Brock University’s impact on Niagara
Our speaker this month was Brian Hutchings, Vice President Administration and Finance of Brock University. Originally from Grimsby, Brian was accepted to play football at the university in Halifax where he met his future wife. Football brought him back to Hamilton where he played with the Tiger-Cats. He continued his studies and became a Chartered Accountant.
Brian spoke of the growth of Brock since its founding 51 years ago with the initial push for a Niagara university coming from the Allenburg Women’s Institute. Today Brock draws 28% of its students from Niagara, with 40% from the GTA as well as 10% from overseas.
Brian pointed out that Brock has a huge impact on the Niagara economy. The school pays approximately $200 million in salaries and benefits to 1,700 full time and 3,650 part time employees. The total school population of 21,000, including staff and students, spends roughly $366 million with $2.9 million paid to public transit.
The result is that Brock now contributes a significant amount to the economy of the city by way of salaries and the 18,800 students on campus. Lately the university has taken steps to help the centre of the city by establishing new facilities for teaching on St. Paul Street as well as in the former Hair Cloth building.
The University is now recognized internationally and amongst its contributions to the country is the ongoing research. Currently the Biology Department is examining the local mosquito population to determine if any mosquito varieties are capable of carrying the Zika virus .
Some 6,000 students volunteer for local projects and Brock also has the second largest co-op program in Ontario. There is also an exchange agreement with Niagara College.
Brian said it is initially hard to sell the location until students visit and see the proximity to the GTA and the amenities available here.
Our speaker at the April meeting will be Norm Kraft, CEO of Niagara Recycling. He will be speaking about recycling in Niagara prior to the club’s tour of the Niagara Falls facility later in the month.