Congratulations to Brenda Registe
New College is delighted to announce that Brenda Registe is the recipient of the 2022 Dean’s Distinguished Long Service Award. Her work, as numerous letters from former students, alumni and fellow staff testify, displays the spirit of generosity, community and dedication that distinguish recipients of this award.
Brenda has worked for University Advancement for 30 years, since 1992, beginning as a Help Desk Coordinator and Information Assistant, and now, the Alumni Development Officer at New College. While working full-time, Brenda also went to school full-time as an undergraduate, completing her BA at Woodsworth College with distinction in 2001, in Caribbean Studies and Women’s Studies. These areas of intellectual expertise allowed her to support these programs at New College with thought and care. Brenda was also in the very first cohort of students in what was then a new Master’s in Higher Education, with a focus on leadership, at OISE.
Brenda’s work is distinguished by its focus on creating opportunities for alumni to share their work with each other but especially and always with current students. Brenda has coordinated the New College Mentorship Program since 2001 and has supported a total of approximately 1200 (!) students in a program recognized as one of the most vibrant on campus. Many students are now returning to the program as mentors and 80% of our current mentors were previously mentees themselves. It is also clear many mentors see Brenda herself as a mentor:
“[Brenda] takes great care in creating the relationships that she puts together between mentors and mentees by getting to really know every individual. Nothing is “too much” for Brenda if it means helping our community.
At the time that Brenda assumed leadership of the mentorship program, she noted that there were significant public discourses linked to proposed changes in social assistance programs under the then, Mike Harris government, changes she felt denigrated Black women, their worth and contribution. Brenda embraced her role with the mentorship program as an opportunity to dismantle some of the negative stereotypes projected about Black women (her own subtle acts of resistance.) This has been a win all around, impacting the lives of alumni and students, by offering an opportunity for robust and thoughtful exchanges with a group of mentors who are diverse in the range of fields they work in, and who fully reflect our student body, city and world. She also steadfastly and consistently demonstrates what it means to fully integrate anti-racist work into all aspects of the university, including mentorship programs, alumni lecture series, and all other aspects of alumni development work.
Brenda has received special recognition numerous times for her work inaugurating the Advancement Black History Luncheon. In 2001 she, spearheaded by Glen Booth (special projects, DUA) began this event with a few others, funding it from their own pockets, with Brenda’s mom recruited among the cooks for the event. The following year there were so many attendees that there wasn’t enough food. Brenda’s punch recipe became famous! The university slowly began to offer small amounts of financial support in subsequent years. By 2020, the event was so large and successful, only the Great Hall at Hart House could accommodate the event. In December of 2021, Brenda received another Excellence in Innovation Award, with others, for work in transitioning the Advancement Black History Luncheon to a virtual format.
Brenda always approaches her work with boundless energy, competence, diplomacy, tirelessness, professionalism, and compassion. Comments from those who wrote on her behalf underline the ways in which, for many of our 25,000+ alumni, Brenda is New College.
“Whether representing New College in our homecoming parades in earlier years, to our anniversary celebration team, or creating new ways for us to connect with our alumni, she is always there.”
Brenda: she is always there.
Brenda: a warm congratulations on this well-deserved recognition for your work.