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Engineering alumni inducted into the Tigers Hall of Fame

Posted by Theresa Anne Salah on June 3, 2024 in News
The Dalhousie Tigers celebrating with the most recent class of inductees into their Hall of Fame.
The Dalhousie Tigers celebrating with the most recent class of inductees into their Hall of Fame.

The Dalhousie Tigers celebrated the most recent class of inductees to its Hall of Fame. Among this year’s group, were two alumni from the Faculty of Engineering.

The Dalhousie Sports Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and teams who have achieved excellence while representing Dalhousie University in athletic competition.

Vivek Tomar (BEng'97) and Bryan Bursey (BEng'01) were members of the 1996 Dalhousie Tigers Baseball team. In the team’s sophomore year, they won the first, and only national title for the Dal Tigers baseball team. For Vivek the achievement was one of the highlights of his academic career.

The glory days

Looking back on his days as a student, he reminisced about his time on the baseball team while also having to balance his studies in civil engineering. As the assistant coach for the baseball team, the experience offered more than just the opportunity to indulge in one his favourite sports.

“I had a passion for baseball when I was younger and I am an old time Montreal Expos fan,” he recalls. “It was even to the point where I would manually enter the statistics of my favorite teams into the Earl Weaver baseball game so I could play with them and simulate an all Canadian matchup of Expos vs. Blue Jays. So being involved with the baseball team at the university level was a highlight for me.”

The experienced motivated Vivek to test the limits of his abilities. From game time logistics and preparations, to score keeping, to ensuring coaches and students arrived safely at their games, Vivek says his involvement on the team pushed him to try new experiences.

“One time, we had access to the Public Address system at the Wanders Grounds and I took the opportunity to do announcements for a game while score keeping, something I had never done before,” he says, “I also co-wrote many of the articles chronicling the success of the team in the Dalhousie Gazette. This helped to improve my writing skills which has been a key benefit to my career as I have had to use this skill to author many engineering technical reports.”

However, it was the camaraderie that came with being part of the Tigers baseball team that Vivek cherished most. Only one of a few to own a vehicle at the time, he fondly remembers students and coaches piling into the back of his vehicle to travel to their games.

“I did not have an opportunity to interact with many of the players as I was at the Engineering Faculty on Sexton Campus,” he remembers, adding that most of his teammates where pursing their degree on Dalhousie’s Studley campus. ”The longer drives to Kentville offered time for all of us to get to know each other better and talk strategy prior to the games, which I really enjoyed. Even at the National Championships in St. Catherines I was the designated driver, shuttling everyone around and doing the Airport pickups.”

1996 championship

Despite being in their sophomore year, the 1996 Dalhousie Tigers baseball team featured a strong foundation of returning players from the year before. Combined with new talent, the team now had greater pitching depth, reliable team defence and a solid offensive lineup. A well-rounded squad, the Tigers ended their 1996 regular season at the top of their division, moving on to clinch the Atlantic pennant and earning a spot in the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association (CIBA) Championship where they placed first.

However, it was at the National Championships in St. Catherines, Ontario where the team made Tiger history.

The Tigers opened the tournament with a 4-3 victory over the Laval Rouge et Or. A commanding 11-0 win against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on day two solidified their spot in the playoffs. With a 2-1 record, they secured a place in the championship game against the Brock Badgers, the only team to defeat them that weekend.

Capitalizing on their powerful offence and reliable pitching, the Tigers triumphed over the host Brock Badgers with an 8-3 win, securing the national title.

“Since we were a team representing Atlantic Canada, we were not expected to make much “noise” at the Championships. Our opening day win against the defending champions Laval Rouge et Or made the other teams take notice,” says Vivek. “The game we lost to the Brock Badgers was a great motivator for the team to come back the next game and put everything on the line to get the win! We celebrated the win, but 28 years later no one recognized the significance of the moment as it is the first and only national title for the club. Our success that weekend is a demonstration of the team’s enthusiasm and support of each other.”

Dalhousie Engineering Champion

Nearly thirty years later, Vivek is the Director of Strategic Proposals and Pursuits at Pomerleau, one of Canada’s leading construction companies. He is also still actively engaged with the Faculty of Engineering.

Last December, the company donated $50,000 to support the Faculty of Engineering’s new Inclusive Pathways to Engineering Careers Program (Pathways Program). The program aims to remove barriers and increase access to an engineering education for individuals from equity-deserving communities.

As a dedicated supporter of Dalhousie Engineering, Vivek now serves on an advisory committee established to help launch the Indigenous stream of the Pathways Program.

The Advisory Council offers diverse expertise and guidance on all aspects of the program's development. As one of the founding investment partners from Pomerleau, Vivek is committed to building stronger communities by investing in the skills and talents of a diverse engineering profession.

“Being a member of the council gives me an opportunity stayed involved with Faculty of Engineering and more importantly find ways to make the engineering profession more inclusive.” says Vivek who looks forward to his continued involvement with Dalhousie.