Ryerson University issued the following announcement on May 4.
From 1969 to 2014, Alfredo Da Silva worked at Ryerson in Facilities Management. From 2003 to 2016, his son, Eric Da Silva, pursued his bachelor, master’s, and doctoral degrees at Ryerson, and now works as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics. Between them, the Da Silva family has spent almost 50 straight years at Ryerson University—and on April 26, father and son took a walk together through the campus where they’ve spent so much of their lives.
“I worked hard, because I liked to pay Ryerson back what they paid me,” says Alfredo, now retired at age 69. He served as a caretaker, landscaper, and finally HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) mechanic, and remembers, “It was a good company. It’s not easy, especially today with outside contractors, to find a job for a worker like Ryerson: a permanent job, a secure job, and the money’s there every month.”
Along the way, he raised a family of three children—two of whom would eventually study at Ryerson, all of whom came to know the campus. “I grew up around here,” says Eric, Biomedical Physics ’16 (PhD), now 34. “I remember the campus when it was just a couple of buildings.”
Eric’s upbringing was much different than his father’s. Alfredo, a Portuguese immigrant, was shaped by a demanding adolescence on his father’s farm. “I really like Ryerson,” says Alfredo. “It never mattered how much work they gave me, because I was born under pressure to work in my background. When I came, you couldn’t feel my hands, covered in callouses.
“I came here to work as a caretaker, which I never did before. Never. I didn’t know that job existed until I came here. Where I came from, everyone did their own caretaking—there were no big buildings like here.”
In Canada, Alfredo’s goal was to make possible a different kind of upbringing for his kids. “Education, I have education. My neck… my bones… that’s my education. My intention was to leave Ryerson leaving one of my family here for education.”
Eric spent much of his studies on campus towards the tail-end of his father’s career. “He gave me the opportunity to get my education, and he was here for those years. I’m now doing something pretty unique where I’m going up to Sunnybrook and working on my residency training, trying to link the clinical to Ryerson. It’s a lot of work, it’s new, it’s challenging, and I do it because I have a lot of respect and loyalty for Ryerson.”
Looking back, Alfredo is proud of his work ethic. “I lost both of my kidneys,” he says. “And to tell you the truth, the years I lost my kidneys, I had not lost one day of work at Ryerson.”
“Not one, yeah,” says Eric. “Every day I was in undergrad, I would visit him in dialysis…”
Original source: https://www.ryerson.ca/news-events/news/2018/05/two-generations-on-campus/