Media releases

  • End of an era as Brock Registrar retires after 33 years

    MEDIA ADVISORY: R00120 – 9 June 2016

    When she exits the stage Friday, June 10 after the final Spring Convocation ceremony of 2016, Barb Davis will conclude quite an era.

    On June 30, Brock University’s Registrar is taking early retirement, ending a career that began 33 years ago when the fresh-faced Brock graduate had a job keeping track of towels, basketballs and swimming passes in “The Cage,” beside the gym that now bears the name of her dad, former Athletic Director Bob Davis.

    She would go on to hold various positions, from liaison officer and liaison manager in Student Recruitment to academic advising in the Psychology department. In 1996, she joined the Registrar’s Office to oversee front counter support and academic advising, successively being named to Director of Admissions, then Deputy Registrar and, in 2003, the top job.

    Through it all, few assignments compare with the complexity, pageantry and emotional richness of convocation. Davis has been part of “The Show” for 20 years, and estimates she’s seen about 50,000 graduates cross the stage during 100 or more ceremonies.

    That experience is what helps people stay calm when the “surprises” come along. Things like power outages, on-stage marriage proposals, or the year movie star Ryan Gosling caused a major stir by turning up for his mother’s graduation.

    Then there was the time several years back when an honorary degree was being conferred, and Davis glanced down to notice someone had forgotten to bring an honorary hood. As the presenter kept talking at the podium, Davis discreetly left the stage and ran to the gowning room: “Just give me a hood! Quick!”

    Davis’s life as a marathon runner, including six times in Boston, paid off as she raced back to the stage, slipped the hood from under her gown and placed it on the table seconds before the moment arrived to hood the honorary. All in a day’s work.

    Two of her best memories are the honorary degrees awarded to Bluma Appel in 2007 (“She was so connected to the audience, her presence filled the room. You could hear a pin drop when she spoke”) and to Ron Sexsmith in 2014 (“He’s a hometown boy and songwriting icon, he was so humble, and his family were so warm and appreciative”).

    This year’s Convocation had its own special glint. On Wednesday, June 8 Davis was on stage as her daughter Hannah graduated — and beamed when Bob Davis stood up to hood his granddaughter. Bob had also hooded Barb some three decades earlier.

    “I love convocation,” she said one morning this week in the gowning room, checking details for the day’s ceremonies and helping people find their ceremonial cloaks, before joining the procession to the stage. “I love handing out the degrees, love seeing the students’ faces.”

    But she pauses when asked how she’s feeling about leaving a place that has been a huge presence for generations of her family.

    “I haven’t allowed myself to think about it just yet, because June is such a busy month for us. Brock will always be a part of my life so I don’t see this as a severing or separation, just a change,” she said.

    “What I will miss most are the people, all the wonderful students, staff and faculty who are part of the Brock community. But most especially I will miss the wonderful team I have had the privilege to lead in the Reg office. They are the best.”

    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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    Categories: Media releases

  • University at Buffalo president tells Brock grads to be nimble and ready to take risks

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00119 – 8 June 2016

    Having a career path in mind is important, University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi said Wednesday, but not being afraid to venture off that path will take you far in life.

    Tripathi was awarded an honorary doctorate from Brock University during Spring Convocation Wednesday morning, and in his address he encouraged the graduating Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Math and Science students to be willing to change course when needed.

    “I know that each of you has set a very ambitious course and many of you are on your way to this path already,” he said. “I applaud your ambitiousness, but I caution you not to be so fixed on your intentions to close new doors before they open.”

    Born in India, Tripathi simply wanted to match the career success of his teaching family.

    “As a young student, I hoped I would be able to become a high school principal to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I would have been proud of that achievement,” he said. “I never thought I would have the opportunity to lead a major North American research university.”

    Tripathi is now an internationally distinguished researcher and transformative higher education leader who is the first international-born president in the history of the University at Buffalo.

    After graduating top of his class from Banaras Hindu University in India, Tripathi went on to earn a doctorate in computer science from the University of Toronto. He served as dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California-Riverside from 1997-2004 and spent the 19 years prior to that as a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, including seven years as department chair. He has also held visiting professorships in France and Germany.

    Tripathi served as UB’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs from 2004 to 2011 before being named the university’s 15th president in April, 2011. During his tenure, he was one of the principal creators of the UB 2020 strategic plan to achieve academic excellence, and has led the university to achieve significant growth in research and scholarly activity, enhanced student quality and diversity, and an expanded international presence. 

    Building on this strong foundation, Tripathi’s vision for UB focuses on moving the university into the highest ranked American research universities by expanding its reach and impact locally and globally.

    Tripathi said what has helped him throughout his career was the willingness to listen and take advice from others, even while remaining self-reliant.

    “You know the great value of sharing ideas across disciplines. This is the basis of almost all great knowledge and important discoveries,” he said. “No matter how brilliant your idea is, make sure to test it against other theories and from a different vantage point.”

    The willingness to take risks is also a principle Tripathi has followed over the years. “I explored computer science when only a handful of people were doing that … I took a risk when I left India to pursue education in Canada,” he said. “There’s no magic formula for success. There comes a point where each of us must choose our own way and you’re at that point now.”

    In receiving the honorary Doctor of Laws Wednesday, Tripathi said he’s proud of the working relationship Brock and UB share, a relationship that goes back half a century.

    Spring convocation continues at Brock University this week with ceremonies Thursday and Friday at both 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

    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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    Categories: Media releases