$2.7m gift expands student opportunities for experiential learning and access

The Gerald B. Mitchell Centre in Experiential Education creates a $2.7-million legacy for Brock students, enabling this Brock University Honorary Degree recipient to live on

A groundbreaking act of generosity will benefit future generations of Brock University students with expanded work opportunities during their studies, greater access for underrepresented groups and deeper research for career and experiential education.

The University was saddened to learn of the passing of Stephanie Mitchell, who was a donor and friend of Brock University. She passed away in December of 2019.

A generous $2.7-million legacy gift from Stephanie Mitchell, in honour of her late husband Gerald B. Mitchell, will be used by Brock University to establish the Dr. Gerald B. Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education.

Stephanie Mitchell had previously supported Brock with an earlier gift, also in honour of her late husband, to support programs in co-op, career and experiential education.

Gerald Mitchell after receiving honorary degree at Brock in 1982

“Brock’s students are the direct beneficiaries of Stephanie’s remarkable generosity and philanthropy,” said Brock President Gervan Fearon.

“Her gift will change the lives of students today and through the years to come, by ensuring an education that provides experiential real-world opportunities coupled with our world-class teaching and research. Brock is honoured and humbled to be home to the Dr. Gerald B. Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education, named for one of our region’s most successful business leaders whose personal story of perseverance and leadership is inspirational and motivating.”

Dr. Mitchell worked as a machine operator after dropping out of high school and, for the next 45 years, climbing the career ladder at Hayes-Dana Ltd. He began his career with no college education and worked his way up to become CEO of the large multinational company. In 1982 he earned an honorary degree from Brock University. Dr. Mitchell always appreciated the importance of education and the opportunities that a quality education could provide.

This generous contribution to the University will honour the intellect and force of personality that Dr. Mitchell demonstrated during his career. The $2.7-million bequest to create the Dr. Gerald B. Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education will be a lasting testament. The funds will be used to support students in pursuit of following and discovering their passions through grants, resources, tools, workshops and supporting work opportunities that allow them to gain experience in their chosen fields.

The Dr. Gerald B. Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education will support students in discovering their strengths and individual talents as they explore work and understand how to apply their talents and mobilize their skills as they move along in their careers. It will also support research that will elevate the experiential community and knowledge for more faculty to offer opportunities for students to apply their learning to their careers.

The establishment of the Centre will be celebrated with a recognition event on the Brock University campus, when public health guidelines allow this to take place. The University looks forward to launching this valuable new initiative that will honour Dr. Mitchell.

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