Media releases

  • Paul Martin to address students as part of Brock’s Virtual Spring Convocation

    MEDIA RELEASE: 9 June 2020 – R0099

    The doors will soon open on Brock University’s first-ever Virtual Convocation.

    When nearly 3,000 students visit their personalized Spring Convocation experience starting Friday, June 19, one of the special guests they’ll hear from is former Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Paul Martin.

    Martin, who served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2006, is one of five people receiving Honorary Doctorates from Brock during its 107th Convocation.

    “It means a lot to me. Brock is an outstanding educational institution and demonstrates this in the quality of its teaching. It also doesn’t hesitate to rise to society’s other needs,” said Martin, who in 2008 founded the Martin Family Initiative, a charitable organization committed to improving education, health and the overall well-being of Indigenous children and youth in Canada.

    Along with videos from Brock President Gervan Fearon, Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo and others, the Virtual Convocation portal will include a keynote address from Martin, who said he’s as disappointed as the students that the celebratory day can’t happen in person.

    “Graduation day is a great day for the graduands and I’m sure they’d all like to be with their friends and family on campus,” he said. “I would have preferred that too, but what’s important is that they’re getting their degrees and the Virtual Convocation ensures that. It also allows them to leave the room for a glass of water while the recipient of an honorary degree delivers his sometimes too long speech.”

    Joining Martin as recipients of honorary doctorates this time around are:

    • Gary Kobinger, former Canadian Scientist of the Year recognized for his development of an Ebola virus treatment
    • Peggy Nash, a former NDP Member of Parliament and long-time advocate for labour, human rights, gender equality and democratic engagement
    • Alice Rueda, an electrical engineer who developed the first commercial fixed broadband wireless access system and is researching high-tech solutions to Parkinson’s disease symptoms
    • Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario, who served as the first and only female chair of Niagara’s regional government

    Rather than a single livestreamed event, Virtual Convocation is an online portal for graduating students that is personalized based on their Faculty and degree type. Although the portal will launch on June 19, graduands and their friends and families will be able to enjoy their Convocation experience whenever they choose. While the portal will include the official conferring of their degrees by Cheechoo, it won’t replace an in-person celebration, which will be planned in the future when it’s safe to do so.

    And although they won’t receive their physical degree parchments on the traditional Convocation stage, shortly after Virtual Convocation graduands will receive  a ‘Convocation in a Box,’ that will include their parchment, a Convocation program, an alumni pin, Surgite magazine, a bag of Class of 2020 confetti and other letters and information.

    The Brock Campus Store, which plays a significant role in traditional Convocation events — framing thousands of degrees and offering Brock gear to graduands and their families — is also offering their services online with a special section of its online store. New this year are popular ‘Home of a Brock grad’ lawn signs, which have been popping up around the region and beyond.


    Brock Virtual Spring Convocation 2020:

    7 … Faculties represented

    2,490 … Undergraduate students convocating

    412 … Graduate students convocating

    88 … Brock Badgers student-athletes convocating

    5 … Honorary Doctorates being awarded


    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Fall season cancelled for Ontario university sports

    MEDIA RELEASE: 8 June 2020 – R0098

    There will be no fall season for Brock Badgers student-athletes to compete in this year.

    On Monday, June 8, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced the cancellation of its sport programming and championships up until Dec. 31, 2020 based on provincial public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar announcements were made by other provincial governing bodies across the country Monday, and U SPORTS announced that all fall national championships were also cancelled.

    Fall sports cancelled include: baseball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, rowing, rugby, soccer, softball, tennis and ultimate frisbee. All other varsity and club sports are on hold for the remainder of 2020.

    Student-athletes who compete in fall sports will not lose a year of eligibility due to the cancellation of the fall 2020 season.

    “While this has been a challenging course of action for all involved, the health and safety of our student-athletes and all participants remain paramount,” said Gord Grace, OUA President and CEO. “Even though we will not have the opportunity to celebrate our student-athletes on the field during the first term, they remain at the heart of what our organization is about and we will continue to work toward achieving a safe return to play when the time is right to do so.”

    The OUA remains hopeful that student-athletes will be able to return to play in the new year and that sports such as basketball, hockey and volleyball would compete in condensed schedules, added Grace.

    Brock Sports is hosting two virtual town halls to answer questions from student-athletes on Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, June 9 at noon. Access information has been sent to the Brock email account of all student-athletes.

    Emily Allan, Associate Director, Athletics, emphasised the importance of a safe return for student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and fans.

    “I understand how disappointing this is for everyone, but the most important thing for Brock Sports, the University, the OUA and U SPORTS is the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Allan. “Just like our student-athletes, our coaches and staff in Brock Sports are extremely passionate about what they do, and will work to ensure we get through this together.”

    The Badgers are continuing with virtual team and coach meetings, online physical, technical, skill and strength training sessions, virtual sport medicine support with therapists and physicians, and mental health and academic support.

    “Brock Sports Medicine and Brock Sports performance continue to be committed to providing our Brock athletes with the best virtual resources available ensuring they are prepared to compete when the OUA, Brock University administration and public health provide permission to return to train and return to competition,” said Steve Lidstone, Associate Director, Sport Medicine and Sport Performance.

    Brock Sports will implement a return-to-train protocol when permission has been granted by the provincial government, public health and Brock University administration.

    “I ask that our student-athletes remain focused, strong and committed to their future athletic and academic journey with us,” said Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students. “Brock athletes know what it is to persevere in the face of adversity, and what it means to ‘push through’ with mental and physical fortitude when competitive conditions bring unforeseen challenges.”

    In addition to the scheduled town hall meetings, a list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Brock University coronavirus web page here.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases