Ben’s friendship was never more evident than when, as Mayor of Brockville, he pledged city financial support for the College (when it was going through one of its periodic financial crises) – even before he had obtained approval from city council. That approval was subsequently given, to the great relief of his wife. He graduated from the College in Business Administration after 30 years of taking one course each winter, while he worked and attended to his family responsibilities – am impressive dedication that may qualify him as the longest serving part-time student (especially one who pursues studies to a successful conclusion). Ben also taught part-time (courses in marketing and accounting) at the Brockville Campus in the 1990s. But his greatest gift to St. Lawrence, as noted by Dean Doug Roughton, in comments he made following Ben’s death, was that he “shared Cathy with us for over 30 years.”
One of Ben’s more memorable contacts with St. Lawrence College came during an election campaign, when someone had the bright idea of scheduling an all-candidates debate in the College pub, in competition with a pool tournament. As the beer flowed, the political apathy increased as did the volume of student chatter. Ben asked for silence, delivered a stern lecture about apathy in a democratic society, and then walked out.
Ben was a licensed judge/referee in rowing at the international level and officiated at two Olympics, many Pan Am games, and numerous Championships. This experience was doubtless excellent background for his years on Brockville city council since writings on local government always stress that municipal councillors need to focus on steering (setting policy) while leaving the rowing (carrying out policies) to staff.