University of Winnipeg | 50 Years Search

Shirley Render

Alumna, Politician, Pilot, Author, Social Worker, Public Speaker

Shirley Render

Shirley Render

Breaking gender barriers from the flight deck

Shirley Render’s Bachelor of Arts from The University of Winnipeg in 1964, was a prelude to careers as diverse as politician, cabinet minister, aviation historian, author, social worker, and international public speaker.

Render is a groundbreaker. She is one of the few women in the world who has flown an F18 fighter jet — one of the world’s top military aircraft. She was the only female member of the Royal Canadian Mint Panel, the only female member of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 50th Anniversary Committee, and the only female patron of the Canadian Bush Plane Heritage Centre in Ontario.

Render has received many awards recognizing her skill as a pilot, her academic prowess, and her community service. She received the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for recognition of her public service in her community as a volunteer and as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, the YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award, and the International NW Aviation Council President’s Award. She is currently the executive director of the Western Canada Aviation Museum.

She has authored two published books on aviation history: Double Cross: The Inside Story of James A. Richardson and Canadian Airways and No Place for a Lady: the Story of Canadian Women Pilots, 1928-1992.

When she received the Distinguished Alumni Award she reflected on her time at UWinnipeg, “I loved every minute of it!...I never had any compunction about going back [to the University] at any time, either to ask for help or as a volunteer or speaker.”

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