Brock renaming campus road in honour of Flora Egerter


At the formal dinner to launch Brock University June 4, 1963, Ontario Premier John Robarts (left) met with Flora Egerter (second from left), who first promoted the idea of a university in Niagara. Also pictured are Emma Bearss (second from right), former president of the Welland County Women’s Institute and secretary of the Niagara Peninsula Joint Committee on Higher Education, and Arthur Schmon, Brock University Founders Committee chair.

It was 1957 and the Niagara Peninsula was in the midst of a baby boom. Its population was growing, and there was talk of opening four new universities in Ontario.

The government money was there, but the local movement just needed a voice, and that’s where Flora Egerter came along.

Egerter felt strongly about the need for a university in Niagara, and it was the resolution she presented to the Allanburg Women’s Institute – of which she was a member – that helped rally support and led to the eventual creation of Brock University.

“Seemingly, she was just an ordinary person living an ordinary life who came up with this brilliant idea. A lot of people have brilliant ideas but not many do something about it,” said Dorothy Krynicki, the administrative assistant in Brock’s Political Science Department who has researched Egerter extensively.


Brock opened its doors in 1964. Fifty years later, one of the main roads within its campus will bear Egerter’s name when Meter Road becomes Flora Egerter Way during a ceremony Sept. 11.

Members of Egerter’s family and the Allanburg Women’s Institute will be on hand for the outdoor celebration, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. near the Campus Store, located in the Plaza Building.

“Her insight, her persistence, her achievement has affected thousands of lives,” said Krynicki, who helped push for Egerter’s recognition. “She came up with the idea and saw it come to fruition in just seven years.”

Not much is publically known about Egerter, who was born in 1893 and grew up in Thorold. She died in 1977 survived by three children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“She was, it seems, an average everyday housewife of the time,” Krynicki said. “Our students, faculty and staff need to see her as an example of what you can accomplish if you just set your mind to it.”

Once the decision was made to build a university in Niagara, what happened next is the stuff of legend.

The University’s campus was chosen from close to 30 proposed sites. Brock’s location happened to be where Samuel Theal’s home was built. Theal fought alongside Sir Isaac Brock’s British troops in the War of 1812.

Unbeknownst to officials choosing Brock’s location, Theal was also Egerter’s great-great grandfather. The Theal House, originally built around 1837, was renovated in 2009 and is now the location for Parking Services.

Without Egerter’s initiative, “it’s totally possible (that the University may not have been built), or it might have come at a later time, or it may have been a different school, different configuration,” Krynicki said. “I think it was timely, and the reason why Brock is the way it is, is greatly due to (Egerter).”

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