WATERLOO – The University of Waterloo will graduate its first class of nanotechnology engineering students next week, as well as award thousands of other degrees and diplomas, including 16 honorary doctorates during spring convocation.
A total of 3,641 undergraduate and 710 graduate students will graduate at ceremonies to be held Wednesday through Saturday (June 16-19) in the physical activities complex.
Waterloo will graduate 63 nanotechnology engineering students, including 11 women. Launched in 2005, the innovative program teaches how to use the special properties that arise when materials are fabricated on the nano-size scale. The program draws from and benefits such areas as materials science and engineering, chemistry, physics, biology and medicine.
“It’s very pleasing to see the graduation of our first students in nanotechnology engineering, which is a field that’s growing rapidly and is expected to generate two million jobs worldwide by 2015,” said professor Fred McCourt, acting director of the program. “The new and cutting edge nature of the program as well as the multi-disciplinary nature of the work is reflected in these students.”
Also, a special convocation ceremony will be held Sunday, June 20, in the Theatre of Ideas at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. At the 9:45 a.m. ceremony, master of science degrees in physics will be presented to 28 students graduating from the Perimeter Scholars International program. PSI was established last year by Perimeter and Waterloo’s department of physics and astronomy.
Honorary degrees, along with other awards, will be given at the following convocation ceremonies:
* Applied health sciences and environment, Wednesday, June 16, 10 a.m. Jordan Anderson Turner will give the valedictory address. A total of 652 students will graduate.
- Hon. Monique Bégin, a former federal politician and architect of Canada’s health care act, will receive a doctor of laws degree and address convocation. Bégin, who was the first woman from Québec elected to the House of Commons, is a keen supporter of public health. She played a key role as health minister in drafting the 1984 Canada Health Act, which enshrined five core principles into the health care system: universality, comprehensiveness, portability, accessibility and public administration.
- Peter Adeniyi, an internationally recognized leader in remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS), will receive a doctor of environmental studies degree. A Waterloo graduate, Adeniyi has made significant contributions to national development in Nigeria through the application of GIS. For example, he was commissioned by the Nigerian Environmental Protection Agency to list natural resource and environmental data for the African nation. For three-and-a-half decades, he was a faculty member at the University of Lagos and now serves as pro-chancellor at the University of Ado-Ekiti.
- David Dietrich, former director of pensions and benefits in the human resources department, will receive an honorary member of the university title.
* Science, Wednesday, June 16, 2:30 p.m. Robyn Sambrook will give the valedictory address. A total of 659 students will graduate.
- Julie Payette, former chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, will receive a doctor of science degree and address convocation. She travelled on two NASA shuttle space missions and was responsible for operating the robotic arms, including the Canadarm. On her shuttle missions, Payette was a flight engineer and mission specialist responsible for docking the shuttle to the International Space Station. She also served as the astronaut corps representative at the European and Russian space agencies.
- Harold Atwood, a pioneering neuroscientist, will receive a doctor of science degree. A professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, Atwood explored the neuromuscular system of crustaceans and addressed fundamental questions on the nature and function of synapses, including their affects on animal behaviour.
- Jacob Sivak, a former director of the school of optometry and a retired professor, will receive a distinguished professor emeritus title.
* Arts (first session), Thursday, June 17, 10 a.m. Moira Leigh LePage will give the valedictory address. A total of 569 students will graduate.
- Pierre Nepveu, an award-winning scholar in Québec literature and culture, will receive a doctor of letters degree and address convocation. A professor at the Université de Montréal, Nepveu’s seminal research on cultural plurality and migration has raised understanding of rootedness and mobility within North America. He is a founding member of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Québec Literature and Culture, an influential research network in the humanities.
- Stephen Zeff, a widely acknowledged accounting expert, will receive a doctor of letters degree. A professor at Rice University in Texas, Zeff is a historian, teacher and renowned lecturer, known for research on the development of international accounting standards and institutions. He is the author or editor of 25 books and more than 100 articles.
- James Brox, a retired professor of economics, will receive a distinguished professor emeritus title.
- John Englsh, a retired professor of history, will receive a distinguished professor emeritus title.
* Arts (second session), Thursday, June 17, 2:30 p.m. Alexander Kozaris will give the valedictory address. A total of 610 students will graduate.
