In June of 1982, The Brock University Philosophy Society (BUPS) was formally instituted by Professor David Goicoechea. A group who were committed to loving and knowing the truth about the becoming of all things came together, told their stories about the need for such a society and ate pastry and drank coffee together. At that first meeting Mr. William Ford was elected president. Valerie Bulanda was elected Vice-President. Dorothy Korchok was elected Secretary Treasurer. Special committee members were Professor John Mayer, the late Doris Senior, Christine Poulakakis and Joanne Lynaugh. A mission statement was brought forth from out of the conversation. They would institutionalize a philosophical community that promotes an open and free discussion of ideas in symposia and conferences. It would be primarily composed of Brock Alumni and members of the Niagara Community as well as Brock faculty members and students. As the next 25 years unfolded many other philosophers from across the face of the earth became enthusiastic participants in the conversation. Thus BUPS became a unique blend of academics and community members brought together by the love of wisdom. After Mr. Ford’s ten-year presidency and Valerie Bulanda’s ten year presidency, Dr. Johanna Tito is now into the fourth year of her presidency and both fundraising and discussion groups have grown exponentially. Diane Sheehan is the current Vice-President of the Society and has hosted many wonderful Society dinners at her home.
In addition to organizing discussion groups and hosting several conferences every year BUPS organizes fundraising events for scholarships in philosophy. The society has been honored to host musical concerts given by Janusz Stechley, Anton Kuerti, Ofra Harnoy, Anjali, Corey and Katja Cerovsek, Peter Toperzcer and others. Since 1996 and the Mount Carmel Book Sale the Society has primarily raised funds through book sales. The Society has donated funds to Brock University in excess of $300,000.00. At present BUPS offers five undergraduate and three graduate bursaries annually. As of 2006 the Dr. Robert Malone and Marymac Book Prize will be awarded annually.
From 1983 to 2000 BUPS hosted a series of conferences on Wisdom, The Person, Humanism, Alan Bloom and John Updike. In 1990 the Society initiated a series of conferences devoted to 2000 years of Agape or Christian Love, as well a series on the joy, sorrow and glory of Postmodern ethics. Both series, which are currently being published, centre around the thinking of top scholars in the field who were often invited as keynote speakers. Also there were ten Aquinas lectures and eight cosmology conferences. The January 2000 Science and Religion Conference, generously supported by the Templeton Foundation, had as its special guest speakers George F. R. Ellis of the University of Cape Town and George V. Coyne, S. J. of the Vatican Observatory. Since 2003 there are three discussions groups that meet frequently and out of these three conferences arise.
Participation in BUPS conferences can be an invaluable aspect of graduate life at Brock as many graduate students and alumni of Brock Master’s Program in Philosophy have read papers at these conferences. The conferences are always free and the public is welcome. Donations to the Society can be made (donations over $10 are tax receipted).