Stephen Strople   2009 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Not everyone fully understands the role of the University Secretary.  The scope of Stephen Strople’s role as UNB’s University Secretary is broad and the appreciation for the work he does by those who work with him is deep.  As University Secretary, Stephen provides yeoman’s service to the Board of Governors, the Senates, the various Board and Senate Committees, the University Management Committee and a host of other important university governance bodies.  These multi-faceted duties require him to ensure that our top decision makers have the best information possible and that their decisions are informed by the University Act, all regulations, and past decisions.  He is also responsible for the various aspects of student discipline and a host of related legal and quasi-legal functions.  

But these are only the formal parts of his job.  As so many members of the UNB family know, Steve's informal roles as advisor, confidante and trusted mediator gives him an importance that easily transcends his formal “chief public servant” role.  His always-open door means he offers advice to many.  He is widely trusted by all, many of whom occasionally view themselves as in opposition to each other.  It is for this informal role that Stephen will be long remembered and valued.  

Words used to describe the personal attributes Stephen brings to this job invariably include “tireless” and “trusted.”  His dedication to serving, his availability in providing counsel, and the experience, tact, and consideration he brings to the role all speak to why Stephen is deserving of special recognition and appreciation at UNB.  Steve goes above and beyond in everything he undertakes and always for the common good, never for personal credit.

Throughout his career at UNB, and in multiple capacities, Steve has enjoyed a reputation for sound judgment, diplomacy, personal courage, and defense of the fundamental interests and values of UNB and its wider community - a reputation that is very well deserved.  For many years he has been the trusted advisor of UNB presidents - and Board Chairs - on a great range of matters, including sensitive personnel issues, collective bargaining, Senate and Board politics, and the full array of student concerns.  In times of labour negotiations, both parties have valued his good sense and discretion, and often consulted him on an array of sensitive matters.  

In the many facets of his roles as University Secretary and Commissioner for Student Discipline, Stephen Strople acts as wise advisor to student leaders such as the Student Union executive who seek his advice on how to navigate or change the system, or he ensures a fair adjudication for students who are in conflict with University regulations on conduct.  With authority and compassion, Stephen finds a clear path through even the most complicated of cases, and, bearing in mind the interests of both the institution and the rights of individuals, he manages to find the right balance for each situation.  He is adept at proactive work, but is equally gifted in dealing calmly and clearly with immediate difficulties that present themselves.

His mandate would presume an institutional memory, but Stephen Strople takes this to a higher level.  Stephen Strople’s institutional memory is not just a factor of his many years of direct service to the university in his current role, it also is a consequence of his ability and his desire to research and understand the university’s rich history.  These skills of intellect and energy have given the university a great service.  Stephen Strople has a gift for writing.  More importantly, though, he can distill many pages, many years, and many experiences into cohesive and informative nuggets.  These nuggets become the crucial information that helps guide vital decisions taken by the university. 

He uses his gifts for everyone from a student in need to the President and Vice-Chancellor.  In all of his doings, he exemplifies Distinguished Service, which he provides with energy, commitment, and distinction for all members of the university community. 

Jane Fritz with input from Jon Thompson, Greg Kealey, Anne Forrestall, and Wilfred Langmaid