend appointment and work with our peer tutors on any aspect of your writing. Appointments are available Monday to Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

IBPOC Writing Café 

Join the WCC on Thursday June 16 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the first session of the IBPOC Writing Café. The IBPOC Writing Café is a space where graduate students identifying as Indigenous, Black, and people of colour can come together to form a supportive community of writers. “This is an intentional IBPOC-only space,” says a note from the WCC. “You can join the IBPOC writing groups channel through WCC’s Teams.” 

Summer Lights Festival banner.

The Summer Lights Festival is returning to downtown Kitchener for one last year, nine years after its inception. In pre-pandemic times the Summer Lights Festival was one of the largest block party-style events in Waterloo region. Artists with Waterloo connections have been a part of the Summer Lights Festival since the beginning, including a strong showing from the University’s A Capella groups.

As the festival prepares for its swan song in 2022, organizers are excited to report that four Waterloo vocal groups will be performing at Summer Lights including The Water Boys, the Unaccompanied Minors, ACE, and the Musical InterDudes.

The festival runs from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on June 18, stretching along King Street from Young to Queen, including outdoor patios at several restaurants, cafés and bars with a balloon installation at Young Condos.

Hafidah Rosyid

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