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Community gathers to launch $500 million campaign

September 14, 2015 — 

On September 9, thousands of students returned to campus for the start of the winter term. Among them were first-year student Harley Bray; Warren Blunt, a PhD candidate in bio-systems engineering; and fourth-year Arts student Rebecca Kunzman. All three have been recognized for their scholastic and community achievements and all three have felt first-hand the impact of philanthropy through student awards.

“The University of Manitoba fosters inspiration, creativity and innovation. As we learn and discover, the spaces we work in and the tools we work with are shaping us, building our potential and preparing us for the future,” says Kunzman.

Student bursaries and graduate fellowships are just two areas of focus in the University’s Front and Centre campaign, the largest and most ambitious in its 138-year history. Its $500 million goal will signal the largest philanthropic investment ever in Manitoba, and is poised to change the trajectory of our province’s long-term economic, cultural and social vitality.

It’s an ambitious goal with a sweeping reach that covers five areas of focus: graduate student support, outstanding student experience, research excellence, places and spaces, and Indigenous achievement.

Whether settling in to study at Dafoe Library, or gearing up for a workout at the Active Living Centre, students are already feeling the impact of the campaign, which will have its public launch at the October 3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers game. While some major gifts will be announced on that day, the Alumni Association, with help from the broader alumni community, has already taken its place in supporting the campaign, donating a game-changing $2 million to graduate student support and the Active Living Centre earlier this year.

It is fitting then, that the campaign’s launch comes during Homecoming, a time when alumni from across the globe return to campus. One very special former student will be on hand to give an update on the campaign during a unique halftime celebration. Joining him on the field will be hundreds of community volunteers who will celebrate the spirit of this province in an entertaining program. Outside the stadium, members from the U of M student street team will be greeting game-goers handing out prizes to fans sporting their U of M colours. It will be a fun way to kick-off a campaign that is poised to make an enormous impact now, and for generations to come.

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