Campus Digest

New residence construction continues

Construction of Western’s new, 1,000-bed student residence is underway with Southside Construction working toward the building’s 2013 completion. Roughly 600 beds at the new residence on the southwest side of campus will be available to incoming students for September 2013.

With access to the construction site via Sarnia Road, traffic could become more congested during peak hours. The London Transit Commission (LTC) has relocated a bus stop near the construction site entrance to one hydro pole west of the original. The new location for stop on the 9 Whitehills, 10 Wonderland and 31 Orchard park routes will likely become permanent, says Caroline Roy of the LTC.

Western medical pioneer honoured

OTTAWA — Dr. Calvin Stiller, University of Western Ontario professor emeritus, was recently named an Officer of the Order of Canada. For Stiller, it was a promotion within the order.

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced 66 new appointments to the Order of Canada last week. The new appointees include one Companion (C.C.), 28 Officers (O.C.) and 37 Members(C. M.). These appointments were made on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. Recipients will accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.
In his citation, Stiller was singled out “for his leadership as a medical entrepreneur and for his advancement of scientific research and innovation.”

In 2010, Stiller was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and named a recipient of the 2010 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award.

For the list of recipients, with short citations, and a backgrounder on the Order of Canada, visit the Governor General website,

Finding needles in a digital haystack

Two teams led by researchers at The University of Western Ontario have won the second-annual Digging into Data Challenge, a program promoting innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis.

Western anthropology professor Andrew Nelson and Lu Xiao of the Faculty of Information & Media Studies represent two of the 14 successful projects announced in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Nelson’s team uses high-resolution imaging to dig into data related to ancient Egyptian mummies. These efforts will provide mummy and medical researchers with a large-scale comparative database of medical images of mummified human remains that will shed light on ancient health.

The project received $165,483.

Xiao’s team develops automated readers for text archives of human rights abuses that will help reconstruct stories from fragments scattered across collections of newspapers and government documents. By detecting patterns in words, it will help identify victims and perpetrators of historic disappearances and systemic violence in Guatemala, abuse against women and children in Burma and violence in Chechnya.

The initiative received $235,000.

The 14 successful projects are supported by nearly $5 million (U.S.) from the eight funding organizations, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Scholar’s Electives program welcomes alumni

The Scholar’s Electives students at The University of Western Ontario are welcoming some of their own back to campus.

A Scholar’s Electives Alumni night will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16 in the Student Success Centre. Current students will have the opportunity to meet with notable alumni and to reconnect with one another.

Scholar’s Electives alumni who would like to attend should email; current Scholar’s Electives students can register at

In its 39th year, the Scholar’s Electives program is designed for high-achieving, self-directed students interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary experience. To be eligible, students must have a final high school admission average of 90 percent or higher and outstanding extracurricular contributions to their school and/or community.

Visit Scholar’s Electives program website,