- Mary Bales, a highly successful real estate agent in Waterloo Region, will receive a doctor of laws degree and address convocation. Bales has served for many years on the University of Waterloo’s board of governors and chaired its building and properties committee, which oversees the expansion of campus facilities. In the local community, she founded the award-winning and transformative Heartwood Place, an affordable living facility for adults facing personal and life challenges.
- Karl Acham, a respected social scientist in internationalization, will receive a doctor of letters degree. A former visiting professor at the University of Waterloo, Acham was an important figure in launching the Waterloo-University of Graz international exchange program for sociology and philosophy in 1985. In his scholarly work, Acham, author of six books, focuses on preserving and developing the best traditions of Western social thought.
* Mathematics, Friday, June 18, 2:30 p.m. Elyot Grant will give the valedictory address. A total of 700 students will graduate.
- Barbara Lee Keyfitz will receive a doctor of mathematics degree and address convocation. Keyfitz, currently the Dr. Charles Saltzer Professor of Mathematics at Ohio State University, has made profound and original contributions to applied mathematics, particularly in the area of nonlinear partial differential equations. She was also director of the Fields Institute in Toronto, a centre for mathematical research activity.
- Ronald Douglas will receive a doctor of mathematics degree. A major figure in functional analysis, Douglas was responsible for one of the most revolutionary advances in operator theory by introducing methods of algebraic topology. He also held many administrative positions, including executive vice-president and provost of Texas A&M University, where he is a distinguished professor.
- Stuart Feldman will receive a doctor of mathematics degree. Feldman has had a major impact on the development of computer science, both technically and through service to the community. Starting in the 1970s, he made vital contributions to the UNIX and Multics (a UNIX precursor) operating systems. Feldman was founding director of the IBM Institute for Advanced Commerce, which promotes intellectual leadership in electronic commerce. He now serves as vice-president, engineering, at Google Inc.
- Scott Vanstone, a retired professor of mathematics at St. Jerome’s University, will receive a distinguished professor emeritus title.
- Steve Breen, a former manager of hardware support in the information, systems and technology department, will receive an honorary member of the university title.
* Engineering (first session), Saturday, June 19, 10 a.m. Stefan Nespoli will give the valedictory address. A total of 689 students will graduate.
* Amit Chakma will receive a doctor of engineering degree and address convocation. An accomplished academic, engineer and administrator, Chakma served eight years as the University of Waterloo’s vice-president, academic and provost. He is an expert in petroleum research and energy management. Chakma played a leading role in establishing a new health sciences campus in Kitchener and relocating the school of architecture to Cambridge. Last summer, he began serving a five-year appointment as the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Western Ontario.
* Tayeb Kamali will receive a doctor of engineering degree. Kamali is the vice-chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates, an organization with which the University of Waterloo formed a partnership to set up its Dubai campus. He worked to create an advanced electronic-learning institution by means of laptop-based wireless access to online learning and knowledge management programs. A leader of change, he committed his career to forging strong communities through education.
* Indira Samarasekera will receive a doctor of engineering degree. As president of the University of Alberta, Samarasekera is recognized for her outstanding contributions to education, research and society. As well, she is one of Canada’s top metallurgical engineers. Her work has led to significant improvements to the steel industry and to developing technologies that continue to be used nationally and internationally.
* Engineering (second session), Saturday, June 19, 2:30 p.m. Gajan Sathananthan will give the valedictory address. A total of 472 students will graduate.
- Vijay Singh will receive a doctor of engineering degree and address convocation. The author of more than 800 scholarly publications, Singh is a highly acclaimed academic with accomplishments in research, teaching and program development in water resources and environmental systems engineering. Singh is the Caroline and William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering at Texas A&M University. He also established a school seven years ago to provide education in his native village near Agra, India, and continues to fund the school entirely through his own means.
- Jan Carr will receive a doctor of engineering degree. A Waterloo graduate, Carr is founding CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, which is accountable for energy conservation, integrated planning and contracting for the province’s energy supply. As a professional engineer, Carr has written more than 80 technical papers and articles. He continues to mentor young professionals and participates in panel discussions on society, energy, history of technology, regulation in the public interest and the significance of engineering.
- Robert MacPhie, a retired professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive a distinguished professor emeritus title.