University of Manitoba - Faculty of Arts - Past Celebrated Alumni
Past Celebrated Alumni
2016
Karen Beaudin Karen Beaudin earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba, and went on to study part-time to obtain her Bachelor of Social Work four years ago. Education has always been one of Ms. Beaudin’s top priorities.
Ms. Beaudin, a proud Manitoba Métis, spent most of her childhood in St. Eustache, attending elementary school, then transferring to St. Paul’s Collegiate in Elie, Manitoba.
In 2002, Ms. Beaudin initiated the City’s Aboriginal Employee Group, serving as its spokesperson. Founded to provide Indigenous employees with information about training, education, and scholarship opportunities, the Group also works to dispel any negative stereotypes about the community among co-workers. Ms. Beaudin had also given numerous hours to various Métis events, as well as community organizations including serving as a member of the Métis Child, Family and Community Services board. She is also active on several organizational boards in the North End.
Nahanni Fontaine Nahanni Fontaine has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg in Environmental Studies and International Development, and a Master of Arts degree in Native Studies, Women’s Studies, and Critical Theory from the University of Manitoba.
Ms. Fontaine was recently elected as the MLA for the St. Johns constituency in the Province of Manitoba. She serves as the NDP critic for Status of Women; Persons with Disabilities; Families; and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Ms. Fontaine is Status Ojibway from the Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation in southern Manitoba, and as a young girl and teen, Winnipeg’s North End was Ms. Fontaine’s home. Before being elected to the Manitoba Legislature, Ms. Fontaine served as the province’s Special Advisor on Aboriginal Women’s Issues for the Aboriginal Issues Committee of Cabinet of Manitoba, with a special focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Nationally, her work has been at the forefront of raising awareness of MMIWG, while locally, she had coordinated an unprecedented network of advocacy and support for MMIWG families.
2015
Vona Guiler and Phil Veldhuis are the owner/operators of Phil's Honey, a family business located in Starbuck, Manitoba.
Phil Velhuis has a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba. His main philosophical interests are in the areas of Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Science. He is also an instructor in the U of M School of Agriculture Diploma program, mentoring students in practical farm plans.
Vona Guiler obtained her Bachelor of Science in 1989, followed by a Bachelor of Arts in 1991, both from the University of Manitoba.
Both are from separate beekeeping families, each with nearly a century of beekeeping in Manitoba. Both embrace a modern model of Manitoba homesteading with alternate energy opportunities, sustainability and good environmental practices
Tony T.K. Lau is the founder and owner of Tony Lau Insurance Agencies.
Tony T.K. Lau earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba and a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto. Before setting up Tony Lau Insurance, Mr. Lau had worked for major international insurance companies in marketing and sales management. In 1981, he founded Tony Lau Insurance Agencies and opened his first location in Vancouver. Mr Lau believes strongly in contributing to the community, and has served on several boards, as member and as president.
2014
  Anna Rothney – Anna Rothney is the Secretary to Manitoba's Priorities and Planning Committee of Cabinet, which serves as the provincial governments central strategic planning and policy-making body. An economist by background, Ms. Rothney serves as a member of the Premier's senior staff team.
  Ashish Modha - Ashish Modha was born in Jinja, Uganda. At 4 years old he made a life altering trip to Canada with his family following the Ugandan Asian Exodus as decreed by then-dictator of the country, Idi Amin. Making his way to his new home of Winnipeg Manitoba, Mr. Modha would soon display the entrepreneurial spirit that would form his career path and come to shape the rest of his life.  As the company grew, Mr. Modha concurrently attended the University of Manitoba graduating with a B.A. in Economics from the Faculty of Arts. By then Mondetta Clothing had become a resounding success.
2013
 Phil Fontaine Phil Fontaine – Mr. Phil Fontaine was born at Sagkeeng First Nation (formerly known as Fort Alexander) in Manitoba, about 150 kilometers north of Winnipeg. His first language is Ojibway. In his youth he attended a residential school operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Sagkeeng. He also attended the, Assiniboia Residential School in Winnipeg and he graduated from Powerview Collegiate in 1961.
Ximena Munoz Ximena Munoz - Ms. Munoz is the Province of Manitoba’s first Fairness Commissioner. Ms. Munoz immigrated to Canada in 1978 from Chile. She had completed four years of university in Chile in agronomics and farm economics. Once she arrived in Canada she attended the University of Manitoba and earned an advanced Arts degree in Psychology.
Meghan Montgomery Meghan Montgomery - As a child growing up in Winnipeg, Meghan Montgomery was active in many sports, including basketball, volleyball and swimming. It wasn’t until Orientation Week in her second year of study at the University of Manitoba that she took up rowing. At the time Ms. Montgomery was working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree, which she would finish along with her Bachelor of Education degree a few years later. Joining the Manitoba Provincial Rowing Team in 2001, she attended the Canada Summer Games in London Ontario where she was part of a crew that won the bronze medal.
2012 
Nicki Ashton Niki Ashton – is the NDP member of parliament for Manitoba’s Churchill electoral district. Ms. Ashton graduated with a BA in Global Political Economy at the University of Manitoba. She went on to complete her MA in International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. She is completing her PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba.

