UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, left to right, Bruce Miller [BRS/1999], David Matas [BA/1964], cott Cairns [BSc(Maj)/2001], Chau Pham [BSc/2000, MD/2005, MBA/2013] and John Bockstael [BSc(CE)/1980].

Alumni shine at Celebration of Excellence

May 11, 2015 — 

Joyful song launched the evening of performances and presentations as the choir Horizon came singing into the auditorium. The celebratory, largely a capella performance set the tone for what followed: The night was an exciting mix of presentations and performances — and the energy was palpable.

Over 350 people gathered at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on May 1 to celebrate and honour five remarkable individuals who, armed with ambition, moral courage and a University of Manitoba education, have changed — and continue to transform — the world and our communities.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration of Excellence on the evening of May 1 marks the first time the University of Manitoba has honoured five alumni in this unique way. The awards were expanded this year to five.

The event was a celebration of alumni achievements, from the design of the award (by jeweller and alumna Hilary Druxman), to the entertainment. The night featured JUNO nominated acts alumna Erin Propp [BJazz/11] in collaboration with professor Larry Roy [MMus/10] and Faculty of Law alumna Desiree Dorion [LLB/08], along with soprano Andriana Chuchman [B.Mus.(Perf.)/04], who recently performed at The MET in New York. She was accompanied on the piano by dean of the Desautels Faculty of Music, Edmund Dawe.

Other performances were by alumni, faculty and students, and included Horizon’s artistic co-directors Leanne Cooper-Carrier [B.Ed./10] and Scott Reimer [B.Ed./10] and the Mint quartet, featuring U of M alumni.

This year’s new additional awards recognize University of Manitoba graduates who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their professional and personal lives, and who have been inspirations to fellow alumni, current students and the community. Honorees included a former refugee, a chemical weapons inspector, a Manitoba industry leader, an Indigenous community leader and a human rights scholar and advocate.

“It is always a pleasure to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni when they achieve such a standard of excellence,” said David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor at the U of M. “I am confident that in the future, since they possess such remarkable talents, we will again find ourselves celebrating their contributions and successes.”

“We’re celebrating tonight because there is simply no part of our daily lives in Manitoba, in Canada and in the communities where we live, learn and work around the world, that hasn’t benefited in some way from University of Manitoba alumni,” added John Kearsey, Vice-President (external).

“And the energy here is something that I have never experienced before. It’s inspiring.”


Kearsey: ‘The energy here is something that I have never experienced before. It’s inspiring.’


“Our alumni community is brimming with exceptional, accomplished individuals, which is why we decided to expand the awards to celebrate alumni achievements in five categories,” said Heather Reichert, president of the Alumni Association of the U of M.

“We are extremely proud to honour these deserving recipients and celebrate their achievements at this inaugural event.”


The Event

Award winners

A brief history of the award

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341