Tom Rankin graduated from university more than 50 years ago, but hardly a day goes by when he doesn’t learn something.
As the CEO of Niagara’s most high-profile construction company, Rankin still makes a point of attending conferences to learn more about his trade.
“Let me make it abundantly clear for those entering the workforce, a new phase in your education is about to begin,” he said Friday afternoon while delivering the convocation address at Brock University. “You won’t be marked on what you learned, but you’ll be judged on how you apply your knowledge.”
Rankin, who launched the company that would become Rankin Construction in 1978, was awarded an honorary doctorate during Brock’s Fall Convocation. During the morning convocation ceremony earlier Friday, Dr. Gervan Fearon was installed as the University’s sixth President.
A former Board of Trustees member for Brock University, Rankin’s company and its related businesses now employ about 500 people in Niagara, Hamilton and Kincardine. Rankin is also known for his philanthropic work, highlighted by his support of the Rankin Cancer Run, which has raised $7.5 million for local cancer care facilities.
Speaking in front of a large crowd that included his wife and other family members, Rankin told the Brock graduates that their university education would help them learn on the job faster, “but make no mistake that your learning curve will continue to climb.”
He also encouraged them to get involved in politics.
“Don’t leave it to others. Have a well-researched opinion and let your voice be known. You can change the world,” he said.
Awards handed out during the two ceremonies included:
- Award for Distinguished Teaching — David Hutchison, Department of Teacher Education
- Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award — Stephen Chueng, Department of Kinesiology
- Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Research Excellence Award — Anthony Bogaert, Department of Health Sciences
- Spirit of Brock Medals — Michelle Balge, Sociology, and Sarah Bax Mathematics
- Governor General Silver Medals — Stephanie Beni, Physical Education, and Jessica She-Ting Wong, Child Health