UPEI pauses to remember generous community builder
'You never expect it to be the custodian'
The founder of the University of Prince Edward Island's exam-time chili lunches, who died in July, will have the kitchen where he created these events named in his honour.
Rocky Paquet died July 2 of a heart condition at the age of 60. A memorial was held for Paquet on campus Wednesday.
While best known for his chili lunches, Paquet was not a chef. He was a custodian. He worked for 26 years at the university, most recently in the music department.
But for many students he was just a friend.
"He was one of the first people I met when I came to the university. I showed up and ran into him and he was like, 'Hi, my name's Rocky. Who are you? I haven't seen you around here before.' Friendship sparked from there," said music student Chris Perry.
Perry said he expected to make some special connections when he went to university, but his friendship with Paquet came as a surprise.
"You never expect it to be the custodian. Rocky just had that connection with so many people here."
'A community builder'
Paquet launched exam-time chili lunches 15 years ago because he recognized students needed a break during a high-stress time. The lunches were offered for free, and became so popular Paquet took vacation days in order to have the time to prepare them.
"Rocky was pivotal in making this place a comfortable place to be because of food. The chili lunches that happened at exam time. The pancakes that happened both for orientation times as well as Mardi Gras in February, hot dog lunches at different times," said Sister Sue Kidd, the university's chaplain, who hosted the lunches in the chaplaincy centre.
"He knew food as a community builder and he was very generous. He would spend money on pizzas and then he would come in and ask me for 50 cents because he was short for the bus."
Paquet was also involved in the renovation of the chaplaincy centre kitchen, which was just completed over the summer. Kidd said the kitchen will be dedicated in his name in memory of his generosity.
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Government needs to 'step back' from tax changes, says Easter
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Man charged with attempted murder in Charlottetown stabbing incident