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President’s Perspective

Kick Off! Fall 2013

September 12, 2013 — 
President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard

President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard

An exciting new era for intercollegiate sports at the University of Manitoba began on August 30 when our Bison men’s football team kicked off its first season at Investors Group Field.

Our football team, under the leadership of Coach Brian Dobie, is now playing, training and learning in the best facility for intercollegiate football in Canada and one of the best stadiums in North America.

By all accounts, the thousands of fans who cheered the Bisons on to victory over the University of Alberta Golden Bears were impressed by the game day experience, which has improved the atmosphere for players, students, alumni, faculty, staff, family, friends and other fans.

All of our student athletes deserve our enthusiastic support whether they play football or are part of a community of 300 student athletes who, along with 100 coaches, trainers and managers, are involved in eight intercollegiate sports.

They are exceptional people with bright futures ahead of them. They are incredibly skilled at balancing training time with academic demands. As many as one third of them are CIS academic all-stars, meaning they have an average of 3.5 or better.

They also take on important leadership roles in our university. This year, third-year linebacker Al Turnbull was elected as president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union and will serve as an important student voice in the governance of our university.

Former Bisons such as Thomas Hall have displayed a passion for helping others. Through Project Echo, Thomas raised money for Winnipeg libraries, sponsored a home for orphaned children in Namibia and delivered Christmas hampers to Winnipeg families.  He received the CIS Russ Jackson Award in 2009 because of his activities on and off the field.

Through our Bisons Against Bullying program, our athletes serve as positive role models and conduct bullying prevention seminars at Manitoba schools. More than 100 schools have been visited since 2005.

I am pleased that Coach Dobie and his team now have facilities that are worthy of their passion and commitment that is part of our larger vision to transform the spaces on our campuses.

The stadium project fits into our larger vision to transform the spaces on our campuses.

Since 2008-09, we have invested $614 million in spaces for learning, research, living and recreation. These projects help recruit students, attract and retain faculty and staff, improve our learning and working environment and help us better serve the broader community.

There are many more exciting projects to come.

The new 100,000 square foot Active Living Centre to be opened in 2015 will provide us a new home for active, sustainable, healthy living. It will house a high-performance training facility for elite athletes, a state-of-the-art indoor running track, a 12-meter climbing wall, an Applied Research Centre, a gathering area for students, strength and conditioning facilities and three group workout studios.

Phase Two of the Taché Arts Project will see the historic former residence transformed into a new home for culture and creativity on campus.

As is the case with Investors Group Field, the Active Living Centre and the Taché Arts Project will attract visitors to our Fort Garry Campus who otherwise may never have had cause to visit the University of Manitoba.

These projects are the result of the vision and hard work of our faculty and staff and are possible because of the generosity of our alumni, donors, partners and friends. They are also a significant factor in making the University of Manitoba an exciting place of learning, discovery and engagement.

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