Virginia Rock: A lifetime of caring for the disadvantaged

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By Neil Sinclair, Trustee, Estate of Virginia Rock 

A friend of mine for many years, Virginia Rock spent her life in passionate support of those disadvantaged and displaced members of our society.

A devotee of English and American literature, Virginia was born in Michigan but moved to Toronto to teach at York University in 1965. Known as an inspiring role model for young women in a male-dominated academic setting, Virginia founded the Women’s Studies program at York.

Virginia came across Interval House many years ago, while writing an article summarizing her studies of displaced people. What she loved most about Interval House was that they offer more than a “handout”. Instead, they work to help integrate women back into society who often have nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Known as a humanist and an endless “giver”, Virginia was always willing to help people in any way she could. In her later years, Virginia served as President of the Ulyssean Society, a group I also belong to, dedicated to lifelong learning. During her time as President of the Society, she always ensured Interval House got a yearly donation during the holiday season.

On November 17, 2015, Virginia passed away at the age of 92. It did not come as a surprise that Virginia had planned to continue her legacy of caring for the disadvantaged through a gift in her will to Interval House. Her generosity will continue to nurture families through programs and services that provide emotional support, practical help and life skills to break the cycle of violence.