McMaster Engineering celebrates ‘Big Ideas’ at 60th Anniversary Celebration
They could be seen from all corners of the room. Large, bright, colourful wooden letters that spelled, “BIG IDEAS.”
That’s what graced the grand central ballroom stage at McMaster Engineering’s 60th Anniversary Applause & Accolades Award Celebration, which took place Thursday, May 3 at LIUNA Station.
Designed and built by McMaster Engineering students, the letters anchored the theme of the event, which honoured 60 years of engineering excellence and big ideas in areas such as diversity, entrepreneurship, education, research, and leadership.
Over 350 faculty, staff, students and alumni, enjoyed an evening that celebrated the faculty’s major research awards, engineering innovations and achievements of the Top 150+ alumni recognized last year as part of Canada’s sesquicentennial.
“We have a rich history of research that addresses grand challenges facing Canada and the world and we continue to lead the way,” said Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Ishwar Puri during his opening speech. “Climate change, renewable energy, digital transformation and healthcare. McMaster Engineering has been committed to world class research and education – education with a social conscience.”
McMaster Engineering’s big ideas came to life with Ted Talk-style speeches from several students, alumni and faculty, featured as part of the Big Ideas profile series. Speakers shared how their big ideas are changing the world.
Chemical Engineering student, Nicola Muzzin, chosen as the top Faculty of Engineering student at this year’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition, presented a captivating speech on using hydrogels to regrow skin.
Muzzin is a student working in Todd Hoare’s lab. Hoare was recently awarded the E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship award from NSERC to continue to develop smart hydrogels and nanogels for drug delivery, drug discovery and improving plants’ immunity to diseases.
Inspiring the crowd was Rotimi Fadiya, one of four electrical and biomedical engineering graduates who won the prestigious international 2017 James Dyson Award for the sKan, a skin cancer detection device.
Other speakers at the event included alumna, Janelle Hinds, founder of Helping Hands, an online platform that connects youth with volunteer placements, and PhD electrical engineering student Larissa Taylor. Taylor is finding ways to make music sound sweeter to people who wear hearing aids. Former Dean, David Wilkinson teamed up with last year’s McMaster Engineering Society’s president, Michael Meier to share how collaboration was key in building the Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning.
Interspersed throughout the event were videos that featured engineering performers like mechanical engineering student, and ballet dancer, Lacey Wice. In the video, Wice performs ballet moves and examines the mechanics of ballet.
In another video, diversity champion, alumnus and attendee, Barry Hill revisits his McMaster Engineering roots. Hill is a proud Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River, professional engineer and commercial farmer.
Honoured guest and speaker, Patrick Deane, McMaster’s president, spoke about the history of the faculty and how it has helped the university climb higher in the global rankings, becoming one of the world’s best universities.
He also described the faculty’s founder, John Hodgins as a great visionary who championed the concept of the ‘whole engineer’, exposing students to applied science research and opening their minds to other discipline including politics and the arts.
Puri concluded the night with a student scholarship announcement in honour of the Top 150+ alumni. In 2019, one major scholarship of $12K and six $3K scholarships will be given to students with impressive big ideas of their own.
Inviting over 50 alumni to join him on stage, Puri made a lasting impression on the audience with a promise to ensure the faculty will “keep thinking big.”