In late summer 2011, Brock Alumni Relations ran an online contest to get to know Brock families. We encouraged grads to explain their family tree for a chance to win a prize package and family portrait on campus.
The draw for Brock’s Family contest occurred in December 2011, and the Cahill/Dirks/Waters family won with five family members with Brock degrees, spanning more than 30 years. The Cahill family, native to St. Catharines, has had connections to Brock since the beginning.
Three generations of Brock alumnae came to get their family photo taken on campus in early January, and to tell us about their Brock connection. Patricia Waters (BA ’88), daughter of Lou Cahill (LLD ’91) came with her daughter, Linda Dirks (BA ’84), and granddaughter Kate Dirks, a current Master of Education student at Brock. In a unique photo opportunity, Kate draped her great-grandfather’s honorary doctorate robe over her arm while her mother and grandmother held pictures of the late James Waters (BA ’78) and Lou Cahill.
All three women said their connection to Brock has been continuous and “comfortable.” James Waters was the first to attend Brock in the ‘70s, studying ‘Cultures and Civilizations.’ Linda, daughter of James and Patricia, remembers coming to Brock in the ‘70s to watch the Hamilton Tiger Cats practise on campus in the off-season. She later earned a degree in education in 1984. Patricia came to Brock later on in her life, after her husband had attended, her children had grown up, and Linda had graduated. In 1988, Patricia received her BA in Visual Art after taking courses part time for years.
Lou Cahill is a well-known name in St. Catharines and in the public relations community throughout Canada. He was a pioneer in the public relations industry, founding Canada’s longest-operating PR firm, OEB International. He was also a passionate supporter of everything Niagara for more than 75 years. In 1991, Cahill was presented with an honorary doctorate from Brock.
The Alumni Relations Family Contest winners truly represented a multi-generational group of graduates with a family tradition of learning from the institution. Patricia Waters has visited the Special Collections library at Brock every week for more than 13 years to work on the archives for the Canadian Federation of University of Women, of which the St. Catharines chapter is the oldest in Canada. Linda attends Centre for the Arts performances, and Kate studies and acts as coxie for the men’s rowing team.
Congratulations to Brock’s Family Contest winners. We received 19 submissions, learned about more than 74 new relationships, and are bound to hear about more stories. Do you have a Brock family with more than three graduates? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!