Trailblazer of campus accessibility giving back to Brock for Leave a Legacy Month

Linda Crabtree’s relationship with Brock University began later in life than most.

It was at the age of 41 that she took her first Psychology class at the school, sparking an invaluable connection that has only grown stronger through the years.

Having lived most of her life in St. Catharines, Crabtree (BA ’87) watched as the University grew from a single building at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment to a bustling campus above the pristine greenspace.

However, it wasn’t until she began her Brock studies that the strong bond she now knows with the University would begin to blossom.

Diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT), a group of genetic conditions that damage the peripheral nerves, Crabtree is mobility impaired and had a unique experience navigating campus as it stood in the 1980s.

Rather than accept standards as they were, she initiated the first committee at Brock created to address accessibility. Following graduation in 1987, she continued her efforts as a champion for people with disabilities in society.

Crabtree’s time at the University gave her the confidence to create CMT International, a charitable organization for people living with CMT. Her CMT newsletter went out to people around the world.

Her determination to help better the lives of others did not go unnoticed at Brock.

In 1994, she received an honorary degree from the University and was named one of the Brock University Alumni Association’s 30 From the Past 30 — an honour presented to alumni who exemplified Brock’s core values in celebration of the association’s 30th anniversary.

Crabtree’s work has also been acknowledged with more than 20 national and provincial awards. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, and received the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility.

Each honour helped to affirm her life philosophy of pursuing a path that you love, all while helping others.

Now, in semi-retirement, as Crabtree and her husband G. Ronald Book are planning their estate, Brock remains near and dear to her heart.

Hoping to continue giving back to the University community, Crabtree intends to donate her medals, awards and records to Brock’s Archives and Special Collections. The donation will include more than 50 years of journals, newspaper columns, newsletters, project files and photographs.

To provide explanation of the pieces, and to help students utilize them as a resource when studying entrepreneurial women, Crabtree wrote her autobiography entitled CMT and Me: An intimate 75-year journey of love, loss and refusal to surrender to a disabling disease.

Crabtree and Book have also designated a bequest to Brock University to establish the Dr. Linda D. Crabtree Guts and Glory Bursary to commemorate her connection to the institution and to ensure students with disabilities have support in their education in the years to come.

This gift to Brock in their wills is one of many ways Crabtree’s legacy will live on and continue to inspire the next generation of Badgers.

There are many ways to make a meaningful gift and May, as Leave a Legacy Month, is the perfect time to start the conversation.

Organized through the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), the national campaign encourages individuals to leave a gift through their will or estate.

To make a gift to Brock University, please contact Development and Alumni Relations at 905-688-5550 x4190 or visit

For more information about leaving an estate gift or to request a will kit, please contact Tracy Geoffroy at 905-688-5550 x4519 or

Read more stories in: Alumni, News, People, Social Sciences
Tagged with: , , ,