BRANDON – Graduates of Brandon University (BU) and Brandon College will be in the spotlight at the BU Homecoming Dinner and Awards on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Harvest Hall.
Gerald Brown and Nathan Peto will be recognized with Alumni Awards at the annual celebration. Brown, who graduated from the Teacher Training Certificate (TTC) program in 1956, and with a Bachelor of Arts in 1963, will receive the Brandon University Alumni Award for Exceptional Service. Peto, who earned a B.A. with honours in 2008, will be this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
“In addition to an alumni event, Homecoming is open to all and is a fantastic opportunity to connect with the community,” said Carla Eisler, Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs at BU. “As we celebrate our 50th year as a university, we’re delighted to recognize Nathan and Gerald, who represent two different eras in BU history, and have maintained strong ties with the university and community through their distinguished careers and volunteer activities.”
Following his graduation from the TTC program at Brandon College, Brown began a notable career as an educator, teaching in Ninga and later Shilo. In 1965, he joined the Winnipeg School Division as its School Librarian Program Organizer, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. In recognition of the first Dean of Education at Brandon College, Brown garnered support and established the Dr. Wilfred McCutcheon Scholarship in Education, which has provided more than $81,000 in student awards since its inception in 1998. He also helped to raise funds for the development of the McCutcheon Alcove, a popular study spot for students, in the Education Building.
“Brandon College helped me learn how to navigate the challenges ahead,” Brown said. “I believe that is what the faculty are doing for young people for Southwest Manitoba, and also around the world. Brandon University is a wonderful gem on the prairies. It has the staff to help students reach for new dreams.”
Peto became one of the youngest city managers in Western Canada in 2017 when he was named the City Manager of Portage la Prairie, providing leadership for a team of 150 municipal employees. Throughout his career in administration he has spearheaded efforts on Indigenous inclusion and supported community mobilization efforts and municipal partnerships. Peto served on the Brandon University Students’ Union for four years, rising to the role of President in 2007-08. He was active on the Brandon University Foundation for 10 years following his graduation, participating in several major fundraising campaigns and serving as President of the Foundation.
“My time at Brandon University had a profound impact on the course of my life,” Peto said. “The friendships made, learning opportunities provided, and overall experience created an outstanding foundation from which to build my career.”
The Dinner and Awards are a crowning event of Homecoming for many attendees as they reminisce with their classmates and other alumni, ending the evening by gathering for class cheers. Classes celebrating milestone anniversaries of their graduation years are also recognized at the event. Members of the class of 1968 are marking 50 years since they became the first BU graduates, following the institution’s chartering as a university in 1967.
“There is tremendous excitement around this Homecoming as we reach the culmination of our BU50 celebrations, which have taken place over the last year,” Eisler said.
“This year we are making an extra effort to throw our doors open and welcome everyone with events the whole family can enjoy.”
Homecoming runs from October 11 to 14. Special events planned for this year include Friday’s appearance by keynote speaker Chris Hadfield. Saturday’s schedule will begin with Family Fun Day activities and be capped by Fifty Fest, a free concert headlined by Royal Canoe and Begonia. Saturday’s schedule also includes New Beginnings, a conference open to the public that will share BU research with the community. Food trucks will be on campus on Friday and Saturday, while the BU observatory will host public viewings each evening from Thursday through Sunday. Returning favourites include the Pro Series Homecoming Concert, Bobcat games and the Sports Wall of Fame Brunch.