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Students and donors celebrated with annual awards

October 14, 2022 — 

Each fall, the Faculty of Law community remembers remarkable alumni through the awards that are given out in their honour. This year, the Faculty remembered the hard work and perseverance of alum Ken Tacium by presenting the Ken Tacium Memorial Scholarship to law students Peter Frejek and Laraib Khaliqdina. The David Sowemimo Law Entrance Scholarship was presented to Meseret Alem Kahsay.

Ken Tacium graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA in 1980 and an LLB in 1985, after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in a car accident in 1979. He articled with the Attorney General of Manitoba, then started his own practice out of his home, before opening a practice with two other partners in 1987. He was the Tacium in the well-known Winnipeg law firm of Tacium Vincent Orlikow. Ken passed away in 2012. According to his obituary, he was remembered for devoted and careful service to clients, and his generosity toward family, friends, and charities including The Movement Centre of Manitoba, spinal cord research, Salvation Army Gifts for Kids, The Winnipeg Humane Society and Ducks Unlimited.

In 2013, his family and friends established the Ken Tacium Memorial Scholarship at UM. Each year, two scholarships are offered to undergraduate students who, according to the award’s Terms of Reference, have accepted early admission to the Faculty of Law and are enrolled full time in the Juris Doctor program, have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have demonstrated courage and perseverance in overcoming significant obstacles (especially, but not necessarily limited to, physical obstacles) in the continuation of their academic studies.

David Sowemimo graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA (Adv) in 2008 and a Juris Doctor in 2015. He currently practices injury law in Edmonton. Sowemimo was 17 when he came from Nigeria to study at the University of Manitoba, and majored in labour studies. While working as a claims representative in the insurance industry, he met lawyers who encouraged him to study law. That encouragement helped him to overcome the barrier of not seeing enough people who looked like him engaged in the practice of law.

“When I graduated we had two Black students – myself and somebody else,” he said in a February, 2021 story in UM Today News. “And it contributed a lot to seeing myself in law firms in downtown Winnipeg. I couldn’t see myself in that arena at all, at that time. Seeing people who look like you, and speak like you, in professional settings, really does help.”

Having received a scholarship himself, Sowemimo had always thought he should give back if he did well in law. In January, 2021, he established the David Sowemimo Law Entrance Scholarship to be awarded annually to Black undergraduate students enrolled full-time in the juris doctor program. It is the first scholarship of its kind at the University of Manitoba.

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