First elected MP for the riding of Churchill in 2008 and re-elected in 2011, Ms. Ashton is a strong voice for Northern Manitoba and for equality in Parliament.
Paul Moist Paul Moist –  is the 5th national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada’s largest union with more than 605,000 members and the first president from Western Canada. Mr. Moist received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the U of M with studies in Canadian history and political science.
2011 
Guy Gavriel Kay Guy Gavriel Kay – Award-winning author, he received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Manitoba, Kay moved to Oxford, England, to help Christopher Tolkien edit The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished manuscript. From 1981 to 1989 he was principal writer and associate producer for CBC Radio’s The Scales of Justice. At the same time, Guy Gavriel Kay began writing, publishing and winning awards for his novels.
Jeff Blair Jeff Blair – completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Studies and a minor in History, and was also an active staff member and editor of The Manitoban. Mr. Blair has been a sports reporter since he was hired as a freelance university correspondent by the Winnipeg Free Press at the age of 21 while still a member of St. John’s College. Mr. Blair, who has covered three Olympics and 13 World Series, was named to the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association’s media honor roll in January 2010 for “outstanding commitment to sports writing excellence”.
2010 

Jennifer Cohen - Author, entrepreneur, fitness and health expert, Ms. Cohen received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Manitoba and a Master’s in Sport Marketing from George Brown College in Toronto, Ontarioand has emerged as an influential role model for the industry.

  Gilles Hébert - Artist, curator, international project manager and director, Mr. Hébert was born in St. Boniface and received his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Manitoba. Mr. Hébert studied History and Film at the University of Manitoba and later attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, then known as Ontario College of Art and has been actively engaged in the Visual Arts for over twenty-five years.
2009 
 

The Honourable Janis Gudrun Johnson -  Senator, community, environmental, and women’s advocate, educator, public affairs consultant, writer, political advisor, and cultural ambassador, received her B. A. (Honors) in Political Studies from the University of Manitoba,

  Joanne C. Keselman, Ph. D. - Vice-President (Academic), Provost of the University of Manitoba, and Professor of Psychology received her B. A., M. A., and Ph. D. from the University of Manitoba. An accomplished researcher and prolific author in applied statistical analysis.
  William Dempsey Valgardson, novelist, poet, short story writer, mentor of creative writing, and Professor Emeritus (University of Victoria). Winnipeg born and Gimli raised, Dr. Valgardson earned the B. A. and B. Ed. (English and Art) at the University of Manitoba, then completed the Master of Fine Arts (Iowa). His Icelandic heritage infuses writing that has introduced “countless readers . . .to the warm culture of a cold country.”
2008 
 Marcien Ferland Marcien Ferland, O.C., composer, choir director, educator, scholar, founder of Chorale des Intrépides, and co-founder of Mélo-Mani, received his B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1964 before he completed an M.A. in French Literature (1965). He is accomplished in violin, trumpet, piano, harmony, instrumentation and orchestration, and voice.
 Paul Vogt

Paul Vogt - Clerk of the Executive Council & Cabinet Secretary, Government of Manitoba, educator and scholar, received his B.A. (Honours) from the University of Manitoba in Political Studies in 1983. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Manitoba and completed a Master of Philosophy at Oxford University (1985) and additional graduate work at Princeton.

  Carol Gay Bell, O.C. - Founder, artistic director and general manager, Saskatchewan Express, received her B.A. in English from the University of Manitoba and a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University (Toronto). Her passion for the performing arts and for her home province of Saskatchewan led her to a life of accomplishment in journalism, radio, theatre, and television.
2007 
 Elaine G. Ali and Dean Richard Sigurdson Elaine G. Ali, O.M. - Senior Vice-President, CTV Stations Group and advocate for women, received her B. A. from the University of Manitoba in 1974.  Past President of Women’s Television Network (WTN) and Vice-President and General Manager of CKY-TV, Winnipeg’s CTV affiliate, she has been a passionate developer of opportunities for women in the broadcast industry.
 John C. Courtney John C. Courtney - Professor Emeritus, Political Studies (Saskatchewan), received his B. A. from the University of Manitoba  (1958) before completing his M.B.A. (Western Ontario), M. A. and Ph. D. (Duke, USA), and earning his Doctor of Letters (Saskatchewan). Described in a review of his book Elections: Canadian Democratic Audit (2004) by University of British Columbia Press as “the leading scholar on the history, principles, and current practice of elections in Canada”.
 Muriel A. Smith Muriel A. Smith - Manitoba politician, educator, and human rights advocate, received her B. A. from the University of Manitoba and continued her studies at the Oxford Institute of Education (England). She served as member of legislative assembly (MLA), became a member of cabinet as Deputy Premier, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Minister of  Community Services, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, and Minister of Labour and Housing. She has been a committed and powerful voice for women’s equality through her work with the United Nations Association.
2006 
 Honourable John Reid and Dean Richard Sigurdson

Honourable John Reid -  Information Commissioner for Canada, Government of Canada, received both his B. A. (1959) and M. A. (1961) in History before pursuing additional advanced work in History at the University of Toronto. The youngest member of the House of Commons in his first election, Mr. Reid served Canada as MP continuously from 1965-1984.

