Brock closes Spring Convocation with celebration of 100,000th graduate

MEDIA RELEASE: 8 June 2018 – R00121

It was a moment she had no idea was coming, but one that she’ll never forget.

Rebecca Alcock, a 21-year-old from Ancaster, became Brock University’s 100,000th graduate Friday, June 8 when she received her Bachelor of Arts from the University’s Faculty of Humanities.

Breaking from the traditional prim and proper occasion of Spring Convocation, music rang out and red confetti rained down as Alcock was hooded by Brock University President Gervan Fearon.

“I was very shocked and nervous, but it was exciting,” she said. “I’m honoured and proud.”

The English Language and Literature major, who plans to enrol in teacher’s college at Nipissing University this fall, called it one of many highlights of her four-year experience at Brock.

“I think the most memorable thing is the friends I met in first year who I’ve kept throughout my experience here,” she said.

Early on in the planning, Fearon encouraged Brock staff to make the occasion a special one for the 100,000th graduate, while recognizing the importance of the students and staff who laid the groundwork for this moment.

“The idea of being the President of Brock for this moment is an amazing honour, but it reflects the actions and efforts of every single President up to this point,” he said.

“It places Brock in an elite group of universities and says that as an institution, we have a wide range of individuals across Canada and around the globe who can point to Brock as being where they got their post-secondary education.”

Brock Registrar Geraldine Jones, whose office has been tracking graduate numbers over the years, said everyone was thrilled to be involved with the celebration.

“This is the stuff we love,” she said. “Convocation is purposefully a serious occasion, but it’s always great when we can inject a little frivolity into the medieval traditions we recognize.

“It’s an important marker of where we’ve come and where we’re headed,” she said.

Honorary degree for legendary St. Catharines photographer

Edward Burtynsky has gone around the world capturing remarkable images of humanity’s impact on our planet, and he doesn’t like what he sees.

His images appear in more than 60 major museums, including the Guggenheim, but Niagara is where the roots of his art were planted. It’s also where a large collection of his photographs can be found hanging in the Rodman Hall Art Centre.

Burtynsky was awarded an honorary doctorate from Brock University on Friday, June 8, and told the large group of graduands from the Faculties of Humanities, and Math and Science, that Niagara was where he first became interested in industrial landscapes.

“This region has had a profound shaping of my consciousness to go out and do the things that I’ve done,” he said, pointing to the Ontario Street General Motors plant, the Welland Canal and quarries in Port Colborne as having a big impact on his early years.

Burtynsky went on to receive a BAA in Photography/Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982 before launching Toronto Image Works. His images have appeared in publications such as National Geographic and the New York Times, as well as in museums around the world.

He said he wants people to experience his art so that they can understand the impact society is having on the planet.

“I’ve spent a great deal of time in these landscapes watching them continue to change and watching us continue to change them,” he said. “Our collective impact is inevitable. As our population booms, so does our need for resources. We’re spending the land and seas like currency and the Earth’s systems are under threat.”

Burtynsky encouraged the graduands to do something — big or small.

“Our planet is fragile. Now is the time to take responsibility for our actions and our future,” he said.

He also encouraged the grads to take risks and never accept no for an answer.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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