Major $2.7M gift helps Brock boost co-op and experiential ed

Stephanie and Gerald Mitchell

Brock University press release – Brock University students will have increased opportunities to strengthen their education with career-building workplace experience, thanks to a generous family who touched many lives and helped shape stronger communities.

The $2.7-million gift was left to the University by Stephanie Mitchell in honour of her late husband Gerald Mitchell. Forced by economic hardship to drop out of high school and help support his family, Gerald then went on to become a highly successful global business leader. Gerald Mitchell died in 2016, and Stephanie passed away last December.

In announcing the donation, the University said it will use the funds to establish the Dr. Gerald B. Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education, which will help students discover and pursue their passions by providing grants, workshops and other resources, including work opportunities to allow them to gain experience in their chosen fields. The Centre’s mandate will also include creating greater access for underrepresented groups and deeper research for career and experiential education.

Gerald Mitchell had a renowned career that began in 1943 as a 16-year-old labourer in a St. Catharines car parts factory operated by Hayes-Dana. By age 36 he was the president of Hayes-Dana Canada, before moving to Ohio where he eventually became president and chief operating officer of the global giant Dana Corp., which has since become Dana Inc.

In 1982, Brock University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of his contributions as a community leader and builder.

This gift marks Stephanie’s second investment at Brock to honour her late husband. A previous gift also supported the programs in co-op, career and experiential education.

University President Gervan Fearon said the generosity speaks to clear vision, belief in the importance of education and a commitment to building communities by helping today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.

“Brock’s students are the direct beneficiaries of Stephanie’s remarkable generosity and philanthropy,” said Fearon. “Her gift will change the lives of students today and through the years to come, by ensuring an education that provides experiential real-world opportunities coupled with our world-class teaching and research.

“Brock is honoured and humbled to be home to the Dr. Gerald B. Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education, named for one of our region’s most successful business leaders whose personal story of perseverance and leadership is inspirational and motivating.”