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Ms Susan Glass and Mr. Ernest Rady will receive the University's highest honour

Honouring those who serve community

May 27, 2015 — 

At its 136th Annual Spring Convocation, the University of Manitoba will confer honorary degrees on two of exceptional individuals: Ms Susan Glass and Mr. Ernest Rady.

Six sessions of the 136th Annual Spring Convocation at the University of Manitoba will be held from May 26-28; the morning session begins at 9:30 a.m. and the afternoon session begins at 3 p.m. Each session will be held in the Investors Group Gym. Each ceremony will be webcast live. Or follow events on Twitter and Instagram using #UMConvocation.


Susan J. Glass
B.Comm (Manitoba)

Susan Glass

Ms Susan Glass

The story of Susan Jane Glass is the story of a small-town girl, who, once dazzled by Broadway, returned home to became the guiding light of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. For two decades she has devoted herself to supporting the arts in Canada by serving governing boards across the country, raising funds, advocating and volunteering. Ms. Glass’s name is synonymous with community service – and fun: she rides a custom, leopard-printed Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Ms. Glass was 13 when she left Prince Albert, Saskatchewan for Winnipeg. She came with her mother, the late Helen Glass, who obtained her nursing certificate here, and whose name graces the University of Manitoba College of Nursing building.

From here, they went on to New York City. Live theatre captivated Ms. Glass during her high school years and later inspired her to channel her energy and talent toward the arts. What she did with her life after high school now seems like a dress rehearsal before the performance: Ms. Glass obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Manitoba and spent 15 years with Air Canada doing computer systems management and marketing – valuable skills she later used as a leader and fundraiser in the non-profit sector. Then, in the early 1980s, the dress rehearsal became the show. Ms. Glass turned her attention toward her first passion, the arts.

For more than 20 years, Ms. Glass lent her indomitable spirit and inspiring leadership to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a board member, chair, and volunteer fundraiser. She has been governor of The Banff Centre and the prestigious Shaw Festival, chair of the Canadian Arts Summit, and committee co-chair for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

Currently, Ms. Glass is vice-chair of the National Arts Centre and a board member of many other arts groups. She has also lent her expertise to several local institutions, including the University of Manitoba and St. Boniface General Hospital.

In 2008, the Association of Fundraising Professionals named Ms. Glass and her entrepreneur husband, Arni Thorsteinson, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraisers in Manitoba. In 2009, she received Canada’s highest honour, an appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada for her inspiring service to the arts and to Winnipeg.

The University of Manitoba is delighted to celebrate Ms. Glass for her dedication to the local and national arts communities, and for her commitment to Winnipeg, as a supporter of the University of Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the United Way, and many other institutions.

In bestowing Ms. Glass with a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, the University of Manitoba commends her longstanding generosity and determination to make Winnipeg, and Canada, a finer place for artists, and a better place for all citizens.


Ernest Rady
B.Comm (Manitoba), LLD (Manitoba)

Mr. Ernest Rady

Mr. Ernest Rady

Mr. Ernest Rady is a nice guy. So true is this characterization that in 2012 he was celebrated as the “Nice Guy of the Year” by the San Diego Nice Guys charity. A few years later, San Diego’s main daily newspaper named him its city’s Person of the Year for 2014. Mr. Rady is loved because he creates opportunities for others to succeed. Whether he is supporting this institution, his alma mater, the Jewish community in his birth-city of Winnipeg, a children’s hospital or his adopted city’s world-famous zoo, Mr. Rady is a leader determined to change lives. This is what visionaries do.

In 2009, Mr. Rady and his sisters, Marjorie Blankstein and Mindel Olenick established the Mindermar Professorship in Human Simulation at the University of Manitoba’s College of Medicine, which has transformed how our students learn and ultimately how they practice medicine. It is no surprise that Mr. Rady and his family chose to support medical training at the University of Manitoba. Their father was a deeply respected member of Winnipeg’s medical community and a great friend of the University of Manitoba. He taught his children the importance of giving back to the community.

Mr. Rady recognizes his tremendous capacity to impact the health and well-being of young people. In 2006 Mr. Rady and his company, American Assets, Inc., donated $60 million to San Diego’s children’s hospital. Driven to do more, this past year Mr. Rady pledged a further $120 million to the hospital to establish the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute. This is the largest donation ever made to the Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation and its impact on sick children and their families is immeasurable. Most recently, in April of this year, he donated $100 million to the Rady School of Management, a school he founded at the University of California, San Diego.

Mr. Rady’s impact is vast, with philanthropic gifts well in excess of $200 million spread among an array of charities. He has the foresight to use his resources to challenge others to participate in advancing their communities. He also has the determination to give his time as a committed volunteer, whose service is sought after by numerous organizations such as the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, and Junior Achievement Winnipeg.

An entrepreneur at heart, Mr. Rady has founded several successful businesses, including American Assets Trust in 1967. He is currently chairman of this and other businesses, and sits on the boards of a number of corporations in the United States and Canada. A trailblazer in the business world, his skillful leadership has steered his companies to tremendous success in financial services, investment management, real estate, and other industries.

Mr. Rady has received many honours for both his charitable work and professional achievements. Most notably, Ernst & Young named him its 2009 Financial Services Entrepreneur of the Year and presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Although Mr. Rady calls California home today, his path to success started right here at the University of Manitoba where he received his Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws. It is fitting that he now returns to his alma mater to have his accomplishments and impacts recognized by the University of Manitoba’s highest award, an honorary degree.

The University of Manitoba is proud to award an Honorary Doctor of Law to Mr. Rady, a loving family man, visionary philanthropist, savvy businessman, and truly nice guy who has transformed the lives of many.


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