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Nominator Amber Skrabek, award recipients EITC caretaking team, David Barnard

Awards of Excellence Recipients

Celebration hosted by U of M President

June 14, 2016 — 

On June 9, nine individuals and five teams, which included just over 50 people, received Awards of Excellence from the University of Manitoba at the Awards of Excellence Reception hosted by President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard. They are awarded for their leadership, exceptional service, advancement of diversity and inclusion and collaborative teamwork.

“We celebrate the accomplishments of our outstanding support staff who make a difference and are wonderful to work with, “ said President Barnard.

He began the outdoor reception by setting the mood with the lines from a poem by Wisława Szymborska. The evening was enjoyed by all in attendance. Nominators introduced the award recipients, reflecting on the attributes that made them deserving of their awards.

Joan McConnell, an administrative assistant in the Faculty of Science, received the President’s Award. She said, “I am incredibly touched and humbled to receive the award. It’s an honour to be recognized for doing what I love. Plus, the people are wonderful and the place hums!” For 44 years, McConnell has contributed to the university and helped students succeed.

Debra Diubaldo, who’s an Indigenous academic advisor and counselor with the inner city social work department was awarded the newly-established Diversity and Inclusion Award.

“I’m a little shy to receive the award,” said Diubaldo, adding that she is thankful to work with many university colleagues, in addition to vibrant inner city groups such as Indigenous communities and newcomers to Canada. “Our saying is ‘the honour of one is the honour of all.’”

She continued, “I am thankful to U of M being more inclusive, opening its doors, hearts and minds to different ways of being.” She shared how her department includes elders, smudges, fire pit and overall décor that are welcoming to students.

Many speaking throughout the evening noted characteristics that made award recipients stand out, such as: positivity, enthusiasm, diligence, organization, caring, thoughtfulness and collaboration.

“We value the contributions of our colleagues and we want to engage and support them,” said Mark O’Riley, director, learning and organizational development, human resources.

“These awards are one way to thank staff for their exemplary leadership, service and help in building a strong sense of community at the U of M.”

The Awards of Excellence ties into the university’s strategic plan, Taking Our Place, with the emphasis on developing a “culture of leadership and teamwork among our staff” and “building a culture of inclusion.”


For a full list of award recipients, see the Awards of Excellence webpage.

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