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John Kearsey Vice-President (External)

John Kearsey, Vice-President (External), University of Manitoba // Photo by Thomas Fricke

Staying connected during this surreal time

Message from John Kearsey, Vice-President (External)

March 23, 2020 — 

The world has changed for all of us.

The disruption presented by the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes. While we face the challenges it is having on both the UM community and our personal lives, my colleagues and I are also mindful of how difficult these times are for many of our alumni and friends, their families, their businesses and organizations, their communities and neighbourhoods.

Our relationship with you—our alumni and donors—has always been based on learning and developing together. It’s been based on the generosity of time, talent and treasure. We’ve accomplished much together in supporting students, their teaching and discovery; supporting research and researchers; supporting the places that help our community thrive—labs, classrooms and gathering spaces. Thank you for that.

I want you to be assured that right now UM’s main priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and contributing to flattening the curve. We have taken extraordinary measures to slow the spread of the virus within our community, including cancelling in-person classes and exams, finding ways to allow our staff to work from home, and, sadly, cancelling our Spring Convocation. At the same time, our faculty and staff are committed to ensuring our students finish their term and are using every innovative and creative opportunity to do so.

You can stay on top of all UM news by visiting our COVID-19 website, Please take a moment to watch President David Barnard’s video message.


As President Barnard shared, until further notice we’ve cancelled all events planned to celebrate our students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff. But, we’re not going silent on this end.
Gratitude. It’s something worth hanging on to, especially right now.

During the first week of April, you’ll receive your alumni magazine. It’s been in the works for a while and our team made the call to finish printing and get it in your mailbox. Why? Because it’s The Gratitude Issue. This edition tells beautiful, heartwarming stories of our UM community. Around the same time, Front and Centre campaign chair Paul Soubry will share the outcome of what happens when passion and giving collide. The exceptional results of the Front and Centre campaign reflect the dedicated work of hundreds of volunteers and staff and generous commitments made by thousands of donors.

Many of you have made commitments through the Front and Centre campaign, commitments I know you want to keep and some will now be challenged to do so. That’s understandable. Let’s talk about it and figure out a way forward that supports you supporting the University into the future. Feel free to contact me directly at john [dot] kearsey [at] umanitoba [dot] ca. We’re in this together.
Let’s stay connected.

For 10 years, I’ve been privileged to serve the University of Manitoba’s alumni and donor community. I’ve met so many of you personally and experienced your passion and love for UM and our community. Let me know if I, or members of my team, can be of any support and assistance to you.

Finally, I want to send a special thank you to our health sciences alumni who—with current faculty, staff and students—are on the front line providing the care and expertise your alma mater has helped position you for in times like this.Take care of yourself and those around you.

With deep gratitude,

John Kearsey, Vice-President (External)

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