Allan Fineblit: Q.C., B.A.(Manitoba), LL.B.(Manitoba)
Mr. Allan Fineblit is one of Canada’s foremost authorities in public law and a champion of innovative new strategies to improve public access to justice services.
After studying law at the University of Manitoba, he began his work on behalf of the community and the legal profession—first with Legal Aid Manitoba, where he ultimately became executive director, then as assistant deputy attorney general for the Province and finally as chief executive officer of the Law Society of Manitoba.
Under his leadership, the Law Society created the Access to Justice Stakeholders’ Committee, which fosters partnerships among all players interested in justice access issues. Seventeen organizations now take a seat at the table, including the courts, federal and provincial justice departments, professional bodies, Indigenous organizations and community groups.
He was also instrumental in establishing the Law Society’s Family Law Access Centre, which brokers lower-cost legal services for financially struggling individuals who are ineligible for Legal Aid. This made-in-Manitoba initiative has proved to be a promising model for resolving income disparity issues.
Throughout a career of more than four decades, Mr. Fineblit has been a role model for the legal profession. His strong record of leadership in community organizations spans social services, health care and many aspects of law.
Since returning to private practice in 2014, he has continued to advise governments and organizations on ways of bridging legal service gaps created by geography and income.
He was designated a Queen’s Counsel in 1998 and received the Manitoba Bar Association President’s Award in 2015. He has also been the winner of the Law Society’s Richard J. Scott Award, given to an individual who advances rule of law through advocacy, litigation, teaching, research or writing.
The University of Manitoba is proud to recognize Mr. Allan Fineblit with the Distinguished Service Award.
Douglas Ruth: B.Sc.(M.E.), M.Sc.(M.E.) (Manitoba), Ph.D. (Waterloo), P.Eng.
Dr. Douglas Ruth’s 11-year tenure as dean of the Faculty of Engineering inspired an exciting era of renewal and progress, with transformative advances that students, researchers and the larger community still benefit from today.
Born and raised in Manitoba, he called many communities home before pursuing his passion for mechanical engineering as a student at the University of Manitoba. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, he taught at the University of Calgary and worked as a research engineer in the oil and gas industry.
In 1987, he joined the U of M as an associate professor in the department of mechanical engineering. An enthusiastic mentor and scholar, he became a department head and then associate dean before his appointment as dean from 1999 to 2010. Today, he is Dean Emeritus and continues to serve the Faculty as a professor in mechanical engineering.
Under his visionary leadership, the Faculty built the Engineering and Information Technology Complex (EITC), a massive redevelopment that opened the door for new programs and opportunities for students and researchers. Dr. Ruth worked tirelessly to bring this renewal to life, from raising funds and building a shared vision to managing the project through to completion. Since the opening of the EITC in 2005, the Faculty’s student enrolment has increased by more than 50 per cent.
The strong foundation Dr. Ruth built surpasses bricks and mortar. He also championed the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification Program, which provides an efficient pathway to practice for new Canadians who have received their professional engineering credentials in other countries.
Passionate about fostering teaching and learning excellence, Dr. Ruth led the establishment of the Centre for Engineering Professional Practice and Engineering Education, preparing students for real-world career experiences while supporting important new research in engineering pedagogy.
As the driving force behind these and other advances, Dr. Ruth has also raised the profile of the Faculty of Engineering and the university as a whole. He has contributed to the governance of the U of M as a member of Senate, numerous committees and the Board of Governors.
His professional credentials include fellowship in three organizations—the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Institute of Canada and Engineers Canada. He has served as president of the Society of Core Analysts and chair of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, and is currently president of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. His many honours include the Champion of Engineering Education Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba.
The University of Manitoba is proud to present the Peter D. Curry Chancellor’s Award to Dr. Douglas Ruth in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the governance and growth of the University of Manitoba.
Darja Barr: B.Sc.(Manitoba), M.Sc.(Alberta)
Prof. Darja Barr is an innovative educator who has improved math learning for thousands of post-secondary students at the University of Manitoba, and K-12 students throughout the province. Her teaching strategies transform math phobia into math fascination and have attracted the attention of scholars across Canada.
Prof. Barr earned her bachelor of science in applied mathematics and management science at the University of Manitoba, and her master’s in mathematical biology at the University of Alberta. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in mathematics education at the U of M.
She joined the Faculty of Science as a mathematics instructor in 2009 and has since earned several teaching, service and outreach awards for her progressive, engaging approaches.
Prof. Barr’s innovations emphasize the empowering nature of mathematics, improving students’ ability to learn math—particularly during the first year of university, when students struggle most. Since she restructured the Math 1010 program into a dual-track format, student success rates have risen significantly.
She has also introduced programs to overcome barriers that may stand in the way of math studies at the university level. She collaborates with high school teachers to encourage smooth transitions, and has co-developed online tools that help students diagnose and address their math weaknesses before the academic year starts. She has also coordinated a teaching and learning workshop for emerging mathematics instructors across the prairies.
In addition, Prof. Barr inspires a love of math in the broader community by bringing programs like Math Mania to children in Winnipeg and to remote Indigenous communities.
Updated May 29, 2018