Anne Smigel, a Winnipeg-born teacher, resource person, principal, artistand philanthropist began her career as a teacher in rural Manitoba at schools in Oakburn, Poplarfield, and Fraserwood. Returning to Winnipeg she continued teaching and pursuing her studies. She takes pride in her Ukrainian heritage having struggled through a time when it was difficult for off-spring of immigrant parents to be accepted within the various professions. The first woman principal in Winnipeg of Ukrainian background, her career as an educator spanned forty-four years.
As a teacher, Ms. Smigel has had a profound Influence on the many pupils who passed through her classes. Whether they were in the choir or in the classroom, she guided their learning and prepared them for their lives as adults. Many of her former students have, themselves, gone on to become teachers. Her contributions to her profession include presenting papers at conferences, serving on the French and Ukrainian language curriculum committees, serving on the board of the International Reading Association, and delivering courses for teachers through the Department of Education. Early on in her career she became actively involved in the placement of immigrant children who arrived in Winnipeg during 1947-49. For these children she developed special curriculum resources, shared her knowledge, expertise and judgement in helping them become Canadians and Winnipeggers.
Over the years, Ms. Smigel has been actively involved in many service organizations, receiving the Alpha Omega Alumnae Woman of the Year Award, the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award, and the Centennial Medal for Teaching Excellence. She is a founding member of Creative Retirement Manitoba, an organization whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities through developing and offering innovative learning opportunities for older persons.
Ms. Smigel established an Education Fund for the Ukrainian Sisters of St. Joseph Congregation in Winnipeg and in Brazil to assist them with tuition fees, buying books, and travelling to and from an accredited school, college or university. As a volunteer at the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre and as a member of the Alpha Omega Alumnae, an Ukrainian professional women's organization, she encourages the preservation and support of Ukrainian culture. She is interested in supporting Ukrainien publishing endeavours in Canada as well.
Ms. Smigel is a founding member of Altrusa international of Winnipeg, an association of professional women who volunteer their energies and expertise towards projects such as the Language Bank of Winnipeg, an interpretive service for adults who require legal and medical translations and T.O.T.S. Take Out Toy Service, a toy lending library for children with disabilities. She served as the first Canadian Governor of Altrusa International, District Seven from 1980 to 1982.
Ms. Smigel has demonstrated her commitment to advancing the study of Ukrainian culture by generously establishing several significant funds at the University of Manitoba: a scholarship to encourage students at St. Andrew's College who pursue studies in, and develop their knowledge of, Ukrainian heritage; a research endowment fund to acquire, preserve and make accessible library materials related to all aspects of the Ukrainian prairie experience; and, to support the Archives of the Ukrainian Canadian Experience whose mandate is to gather textual records, papers, correspondence, photographs, etc. about Ukrainian life in Canada. Her support for the development of a unique collection of primary and secondary material will attract local, national, and interntiona faculty and students and will enhance research in this area. She believes that scholars need to gain a better understanding of heritage communities and that the availability of a wide range of resources will serve that purpose. Her latest endowment fund was established to assist the Human Ecology Department's study into the effects of buckwheat on insulin levels. By her example, she has encouraged others to contribute to these important University initiatives.
Ms. Smigel is a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and caring individual who is interested in the well-being of the community at large. In the past she has supported initiatives pertaining to the Centennial Concert Hall and more recently she has established an endowment fund for the new Millennium Library.
Not content to rest in her retirement, Ms. Smigel earned an accredited certificate that allowed her to assist in her church nursery, if and when required. For a number of years she was also a member on the board of the Council of Women of Winnipeg. As an enjoyable recreational past time she took instruction in oil and water colour and has had several juried exhibits within Winnipeg.