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A tribute to UM Faculty of Science esteemed Alum: Tony Williams [BScHons/77]

November 20, 2023 — 

In the heart of Winnipeg, amidst the cold Canadian winters, a brilliant mind was born. Tony Williams, a man whose legacy would touch the lives of many, embarked on a journey of knowledge that began at the University of Manitoba. In 1977, he proudly earned his BSc (Honours) in actuarial mathematics, marking the genesis of a life devoted to learning, compassion and the pursuit of justice.

Tony Williams profile photo.

Tony Williams [BScHons/77]

Tony’s intellect and passion for science were evident from his university days. With his degree in hand, he ventured into the corporate world, eventually founding PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd. in 2008. His expertise transcended the boardrooms; Tony became an important partner with Indigenous communities across Canada. His actuarial acumen proved invaluable, shaping the futures of First Nation Settlement Trusts and vital funds. His commitment to social justice found a purpose, leaving an indelible mark on the lives he touched.

Retirement in 2016 didn’t mark the end of Tony’s contributions; instead, it ushered in a new chapter of philanthropy and volunteerism. As the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Verna J Kirkness Foundation, he tirelessly championed Indigenous education, opening doors for numerous students. His vision materialized in the Wawatay program at the University of Manitoba, bridging gaps and providing opportunities for Indigenous students in the field of science.

“Tony’s support and advice as Wawatay launched and developed helped the project flourish and gain interest by Indigenous students, especially those who participated in the Verna J Kirkness Program” – Carrie Selin [PhD], Wawatay Academic Program Lead.

Tony’s generosity was broad, breaking barriers that hindered Indigenous enrollment in higher education and paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Tony was not just an alum of the University of Manitoba; he was a pillar of support and inspiration. He served as a member of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Science External Advisory Council and the Wawatay Advisory Council, bringing his wisdom and passion to shape the future of education. His dedication extended beyond his time, as he generously gave to numerous awards benefiting Faculty of Science students. These awards, including the Graduate Science Research Scholarship for Indigenous Students, the Wawatay Project for Indigenous Achievement, the Lewis Bursary, the Faculty of Science Bursary Fund and the Faculty of Science Endowment Fund, transformed the lives of countless students, providing them with the means to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

“Tony was a champion for students in the Faculty of Science, opening pathways for their futures through his philanthropy and contributing valued advice to the faculty through his participation on our external advisor board” Brian Mark [PhD], Dean, Faculty of Science.

On June 27, 2023, at the age of 70, Tony Williams bid us farewell, but his legacy of unwavering dedication, compassion and inspiration will continue to shine brightly. The University of Manitoba mourns the loss of a remarkable soul. Tony’s story is not just one of academic and professional success; it is a tale of a life well-lived, a life that touched hearts, inspired minds and created a lasting impact on the world. As we remember him, we celebrate his achievements and the enduring legacy he leaves behind, a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

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