Ms. Smith graduated from the University of Manitoba with a B.A. Honours, followed by a diploma in Education from Oxford University. She returned to school at the University of Manitoba in 1973 to complete her B.Ed and M.Ed. (psychological counseling) and went on to teach and be a counselor at the high school level. In later years Ms. Smith was an instructor at the Winnipeg Education Centre and the University of Manitoba.
Ms. Smith's political career began in 1974 as a member of the Manitoba New Democratic Party Executive. In 1981 she was elected as member of the Legislative Assembly for Osborne. Her appointment as Deputy Premier signified the first woman in Canada to achieve this. She also held the portfolios of Economic Development and Tourism, Community Services and Corrections, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, and Labour and Housing.
Ms. Smith's interest and participation in women's issues and areas of international cooperation span the range of Chair of Empowering Women in Burma, United Nations Association of Canada and delegate to five world conferences, Provincial and National Councils of Women, the Canadian Federation of University Women, Executive Member of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, Chair of the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation and one of three Manitoba government representatives to the Red River Basin Commission, to name just a few.
Ms. Smith's appointments to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, Council on Post Secondary Education, and lay member of the Manitoba Law Society and the Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba and her positions of Vice-President of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Board, and President of the Board of Reh-Fit Centre demonstrate the breadth of her participation in her local community.
Muriel Smith's wide ranging interest and participation in her immediate community and to the larger community, has provided an immense service to these sectors.
Mr. Chancellor, it is an honour for me to ask on behalf of the Senate of the University of Manitoba, that you confer upon Muriel Smith the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
-citation delivered by mentor, Dr. John Wiens, Dean, Faculty of Education