Dominica Editor's Choice

Brenda Registe captures the Dean’s Distinguished Long Service Award at the University of Toronto

Brenda Registe captures the Dean’s Distinguished Long Service Award at the University of Toronto

In a ceremony held on June 7th 2022 at the University of Toronto’s New College, Brenda Registe of Dominica, received the Dean’s Distinguished Long Service Award. Pointedly, this award is presented to a non-academic staff member who, over the course of his or her years of service to the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto, has distinguished himself or herself in ways that are beyond the expectations of administrative peers, academic colleagues and students.

Brenda Registe

Notably, Registe was born and raised in Newtown (Harlem), in the Commonwealth of Dominica. She attended the St. Martin’s Primary School and went on to graduate from the Dominica Grammar School. Prior to emigrating to Canada in 1991, Registe worked as a civil servant in different capacities. In 1992, she was employed at the University of Toronto and has spent the past 30 years growing, developing, and excelling within the institution.

Moreover, Registe has worked for university advancement, beginning as a Help Desk Coordinator and Information Assistant as well as an Alumni Development Officer at New College for 20 years, since 2001. Her work, as numerous letters from former students, alumni and fellow staff have testified, displays the spirit of generosity, community and dedication that distinguish recipients of this award. For many, in the community of over 25,000 alumni, Registe IS New College. According to one of her peers, “I have worked closely with Brenda Registe through the terms of no fewer than 5 principals, and she has provided continuity and reliability throughout those many years. Indeed, to many in the alumni community, Brenda IS New College!”

Additionally, Registe has also steadfastly and consistently demonstrated 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. While working full-time, Registe also went to school as an undergraduate, completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Caribbean Studies and Women’s Studies with distinction at Woodsworth College in 2001. These areas of intellectual expertise allowed her to support these programs at New College with thought and care.

Furthermore, she was also in the very first cohort of students in what was then a new Master’s in Higher Education at OISE. She was attracted to how the coursework allowed her to build on the work she had been doing with the university on student experience, mentorship, fund-raising, and leadership. As a former student, and as a University of Toronto alumna, Registe’s work is distinguished by its focus on creating opportunities for alumni to share their work with current students. To add, Registe has coordinated the New College Mentorship Program for over 20 years since 2001. This program is recognized as one of the most vibrant on campus. Furthermore, she has supported approximately 1200 students, many of whom have returned as mentors in their own right.

Notably, at the time that Registe assumed leadership of the mentorship program, she noted that there were significant public discourses, linked to proposed changes in social assistance programs, which denigrated black women and their work. She understood and understands that the mentorship program is an act of resistance. It impacts students, including black students from around the world, by offering an opportunity for robust and thoughtful exchanges with a group of mentors who are diverse in the range of fields that they work in, and who fully reflect the student body, the city and the world.

It is noteworthy that she used the mentorship program to change understandings of what work is and to change the futures imagined and imaginable for all students, including and especially black students, as well as other students of colour. One of the alumni wrote, “Her work with the mentorship program is outstanding. She 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.”

Pointedly, Registe has received special recognition, most notably in 2008/2009 when she obtained the Excellence in Innovation Award for her work in inaugurating the Advancement Black History Luncheon. In December of 2021, Registe received another Excellence in Innovation Award, with others, for their work in transitioning the Advancement Black History Luncheon to a virtual format. Moreover, she rapidly, creatively and successfully transitioned alumni programming to an online format after March 2020.

In the last year, she has led a very significant increase in alumni development activities, exceeding the newly engaged alumni goal by approximately 253% in 2021. One person noted that Registe was always prepared with contingencies and workaround. When faced with setbacks, big or small, she would handle them with determination and a problem-solving mindset.

Evidently, for three decades Registe has displayed all of the key traits that this award recognizes: the spirit of generosity, community and dedication. Whether it is in representing New College in homecoming parades in earlier years, to anniversary celebrations, or creating new ways to connect with the alumni community, she is always there.

Given the aforegoing, Emonews extends a warm congratulations to Brenda Registe on this well-deserved recognition for her hardwork and dedication.

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