At just 35 years old, Jason Ribeiro (MEd ’15) has already become a leader in his field and in his community.
Ribeiro was recognized in absentia for his achievements and impact on the community as the 2023 Brock University Alumni Association (BUAA) Outstanding Young Alumni recipient during Brock’s Alumni Recognition Reception on Saturday, September 16.
After overcoming conflict throughout his early to young adult life, Ribeiro has an unwavering commitment to connecting Calgary’s diverse communities through sports and entertainment and strives to create a sense of belonging for those who need it most.
He has spent nearly a decade volunteering for several groups in Calgary advocating for sport and recreation in the community, including Sport Calgary, Global Shapers Calgary and Education Matters.
Last October, Ribeiro combined his passion for sports, youth coaching and community to help bring a professional basketball franchise to Calgary as president and vice-chairman of the Calgary Surge.
What started as text exchanges between friends about winning a team has now grown into a “beautiful mix of young people, professional basketball players, coaches and community members,” he says.
“My experiences at Brock taught me how to be a true member of a team and contribute to the betterment of the local community.”
The Calgary Surge emerged in 2018 as the Guelph Nighthawks, one of the six founding members of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). The league was founded with the goal of developing Canadian players, coaches, sports managers and referees. It currently has the highest proportion of Canadian players of any professional league in the country: 71 percent of its roster is Canadian.
Under Ribeiro’s leadership, the Calgary Surge strives to become an anchor institution that promotes the economic, social and cultural well-being of Calgary year-round and strives to strengthen local talent, businesses and causes as part of its game day experience and community to support commitment.
While he has worked hard to overcome his own challenges and create spaces of belonging for others, Ribeiro admits that his success did not occur in a vacuum.
“I think of all the stories of other people that intersect with mine and have made it possible for me to stand here today and receive this humbling honor,” Ribeiro says. “It’s less about my individual achievements and more about all the incredible people who have supported me along the way.”
Although he was not familiar with research or what the graduate experience would entail when he began his master’s degree at Brock, Ribeiro relied on the support and guidance of his research director, Camille Rutherford, associate professor in the Faculty of Education.
“I am very grateful that Camille was part of my earlier experience as a graduate student as I learned to flex my academic muscles,” says Ribeiro. “Brock not only has great researchers to learn from, but also incredible mentors and people to support you as you take these big leaps in life.”
After graduating from Brock in 2015 with a Master of Education, Riberio moved to Alberta to further his research at the University of Calgary, where he is currently pursuing his Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership, Policy and Governance.
Ribeiro has become an award-winning researcher and published author in the education field, often representing the views of everyday community members at boardroom tables and as a weekly radio and television writer for Global News.
“Jason has achieved tremendous success in his personal and professional life,” said BUAA President Chris Ventura. “As a young alumnus, it is inspiring to see what he has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time since graduating from Brock University.”
Nominations for the 2024 Alumni Awards will be accepted through Wednesday, January 31, on the Alumni Relations website.