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David Asper and David Milgaard will both receive honorary degrees at UM 141st spring convocation

David Asper (left) and David Milgaard (right) will be receiving honorary degrees at the 141st UM Spring Convocation

David Asper and David Milgaard to receive honorary degrees at 141st spring convocation

On 50th anniversary of landmark wrongful conviction case, UM will bestow honorary degrees on noted wrongfully convicted man and lawyer who fought to free him

January 31, 2020 — 

Each year, the University of Manitoba bestows honorary degrees upon individuals who have achieved acclaim for their advancement of culture, communications, education, administration, scholarship, leadership, philanthropy, mentorship, or business.

During the 141st annual Spring Convocation of the University of Manitoba on June 5, 2020, honorary degrees will be awarded to two remarkable people whose life stories have intertwined. This year marks the 50th anniversary of David Milgaard’s wrongful incarceration, released only after years of dedicated work by a team of lawyers including key presentations by David Asper. Both David Asper and David Milgaard will be awarded honorary degrees during the same session, and are among the exceptional individuals receiving honorary degrees this Spring across all sessions of convocation. The full slate of recipients will be announced within the coming weeks.

David A. Asper, Q.C. (BA/80)
Doctor of Laws
June 5, 2020, 9:30 am

David Asper is an outstanding UM alumnus whose legal work, business activities, and philanthropy have improved immeasurably the lives of Manitobans and Canadians. As a criminal defence lawyer and litigator, his work was crucial in the effort to free wrongfully convicted David Milgaard. In business, he was chair of the National Post and senior executive at Canwest Global Communications. Recently, he retired as chair of the Asper Foundation. To date, he is the largest private-sector investor in the Manitoba Technology Accelerator Program, supporting emerging life-science ventures. A passionate supporter of Canadian football, Mr. Asper is former vice-chair of the Canadian Football League and chair of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, spearheading what is now IG Field at the University of Manitoba, that also brought a $20-million fitness centre to UM for athletes, students, staff, and the surrounding community. He is currently chair of the Manitoba Police Commission.

David Milgaard
Doctor of Laws
June 5, 2020, 9:30 am

David Milgaard was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of nursing student Gail Miller, serving 23 years in prison for the crime he did not commit. Throughout his trial and prison sentence he struggled against the very system that was designed to advance justice; instead it perpetrated injustice against him in one of Canada ‘s most notorious wrongful convictions. He remained in prison until lawyer David Asper, legal teams and supporters in Innocence Canada, and other dedicated individuals were able to prove through DNA analysis that Mr. Milgaard was not responsible for the death of Ms. Miller. Since his release, Mr. Milgaard has been active in fighting for the rights of other Canadians who maintain they were wrongly convicted. He has also been a passionate supporter for legislative changes that would make the system of appealing wrongful convictions more rational.  

The complete list of sessions comprising Spring Convocation 2020 is available here

Each session of Convocation will be streamed online. Follow #umanitoba2020 on Twitter and Instagram to see more.

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