 Marcia Kran Marcia Kran - 2005 recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award, received her law degree (1980) and her B. A. (1987) with aMarcia Kran History major and Psychology (minor) from the University of Manitoba. Starting her career as a Crown prosecutor in Manitoba, she earned both an M.A. in political science (Toronto) and a diploma in social sciences (Stockholm) before she became legal policy counsel to the Justice Department, Government of Canada (1989).
2005 
 Roger Léveillé

Roger Léveillé - Acknowledged as “the leading voice of Franco-Manitoban literature,” has made multi-faceted contributions to literary arts in Roger LéveilléManitoba, Québéc, Canada, and France.

 Danny Finkleman Danny Finkleman - He graduated with both his B.A. and his LL. B. from the University of Manitoba, and briefly pursued graduate work in Arts as a pre-Master’s student in Psychology, before he started at the CBC in the late 60s. His career at the CBC saw him in many roles—reporter and journalist, interviewer, commentator, co-host, and host—on many shows—Matinee, 90 Minutes Live (with Peter Gzowski), This Country in the Morning, Day Shift, and Danny Finkleman’s Saturday Show.
 Constance Backhouse and Richard Sigurdson, Dean of Arts Constance Backhouse - A passionate and accomplished advocate for human rights. Currently one of only five persons to hold the title Distinguished Professor at the University of Ottawa and also Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre there, Dr. Backhouse received her B.A. (History) from the University of Manitoba, her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall, her LL..M from Harvard University, and her LL.D. (Honoris causa) from the Law Society of Upper Canada.
2004 
 General R. R. Henault

General R. R. Henault - Received his B. A. from the University of Manitoba in 1992. He majored in Geography and minored in Political Studies. A member of the Canadian Forces since 1968, General Henault has led a life of service and accomplishment as pilot of Voodoo and Twin Huey aircraft; flying instructor; air traffic controller; staff officer (aviation) and Twin Huey flight commander; and project director for the Canadian Forces Light Helicopter project at National Defence Headquarters.

 Robert Houle Robert Houle - Artist, Professor, received his B. A. from the University of Manitoba in 1972. He majored in History and minored in English. His artistic works, which have included site-specific installations, have been exhibited internationally, including the millenium presentation of his works at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA)
 Colin Robertson  Colin Robertson - Since joining the Department of External Affairs in 1977, Mr. Robertson has served Canada in numerous diplomatic positions and postings. He was a member of the negotiating team on the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, the 1st Canadian NAFTA Communications Coordinator, and the co-author of Decision at Midnight—a personal account of the NAFTA negotiations
2003 
 Donna Dasko & Martin Levin

Donna Dasko - Senior Vice-President of the Environics Research Group, who is one of Canada's best-known pollsters and survey researchers, graduated, with First Class Honours, in 1973, with a degree in Sociology.

Martin Levin - Graduated from the Faculty of Arts in 1969, and went on to earn a Master's degree in English in 1973 at the University of Toronto. He has worked in a fascinating array of journalism ventures ever since. As the Books Editor of the Globe and Mail Martin Levin is amongst the most influential figures in Canadian letters and publishing.

 Sam Katz Sam Katz - Best known to Winnipeggers as the CEO of the Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Club and the driving force behind CanWest Global Park, graduated with a B.A. in Economics in 1973. Became the mayor of Winnipeg in June 2004.
2002 
 

Paul Adams - Middle East correspondent for the Globe and Mail, has two masters degrees, one in journalism from Columbia University and the other in modern history from Oxford. He has an honours B.A. in history and political studies from the University of Manitoba. Prior to becoming a journalist, Mr. Adams taught Political Studies at the University of Manitoba for three years.

  David Friesen - Businessman, Chair of the University of Manitoba Capital Campaign.
  Betty Jane Wylie - Author, holds an Honours B.A. and a M.A. in English. She has published 34 books, has had 3 dozen plays produced, and writes poetry as well as TV movies.
2001 
  Pamela LeBoldus - Majored in English and History, and then began her career working in the areas of child care and adoptions. Her career has had many facets, including 30 years as an active volunteer in the City of Winnipeg. Her exceptional contributions to the governance and development of the University were recognized at convocation May 2001, when she was awarded the Peter D. Curry Chancellor's Award.
  Anita Ross - Vice-President of I.B.M. in New York, who holds three degrees from programs in the Faculty of Arts, showed a remarkable facility in learning languages as an undergraduate, and went on to complete her Master's and Ph.D. degrees in French.
2000 
 

Patricia Chaychuck - 14th Clerk of the Legislature, the youngest Clerk in Canada and the first female Clerk in Manitoba history.

  Jim Kingdom - Managing Partner of ChangeMakers, and a winner of a number of international awards for excellence. Jim has won a Clio Award for a television advertising campaign.
  Eric Wright - Premier Canadian mystery/detective-fiction writer.