Remembering Kevin Kavanagh
Kevin Kavanagh, alumnus, honorary degree recipient, friend of the University of Manitoba, and beloved business leader and philanthropist, died on June 15, 2020, at 87 years of age. He is remembered as an upstanding example living to help benefit others.
Dr. Kavanagh was known as a man of commerce and a supporter of higher education and the arts. He joined The Great-West Life Assurance company shortly after graduating from UM in 1953, and served as its director and CEO from 1979 until 1992. It was then he transitioned his career and dedicated himself to the community.
As the Chancellor of Brandon University (1996 – 2002), a donor to UM since 1980 and a member of the Associates of the Asper School of Business (since 1983), and chairman of the Development Council of the University of Manitoba, he worked to further educational opportunities for Manitoba students. Within the arts community, he served as the director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and governor of the Banff Centre for the Arts. Dr. Kavanagh, along with his wife Els, was involved in numerous other organizations over the years. For his many contributions, Dr. Kavanagh was awarded the Order of Canada (2002) and the Order of Manitoba (2009).
A commitment to excellence has characterized Dr. Kavanagh’s approach to community service. He has served on the Boards of the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation, the Winnipeg Clinic Foundation and the Winnipeg Symphony amongst others. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of The University of Manitoba Associates of the Faculty of Management. He has, in addition, served as Chair of the University’s “Drive for Excellence” which was one of the largest and most successful financial campaigns in UM’s history.
Dr. Kavanagh instilled in his children and grandchildren the sense of community found at the school, along with a desire to give back. His daughter, Mrs. Jennifer Moncrieff (nee Kavanagh) is currently vice-chair of the St. Paul’s High School Board of Directors. His grandsons, Will and John are recent graduates. During their time at St. Paul’s, both Will and John honoured their family’s legacy at the school.
The University of Manitoba is grateful for his passionate involvement in our community and we mourn his loss.