Following Thursday’s announcement of Wendy Cukier being named Brock University’s President-designate, local community leaders offered congratulations and stressed the importance of Brock’s role in Niagara.
“Throughout my tenure as President, the community continues to embrace Brock University’s role in education and research, and as an important partner in moving Niagara forward,” said Jack Lightstone, who completes his second and final term as President and Vice-Chancellor on June 30, 2016. “Brock is committed to helping improve the intellectual, cultural and economic growth of our region. I’m confident that our partnership with the community will continue to be a priority under Wendy’s leadership.”
Lightstone has led the University through a decade of growth in enrolment, state-of-the-art facilities and reputation. Under his guidance, Brock has evolved into a research-focused comprehensive university with an important and strong, mutually beneficial role in the Niagara community.
“For many years Brock has been a vital part of our community, providing excellent learning and development opportunities, applied research and support for entrepreneurs. With the new Marilyn I. Walker School downtown and innovative partnerships to support our community’s growth, the City’s relationship with Brock continues to deepen,” said St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik. “Dr. Cukier’s experience in the hi-tech industry, innovation and business are a great fit for Brock as a growing institution and for Niagara’s growing economy. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Cukier back to St. Catharines.”
Cukier, PhD, MBA, MA, BA, DU (hon) LLD (hon) M.S.C. will be the first female and first Brock graduate to serve as president. She is currently Vice-President Research and Innovation at Ryerson University in Toronto, is an internationally respected researcher, expert in emerging technology and innovation, and advocate for social justice. She will join Brock as President and Vice-Chancellor on Sept. 1, 2016.
“I was delighted to learn who Brock’s next President will be and that she is from Niagara,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati. “Her understanding of the unique character of Niagara Falls and our Region, and her professional success, create a dynamic combination that will benefit Brock and our community. I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.”
Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani was happy to learn Cukier is from Niagara and returning home to lead the University. “I am delighted that Brock is following a course in diversity by appointing a female President and Vice-Chancellor and with its recent selection of its first female Chancellor. I am excited the new President is an alumna of Brock, so she will have a good feel for the community,” he said.
Welland Mayor Frank Campion said he hopes to meet with Cukier early in her tenure “so that the City of Welland and Brock University can continue and grow the exceptional relationship they currently enjoy.
“Moving into 2016, I see our partnership with Brock expanding. The University is a very important part of what makes Welland and Niagara attractive to residents, visitors, students and investors.”
Dan Patterson, President of Niagara College, congratulated Cukier for being named Brock’s sixth president.
“Brock University and Niagara College both play critical roles in supporting our region. Dr. Cukier’s work at Ryerson has led her to be recognized as a leader in innovation and emerging technologies. We look forward to forging stronger partnerships in support of the region and pathways for our students under Dr. Cukier’s leadership,” he said.
Through its Strategic Mandate Agreement with the Province, Brock has committed to being a strong community partner. The University does this through fostering and facilitating an entrepreneurial culture, bringing together research, innovation and commercialization, and creating community partnerships. Some examples of those partnerships include working with nearly 100 not-for-profit community organizations through research taking place in the Jack and Nora Walker Canadian Centre for Lifespan Development, the creation of the Niagara Community Observatory, the ongoing community work taking place at the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health & Well-Being; and the recent opening of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.
“I want to offer sincere thanks and appreciation to Dr. Jack Lightstone for his leadership and commitment to the St. Catharines-Niagara community during his tenure as President. With his leadership and vision we have created a strong foundation of partnership, innovation and community connection that will continue to help lead Niagara into the future,” Sendzik said.
Lightstone congratulated Cukier and welcomed her to the Brock family Thursday, wishing her success as she steers the University into its next phase of development.
“Change and renewal are positive and important for universities. New leadership is always an opportunity for development, because it brings new and different strengths and talents into the mix,” Lightstone said. “2016 will be an exciting year for Brock University and the Niagara community.”
Reaction from local community leaders was welcoming and hopeful:
Alan Caslin, Niagara Regional Chair: “I congratulate Wendy on her appointment as Brock University’s new President and welcome her leadership here in Niagara Region. As a key post-secondary institution and long-standing community partner in our region, Brock University has done an outstanding job of educating the next generation of leaders. I look forward to working with Brock under Wendy’s leadership and building on our shared successes for the betterment of our community.”
Mishka Balsom, President and CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce: “We are glad that someone with Dr. Cukier’s wealth of experience and talent will be filling this very important position. The business community of Niagara has gained much from the efforts of the university and of Dr. Cukier’s predecessor, Dr. Lightstone, who is and has been a highly valued member of the GNCC Board of Directors. We look forward to continuing that strong working relationship with Dr. Cukier. Brock’s activity has been important to the business community of Niagara, especially that of the Goodman School of Business and the BioLinc incubator, the Niagara Community Observatory, and other departments, faculty, staff members and students. Brock has been innovative and responsive when it comes to finding ways to service academic research, the learning experiences of its students, and the needs of Niagara business. The GNCC has partnered with Brock on many projects and events.”
Dolores Fabiano, Executive Director of Niagara Falls, Welland/Pelham and Port Colborne-Waintfleet Chambers of Commerce: “I think it is very exciting to be welcoming our first female President. She is already well accomplished and I look forward to working with her. I believe that in 2016 we will begin a new era where all voices are respected and heard. Brock University is a premier resource and partner for all of Niagara and I look forward to that message becoming much louder.”
Warren Hoshizaki, Director of Education for the District School Board of Niagara: “We are pleased to learn that Dr. Cukier will become the next President of Brock University. In particular, the DSBN welcomes her impressive record of championing important social justice initiatives as it aligns with much of the work our Board is engaged in. The DSBN’s commitment to equity is seen in its approach to supporting our Aboriginal students in a way that honours their unique culture, language and world view. It is also evident in the Board’s efforts to create opportunities for our first-generation college and university students through the DSBN Academy, for which Brock has provided generous support.”
John Crocco, Director of Education for the Niagara Catholic District School Board: “Niagara Catholic recognizes the excellent leadership of Dr. Lightstone as President of Brock University and the partnerships formed between Niagara Catholic and Brock. I am looking forward to meeting with Dr. Cukier and setting a plan to further enhance the educational, professional development, partnership and leadership opportunities between Niagara Catholic and our local University. Dr. Cukier’s connections to Niagara, combined with her diverse experiences and knowledge, will enrich the opportunities between our leading educational institutions.”
Janet St. Amand, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Niagara: “Brock University is one of the great community partners the YMCA relies on to achieve our mission of building a healthier community. As we approach 2016 we look forward to further collaboration with Brock University, one of Canada’s leading academic institutions, providing relevant community research and leadership in Niagara organizations along with a student base ready to tackle the job market and volunteer opportunities.”