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Dr. Peter Nickerson, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, speaks at a podium in front of balloons at the Bannatyne campus.

Dr. Peter Nickerson, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

Alumni travel through time at Rady Homecoming events

September 29, 2023 — 

Alumni from the past six decades and from each of the Rady colleges descended on Brodie Centre atrium to celebrate the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Homecoming Breakfast on Sept. 23 and reconnect with one another and their alma mater.

“We have nearly 200 University of Manitoba alumni here today. What an impressive turnout! It’s wonderful to see alumni from across North America coming together and representing the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, Max Rady College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CoRS),” said Dr. Peter Nickerson, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Among those in attendance were classmates celebrating milestone 55th, 50th, 40th, 25th and 10th reunions from across the health professions. They heard from dentistry student Winnica Beltrano, Class of 1973 nursing alumna Carolyn Hill-Carroll, Class of 1973 pharmacy alumna Lesley Buhr and Class of 1983 CoRS alumna Dr. Barb Shay.

At the event, Nickerson noted several developments underway at the Rady Faculty, including expansions to the number of students in the MD, respiratory therapy and nursing programs. He also acknowledged the graduation of the first doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) class, and plans for a new multipurpose building being constructed on Bannatyne campus starting this fall.

The new building will feature seven new dental clinics at which dentistry and dental hygiene students will deliver supervised care to the community. The plans include creating over 80 state-of-the-art dental operatories.

Following the breakfast, guests toured around Bannatyne campus learning about Indigenous medicines at Ongomiizwin’s Medicine Garden, Mashkiki Gitigaan, and visiting the George Yee Laboratory for Anatomical Sciences at the Max Rady College of Medicine.

“Thank you for a lovely Dean’s Breakfast and an enjoyable reunion for our class. We would like to not go another five years before meeting again,” noted Class of 1983 medicine alumna Helga Sickert.

College of Rehabilitation Sciences alumni got to see inside the college’s “smart suite” at Health Sciences Centre, a model apartment equipped with user-friendly assistive technology used to assess ergonomics and support independent living.

“Coming back here, I felt like I was in a time machine,” said physical therapy Class of 1973 alumna Janice Edwards. “It’s been very eye-opening. The technology, the robotics and distance learning, it was all very impressive.”

The event was the centerpiece of a week of Rady homecoming celebrations.

Pharmacy alumni reception

On the afternoon of Sept. 22, the College of Pharmacy held an Alumni Reception at Apotex Centre.

“Please join me in welcoming alumni from the classes of 1973, 1983 and 2013 as they celebrate their 50th, 40th and 10th milestone reunions,” said dean of the College of Pharmacy Dr. Lalitha Raman-Wilms before the crowd of more than 30 alumni broke out into applause.

As well as Raman-Wilms, Tracy Bowman, executive director of UM Alumni Relations, gave welcoming remarks. Madison Wong, a PharmD student and past president of the UM Pharmacy Student’s Association, and Jaden Brandt, a member of the pharmacy Class of 2013, also addressed the audience.

Following the reception, the alumni went on tours of Apotex Centre.

“The venues, to say the least, were idyllic and made the Pharmacy Class of 1973 both envious, and so proud of all the changes that have come to pass and those yet to transpire,” said pharmacy Class of 1973 alumna Lesley Buhr following the tour of Apotex.   

College of Nursing celebrates 80 years

Nearly 90 people attended a homecoming brunch honouring the College of Nursing’s 80-year anniversary at Marshall McLuhan Hall on Sept. 24.

“Over 80 years, the College of Nursing has had the privilege of concurring more than 10,500 nurses and nurse leaders who have inspired us with invaluable contributions to health care in Manitoba and around the world,” said Dr. Netha Dyck, dean of the College of Nursing.

Following the brunch, guests toured the college’s facilities at Fort Garry campus, including the state-of-the-art simulation and virtual reality labs.

“Nursing didn’t have its own building back in our day,” said Class of 1973 alumna Betty Lou Rock. “We didn’t have all the incredible facilities and wonderful classes that you have today that we are super impressed with.”

Rock, who retired in 2019 after spending her career working in critical care, spoke at the event, as she celebrated her class’s 50-year anniversary.

“Fifty years is a long time, but we’ve been having lots of fun getting reacquainted. We’re all retired now, but I look around here and I think we can all be proud of the contributions that we made to health care in Manitoba and in other provinces,” she said.

Speaker Ari Al Khafagi, senior stick of the Nursing Students’ Association, said she was drawn to nursing by the challenges of the COVID pandemic and was impressed with how her professors and classmates worked through that time.

“I’m proud to be part of this resilient community that perseveres through challenges and emerges stronger,” she said.

Dentistry alumni awards

The annual Alumni of Distinction Awards Evening took place Sept. 22 at the Fort Garry Hotel. Dr. Gerald Niznick, a member of the Class of 1966 and the namesake benefactor of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, and his wife, Reesa, were guests at the event.

Dr. Aaron Kim, a 1987 dentistry alumnus and professor of restorative dentistry at UM’s dental school, received the Alumni of Distinction Award from the UM Dental Alumni Association.

Kim joined the full-time faculty in 2011 and is the former associate dean (clinics) at the college. Since 2002, Kim has organized humanitarian dental missions and led the establishment of dental clinics in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Guatemala.

“I would like to dedicate this award to my family, my teachers and friends,” Kim said. “I have been blessed with so many good people in my life. I can not pay back all the love and blessings you have given me, but I can only pay it forward.”

Kellie Watson, a 1995 School of Dental Hygiene alumna, received the Alumni of Distinction Award from the UM School of Dental Hygiene Alumni Association.

Watson was the inaugural registrar and executive director of the College of Dental Hygienists of Manitoba, and was a member of the teaching faculty at the School of Dental Hygiene. She has worked as registrar and CEO of the Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists Association and was the assistant dean of the dental assisting program at the University of Saskatchewan.

“I was really so fortunate to receive my education from this institution,” Watson said. “It certainly provided me with a strong foundation in dental hygiene theory and practice, but more importantly, I received the guidance and mentorship from so many exceptional faculty that inspired me to do more and to be more.”

The event also paid tribute to the dentistry classes of 1971 and 1973.

Watch a social media video recapping the events.

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