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The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients: L-R, Sr. Lesley Sacouman [BA/75], Isabella Wiebe [BMR(OT)/86], Patricia Patkau, CM [BID/73], John Patkau, CM [BA/69, BES/69, MArch/72], Reva Stone [BA/68, BFA(Hons)/85] and Desiree Scott [BA/16]. // Photo by Ian McCausland

2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration of Excellence sends enthralled audience into ‘La La Land’

May 2, 2017 — 

From inspiring stories of helping those in need to well-deserved accolades for innovators and mentors who improve our lives, the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration of Excellence highlighted amazing graduates who have taken their places as leaders in our community and around the world.

Watch the highlights of the evening in the video below. Photo booth images and a photo gallery can be viewed and downloaded from the U of M Alumni Facebook page.

Regarding the evening, President Dr. David Barnard noted: “Tonight, we have shared the stories of people whose lives have been absorbed with contributing to the lives of others. We share them, because they are powerful. They are stories worthy of celebration in Canada’s 150th year, and they are a source of inspiration as we extend the University’s work beyond our 140th.”

Dr. Barnard continued: “These stories beg us to consider who we are, why we’re here and where we’re going. And they remind us that through community engagement, research and outstanding teaching, through scholarly work and creative contributions – the University of Manitoba is shaping the lives of individuals and the future of this province and nation.”

The sold-out crowd of almost 300 at the Metropolitan Theatre in downtown Winnipeg were treated to an incredible evening of music, dance, and visual delights. The audience was witness to the recognition of six outstanding individuals who strive to give back to their community and enhance the lives of others.

To begin the evening’s presentations, following the entrance of Their Honours, The Honourable Janice Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, and The Honourable Gary Filmon, former Premier of Manitoba, the event began with a spectacular performance by students and alumni from the Marcel Desautels Faculty of Music evoking the opening number of the Oscar-winning film La La Land. This Broadway-style opening number set the pace for the celebration to follow.

John Kearsey, Vice-President (External), gave opening remarks, noting: “It’s an incredible time at the University of Manitoba. Sometimes I feel like we’re in ‘La La Land’ in the best of ways. We’re celebrating our 140th anniversary at the same time that Canada marks its 150th.”

He continued: “We’re in the midst of the largest fundraising campaign in Manitoba’s history and we are grateful for the wonderful support we’ve received from around the world! When we launched the Front and Centre campaign we knew our community could make it happen and we thank you for helping to create a transformative change for our students, researchers, faculty and staff.”

The recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards are remarkable people who show us what it is like to reach for the stars and inspire us all through their self-sacrifice and determination to become the best they can be. They are alumni who display the best characteristics and traits of all who have graduated from the University of Manitoba.

The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are:

Isabella Wiebe [BMR(OT)/86] Presented by His Worship Brian Bowman [BA(Adv)/96], Mayor of the City of Winnipeg

Reva Stone [BA/68, BFA(Hons)/85] Presented by Robert Houle [BA/72, DLitt/14]

Sr. Lesley Sacouman [BA/75] Presented by The Honourable Janice Filmon CM, OM [BScHEc/63, LLD/11], Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

John Patkau, CM [BA/69, BES/69, MArch/72] and Patricia Patkau, CM [BID/73] Presented by Harvey Secter [BComm/67, LLB/92], Chancellor, University of Manitoba

Desiree Scott [BA/16] Presented by Wilfred Sam-King Jr., Vice-President (External), University of Manitoba Students’ Union

The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration of Excellence recognized an impressive array of alumni achievements from the design of the award (by jeweller and alumna Hilary Druxman [BA/85]) to the outstanding entertainment. The night featured inspiring performances by students, alumni and faculty of the Desautels Faculty of Music and the Rady Sings Faculty of Medicine Choir.


Isabella Wiebe, Service to the University of Manitoba

Reva Stone, Professional Achievement

Sister Lesley Sacouman, Community Service

Patricia and John Patkau, Lifetime Achievement

Desiree Scott, Outstanding Young Alumni

Following the award presentation to Ms. Scott, the evening concluded with an uplifting performance of The World’s Greatest by R. Kelly, with singers on stage and throughout the theatre, combining with a choir comprised of 30 students, alumni and faculty, culminating in a grand finale. Confetti cannons signalled the conclusion of the celebratory evening, leaving the audience anticipating next year’s awards event as they enjoyed the reception that followed.



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