By Emily Hutton (BA ’09) and Hillary Rogers (BA ’13, BEd ’13)
From Friday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 18, Brock experienced an increase in population as alumni flocked back to campus to help celebrate Brock Days Alumni Weekend. More than 350 graduates came together and participated in the annual festivities as they reconnected and shared food, wine, educational experiences, but most importantly, stories from their past and present.
Alumni Weekend kicked off this year with a social pub night at the Mansion House in downtown St. Catharines. The Mansion House is owned and operated by two Brock grads, Peter Tourountzas (BBA ’03) and Craig Stewart (BBA ’01), who provided a great place for alumni to catch up over a pint and enjoy some great entertainment.
“Alumni Pub Night was excellent. The Mansion House provided outstanding food (especially the chicken sliders), and it was great to sit and catch up with friends from Brock and the rowing team,” said Pat O’Connor (BRLS ’11), a recent grad and former Brock rower who travelled from Kingston for the weekend.
Friday night also paid tribute to Ian Brindle (MSc ’72), former Brock VP Research at the annual Tribute! event.
Saturday morning was met with smiles and sunshine as the day started with the Brock University Alumni Association annual general meeting. After the AGM, NHL legend and Brock alumnus Dennis Hull (BA ’81) gave the keynote address where he talked about his life after hockey, which included attending Brock at the age of 33. If you missed this presentation, you can watch it online at livestream.com/brockuniversity
The focus of Brock Days Alumni Weekend was to develop both sides of the brain, so the format included a new mini-conference filled with nine breakout sessions and three tours. Some of the topics presented by alumni included the mind-body connection, Alzheimer’s disease, the science of happiness, blogging and lifelong learning.
The three tours this year were on campus, off campus and virtual. The on-campus tour showed alumni the developments that have happened and are happening at Brock since they’ve graduated. The virtual tour took attendees through the new Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex and the off-campus tour took guests downtown to visit the Canada Hair Cloth building – the future home of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. One attendee, Mariya Yurukova (BA ’08) said that “having lived in St. Catharines since I was a student, I can’t wait for the revitalization of downtown. I am very proud that Brock looks to impact the community beyond its immediate surroundings.” For a summary of the tour, watch TVCogeco’s coverage on The Source.
In the evening of Saturday, Sept. 17, approximately 130 alumni (who graduated from Brock 25 or more years ago) gathered in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre Lobby to receive their Cameo Club pin to commemorate their lifelong affiliation with Brock University.
The evening concluded at Fine Food, Fine Wine, Fine Art, an extraordinary taste experience featuring offerings from Niagara’s finest chefs and wineries. For example, Hospitality on Hand provided a grilled masala rubbed shrimp on harvest 365 autumn slaw and green curry cream shooter, and was paired with a 2009 Laura’s White and 2007 Laura’s Red from Creekside Estate Winery. Rob Power (BSc ’00), winemaker for Creekside, enjoys being a part of events like this because “it allows you to be adventurous and try new tastes.” Digital art was displayed throughout the room and was provided by Donna Szoke and Bill Ralph, two professors at Brock.
Wine and Cheese Seminars in the Park, hosted by Vines Magazine and Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, took place Sept. 17-18 and Sept. 24-25, 2011, with seminars selling out during both weekends. To enhance the wine experience, the Dairy Farmers of Canada provided cheese plates to pair with the wines. In total, 42 alumni were able to meet the winemakers of some of their favourite Niagara wines, many of whom are Brock graduates.
While this weekend was dedicated to alumni, Brock Days is actually a two-week event for students. Students from all over campus came out to celebrate this year’s annual series of events.
Friday, Sept. 16 was the first Brock Days Café Crawl. Similar to a pub crawl, students travelled from café to café where there were games and prizes at each location. More than 60 students attended the event, which is sure to become an annual tradition.
The celebrations continued all week. Let it B-Rock, a four-day free lunchtime concert series, featured more than 15 of Brock’s finest performers. With everything from singers to beat boxers to T-shirt giveaways, the event was a great success.
On Friday, Sept. 23, more than 400 students participated in the annual Grape Stomp, Brock’s messiest tradition. With 78 registered teams, this year’s Grape Stomp was the biggest yet. There was even a Brock Alumni team participating this year, decked out in the blue and red athletic colours.
Our Badger pride was clear at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival’s SmartCentres Retrocom Grande Parade. Brock’s float painted the town red as costumed students marched with cheerleaders, Boomer the Badger and a live band.