Brock University looks a little different than how Terry Cockerline (BA ’97) remembers it.
A highly regarded leader in advancement and alumni engagement, Cockerline spent the previous eight years at the University of Victoria as the Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and Executive Director of the University’s Alumni Association.
Cockerline, who received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications in 1997 and served as Manager, Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Brock University Alumni Association for seven years, returned to Brock this August as Director, Alumni Relations. He will play an integral role in the embarkment of University Advancement and External Relations’ new strategy as well as supporting Brock and its faculty, students, staff and alumni.
“It’s impactful to see how the community and institution have grown,” he says. “It’s a new place with a real sense of excitement; familiar, but exponentially larger and more complex from the one I left nine years ago. I’m incredibly excited to reconnect with Brock and the greater community.”
With a focus on keeping Brock graduates connected with the University — and with each other — for their personal and professional development, Cockerline hopes to engage with alumni as much as possible and from “every corner of campus.” He will also work closely with the Alumni Association, which he calls “a great board with great leadership that dedicates their time to helping support an important part of the University.”
“Alumni are perhaps the largest segment of the Brock community, and it’s essential to keep their voices active,” says Cockerline. “I see an immense amount of pride within our alumni community. We want to keep that pride and momentum going and spread the word about the great experiences available to Brock students, and ultimately, the value of a Brock degree. A lot of graduates look to Brock for lifelong learning. We want to keep that door open as well.”
One of his first tasks back at Brock has been helping organize a Homecoming unlike any other in the University’s history, which he says has been an opportunity to “revaluate our programs, determine how to add even more value to our alumni and discuss opportunities for alumni to stay connected and give back no matter where they live.”
While living in Victoria, the last time Cockerline was able to attend Homecoming was in the late 2000s, where he noticed a larger student involvement in the festivities, as well as the ignition of new traditions and rekindling of old ones.
“Homecoming is a very important time of year,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to share memories, reconnect with fellow alumni and talk about the role Brock has played and continues to play in our lives.”
This year’s Homecoming is focusing on keeping the traditional elements of homecoming alive. It will feature a tribute to the glory of the Steel Blade hockey game, the annual recognition of distinguished alumni, live virtual tours for reunion classes, the sharing of memories through social media, wine tastings and Niagara Grape and Wine Festival activities.
The virtual Homecoming has also provided unique opportunities for a more inclusive experience, such as the ability to extend the celebrations beyond the traditional one weekend and being more accessible to those who live far away from the University.
“While things might look different this year, Brock is committed to keeping its traditions alive,” says Cockerline.