New online exhibit looks back at Brock through alumni magazine

While readers of Brock’s Surgite magazine are accustomed to getting the latest updates on their alma mater, a new virtual exhibit offers a glimpse into the University’s past.

Beginning with the publication’s first issue in 1977, the Surgite digital exhibit guides readers through 40 years of stories from the University community by highlighting photographs, articles and marketing materials.

Archives and Special Collections Digital Resource Assistant Shauna Ribaric (BA ’03) spent more than one month working on the exhibit and approached it “like a time capsule for each decade,” she said. She searched through every issue for content that would adequately illustrate the experiences of each decade of graduates.

“I wanted it to be a visual story because there were so many photos and graphics that stood out,” she said. “You can see the evolution of the University and how student, employee and alumni experiences changed through the decades.”

The exhibit enhances a digital repository of the magazine that was created in 2018 by offering readers a more interactive experience and providing historical and contextual information.

To create the exhibit, Ribaric used online exhibit platform ‘Omeka S’ in collaboration with Brock’s Digital Scholarship Lab. Surgite issues from 1977 to 2019 are available in searchable PDFs and a main search bar can search through every publication included in the exhibit.

Showcased are significant milestones, such as new programs, marketing campaigns and fundraising initiatives, as well as successful stories of students, employees, graduates and community members on a local and international scale.

Ribaric says the content she highlighted is a small fraction of what is available in the magazine issues.

“There’s still lots for people to discover,” she said. “No matter their connection to Brock, they will find something interesting.”

Director of Alumni Engagement Terry Cockerline (BA ’97) said the online exhibit offers a medium for graduates to relive big memories.

“In alumni relations, we deal a lot with current relationships, but nostalgia is a big part of what we do and how we keep our grads connected,” he said. “Every time I visit the site, it brings a smile to my face because I recognize classmates and colleagues who have made a positive impact.”

Cockerline said a popular recurring section of the magazine has been class notes. Although the design and content have changed over the years, the main premise of alumni updates has remained.

“Before the internet and Facebook existed, Surgite was the main communications channel for alumni to update others on their important life moments and professional accomplishments,” he said. “It’s a section we hope to continue as we modernize the magazine.”

In the next issue of Surgite, Cockerline said readers can expect to see some new digital elements.

“Just as the online exhibit offers an engaging way to look back at old issues, we are exploring how we can make our upcoming publications more interactive,” he said.

Current issues of Surgite are available on the Marketing and Communications website.

Additional digital exhibits are listed on the Brock University Library website.

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