The rocks are engraved with the Memorial University logo and each of their names.
In a note to each one, Robert wrote ‘This rock represents the core that is recreation and has been split between the three of you. You have inspired me in so many ways and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from you.’
Robert says these three individuals were the ones who inspired him most to pursue a career in recreation. “They have all had an influence on my passion for recreation and everyday their lessons sparked inspiration in my current and future work in the recreation and leisure field. These three professors work interdependently to create the best teachings possible so that we are prepared to enter the recreation field.”
Presenting a rock as a gift is not unusual for Robert, however. His family owns Muir’s Marble Works. He wanted to acknowledge the three faculty and during a conversation with his dad they came up with the idea.
“My experience as a HKR student has been amazing. I have had so many experiences from co-op, to learning how to do program plans, to climbing cliffs in Flatrock along with so many more … The recreation program is so valuable at Memorial. I believe that my experience with the program is thanks to the inspiring professors that I have come in contact with throughout my university education.”
Dr. Loeffler says she was very touched by Robert's gift. “As an outdoor educator, I am quite fond of rocks and appreciate Robert's sentiment that we three faculty are the rock, the foundation, the core and the solidity of the recreation program. As a small program, all three of us have to work very hard to keep the program growing, current and relevant to both the students and the profession. We pride ourselves on our deep connections with the students in the program and I think Robert was expressing his gratitude for providing him with that.”
Dr. Sullivan agrees. “It is wonderful when students acknowledge you in some way because I think that all three of us approach teaching similarly in that we really do want to instill passion and enthusiasm in the field because we are all passionate about our interests … To be honest when I first opened the card and the gift I was truly speechless because I was just so surprised he would do something like that - it really speaks to his perception of the program and us as important players in that program.”
Dr. Loucks-Atkinson says it’s always good when a student goes out of their way to express their appreciation for her teaching and mentorship. “I feel blessed that I could influence a student in a positive way towards and within the field of recreation. Robert’s gift was extra-special because as it was a gift to us 3 recreation faculty. It made me feel proud about our recreation degree program and reminded me of far our program has come and grown.”
Robert has recently moved to Nova Scotia where he plans to apply to occupational therapy. He’s hoping his future will involve working with individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities.
His advice for students? “I think that it’s important for students to take advantage of what they are being taught. Sometimes the simple lessons may be the most important in your life and I feel as though the recreation programs professors strive to cover all the bases when sharing their knowledge of recreation.”