The third weekend in September is always one to mark in your calendars.
Alumni Weekend kicks off the two-week Brock Days celebration on campus and this year, more than 275 grads returned to the University to partake in the festivities.
Alumni were reunited with friends, teammates, colleagues, faculty and perhaps connected with a few new people as well. They shared food, wine, educational experiences, but most importantly, stories from their past and present.
Many grads teed off for the Brock University Alumni Association (BUAA) annual golf tournament before making their way to pub night at Mansion House in downtown St. Catharines. Brock music legend Pat Hewitt performed and helped grads get reacquainted over his “sociable” calls.
Les McCurdy-Myers (BA ’76), BUAA board member and manager of the Personal Counselling Services and Leadership Development at Brock, was also roasted at the annual Tribute! event.
While these alumni events were happening, students sipped and ate their way through a Café Crawl. More than 45 students came out and tried goodies from three different cafes and Smokes Poutinerie. The fan favourite of the evening was the molten hot chocolate.
Saturday morning was kickstarted with a great breakfast as the day started with the BUAA annual general meeting where three new members of the board were voted in.
Similar to last year, the remainder day included a mini-conference where attendees could go “back to class” to learn something new. In each breakout session, there was a faculty speaker, alumni speaker, hands-on workshop or tour they could participate in.
“It was great to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues,” said alumnus Brad Clarke (BA ’00), who is also a staff member and Brock Days committee chair. “I really enjoyed the two alumni speakers. They were inspiring and made me proud to be a part of Brock. I was telling my non-Brock friends about them all weekend.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Peter Goodspeed (BA ’74), senior international affairs reporter for the National Post and also a 2012 Alumni of Distinction award recipient. Goodspeed spoke about his extensive journalism career, his experiences overseas and how it all started at Brock University.
After the Back to Class sessions were over, attendees headed to Alphie’s Bistro for a drink and to recap everything they just heard.
Guests also prepped and got ready for the Cameo Club ceremony, which followed the social at Alphie’s.
To commemorate their lifelong affiliation with Brock University, alumni who graduated more than 25 years ago received a cameo pin our University’s namesake Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock at the Cameo Club ceremony.
The evening concluded at Fine Food, Fine Wine, Fine Art, featuring offerings from Niagara’s finest chefs, wineries and performers. This year, there was an 1812 twist as we celebrated the bicentennial. Petticoats, Boots and Muskets performed their musical, which explores the facts and myths of the war, while guests were able to sample the 1812 wines from Palatine Hills Estate Winery and Redcoat wine from Ravine Vineyard.
An alumni wine tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake capped of the weekend on Sunday. The event was sponsored, in part, by Niagara Classic Transport. Tour stops included Inniskillin Hall at Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Konzelmann, Pondview and Diamond Estates wineries. This will likely become annual Alumni Weekend event.
Grape Stomp is Brock’s messiest tradition in which more than 400 students – and even a handful of alumni – participated.
“It was like a food fight that I always dreamt of having in high school, but with grapes,” said student Racquel Alongi.
The event also raised 300 pounds of food for Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold.
Badger pride was clear as the Brock University float made its way through the streets of St. Catharines at the Grande Parade that Saturday.
The Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) partnered with Niagara College to host wine and food pairings in Montebello park. Out of the 12 sessions, seven of the winemakers featured were Brock grads.