posted on June 1: Faculty of Engineering Convocation takes place today


A Convocation ceremony for Faculty of Engineering graduands takes place this morning (June 1) at Hamilton Place.

Degrees will be conferred for students in programs offered by the Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computing & Software (Engineering programs), Electrical & Computing Engineering, Engineering Physics, Materials Science & Engineering (Engineering programs)and the Mechanical Engineering departments as well as the program in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.

Honorary degrees will be awarded to William Sinclair, a co-founder of the fibre optics giant JDS Uniphase and to Joseph Wright, a former McMaster chemical engineering professor who now head the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada. Wright will give the Convocation address.

William Sinclair

Doctor of Science

William Sinclair has been a key player in the global growth and application of fibre optics technology for most of his career. Sinclair was the first president and co-founder (with Jozef Straus and Gary Duck) of the fibre optics giant now known as JDS Uniphase.

After receiving his bachelor of science degree (physics) from the University of Waterloo (1976), Sinclair worked at SPAR Aerospace for three years. He returned to university, obtaining his M. Eng. degree (engineering physics) from McMaster (1980).

It was while pursuing his master's studies and working at Bell Northern Research (now Nortel Networks) in the advanced technology laboratory that Sinclair met Straus and Duck. In 1982, Sinclair left BNR to become the first full-time employee of JDS Optics, which later became JDS Fitel and is now JDS Uniphase. He left the day-to-day involvement in September 1993 after having served as president for 10 years.

JDS Uniphase has aggressively recruited engineering physics students for several years and in 2000 almost half of McMaster's engineering physics class was hired by the company. Sinclair has since started another company called Fluorosense Inc. that develops state-of-the-art optical instruments for industrial and environmental applications.

Today he remains active as a director on the JDS Uniphase board of directors and is a director of Isotechnika Inc., Venture Coaches and DragonWave Inc.

Joseph Wright

Doctor of Science

When Joseph Wright left McMaster in 1977 as an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering he had founded one of the top process control research groups in North America. Today he is the president and chief executive officer of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada.

Wright received his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alberta (1963). He studied at Cambridge University on an Athlone Fellowship and graduated with a PhD in control/chemical engineering (1967).

Returning to Canada in 1969, he joined McMaster where he initiated work in computer process control in the department and led it through the transition from analog to digital control techniques and into the modern computer era.

From 1977 until 1994 he worked at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada where he was responsible for leading the company's worldwide materials research activities. He was also a part-time professor in chemical engineering, supervising graduate students and giving short courses.

Wright is the author of five U.S. patents and one Canadian patent. He chaired both the Ontario Centre for Materials Research and the Mechanical and Chemi-Mechanical Wood-Pulps Network of Centres of Excellence.

He is a fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Chemical Institute of Canada.