Professor Emeritus Dr. Meir Serfaty, who served more than 45 years at Brandon University (BU), will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award later this month at the 2021 Spring Convocation.
“Meir is the epitome of a dedicated academic who has been an inspiration to generations of students as well as to his fellow faculty members,” said BU Vice-President (Academic & Provost) Dr. Steve Robinson. “It has been an honour to work with him, to learn from him, to receive his thoughtful advice and counsel, and it is now also an honour to recognize him with this much deserved award.”
Dr. Robinson will present the award by video during this year’s virtual Convocation ceremony, set for Thursday, May 27.
“A series of fateful circumstances and personal choices brought me to BU nearly five decades ago, and I’ve never looked back with anything but joy,” Dr. Serfaty said. “I was very fortunate to find a place of employment whose values in general and in the education area in particular were so compatible with my own, and that encouraged me to grow and develop as a teacher and as a community participant.”
Dr. Serfaty first joined BU in 1973, in the Department of Political Science. Alongside his teaching, where he guided and influenced countless thousands of students over the decades, Dr. Serfaty contributed his experienced in many ways to the administrative functions of the university. He served six years as Vice-President (Academic & Research) as well as another stint as Acting Vice-President (Academic & Provost). He has also been Acting Dean of Arts, Director of International Activities, and President of the BU Faculty Association, along with many other governance roles as chair or executive member at BU.
“I am very grateful to the colleagues responsible at various stages of the process for bestowing this honour on me,” he said.
“I will always remember with affection and respect the many students who taught me at least as much as I taught them throughout my career.”
In 1980, Serfaty was elected honorary president of the graduating Class of 1980, and from 1996–2006 he appeared every year as one of BU’s most popular professors, as compiled by Maclean’s magazine.
Outside of BU, Dr. Serfaty’s presence has also been deeply felt. As a popular political commentator and consultant, appearing as a regular in media to discuss election campaigns and results. He has also contributed generously his knowledge and expertise to the City of Brandon, the Manitoba Municipal Board, and multicultural initiatives.
After retiring from teaching in 2017, he stayed in an administrative role for two more years. A packed house of former students and colleagues turned out to fête him at a retirement reception held at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
“Brandon University’s legacy as a community institution is built in no small part on the efforts and devotion of people like Meir,” said BU President Dr. David Docherty. “Meir represents the ideal of a committed and engaged academic, who has been an inspiring presence both inside and out of the classroom.”
In his nomination, fellow department members wrote that Dr. Serfaty is a renaissance man who brought “indefatigable energy and zeal” to his students as well as being a dedicated mentor to other faculty members.
“Meir always strove to build community and advance the interests of the university as a whole,” wrote Dr. Kelly Saunders and Dr. Rick Baker. “He stayed focused on bringing people together, on achieving genuine understanding and compromise and encouraging respect for different perspectives….
“There is truly no one more deserving of this award than Dr. Meir Serfaty.”
Brandon University’s Lifetime Achievement Award is approved annually by the BU Senate. The award recognizes people who have made significant contributions in service and achievement generally throughout their lives and in particular to Brandon University.