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Class Acts 2023

UWinnipeg alumni are leaders in the community; scientists, writers, artists, politicians, business leaders, and entrepreneurs who expand knowledge and inspire innovation. Class Acts provides a snapshot of these achievements and is a great way to stay connected. Whether you received an award, changed jobs, joined a committee, published a book, or explored a new hobby, we'd love to hear from you. Please e-mail alumni@uwinnipeg.ca to be included.

The following lists share alumni achievements and milestones in 2022. See 2022 Class Acts or 2021 Class Acts for more great stories.

Authors and creators

Class of 1960-1969

Klassen, Sarah (BA 63) was nominated at the Manitoba Book Awards 2023. Her novel The Russian Daughter was shortlisted for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction.

Matas, Carol (Collegiate 67) is the 2023 Silver Birch Express Award Nominee for grade 3 – 4 fiction book Who’s Looking? How Animals See the World.

Class of 1970-1979

Burgess, Linda Lori (BA 74) has published the book “Five Minutes to Curtain - A Teacher’s Guide for Creating and Staging Original Plays” J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing 2022.

Sweatman, Margaret (Collegiate 71, BA 74) was nominated at the Manitoba Book Awards 2023. Her book The Gunsmith’s Daughter was shortlisted for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction.

Walton, Diane (BA 73) in 2022, she and her husband, Rick LeBlanc, sold their long-time Alberta home, retired and moved to Nova Scotia, in the heart of the Acadian community where Rick grew up. she continues to manage the Canadian Science Fiction Magazine, On Spec.

Class of 1980-1989

Bergen, David (BED 85, DLE 07) has been named on the 2023 Giller Prize long list for his latest novel, Away From the Dead. Away from the Dead follows the chaotic lives of three young people in early 20th-century Ukraine amidst revolts and war.

Green, Fiona (BA 87) is a University of Winnipeg Professor who has published her eighth book, Coming Into Being: Mothers on Finding and Realizing Feminism. This is a Compelling text that adds multidisciplinary thought to several areas, especially Mothering-Motherhood Studies.The collection, co-edited by Dr. Green, Dr. Andrea O’Reilly, York University, and Victoria Bailey, a poet and PhD candidate, is published by Demeter Press.

Hunt, Stephen (BA 86) is a digital producer at CTV in Calgary in addition to being an author, screenwriter and playwright. He taught playwriting at UBC for 14 years (online), worked as an arts reporter at the Calgary Herald for 10, and as a prairie theatre critic for the Globe & Mail. All of it started at the Uniter in 1981!

Posner, Ari  (Collegiate 88) is the 2022 Canadian Screen Award Winner for Best Original Music, Animation for Let’s Go Luna! The Way of the Gaucho.

Walsh, Meeka (BA 84) was nominated at the Manitoba Book Awards 2023 in several categories. She was shortlisted for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award for her book Malleable Forms.

Werthman, Nerissa (Collegiate 81) is the curator of  Instant Opus Improv Series, a long-running series where she has the privilege of asking amazing New Orleans musicians who've never played together before to perform completely improvised music to a captivated crowd of jazz nerds.

Class of 1990-1999

Conway, George (BAH 93) has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as his new Deputy Special Representative for Somalia with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and Resident Coordinator in Somalia. Mr. Conway will also serve as the Humanitarian Coordinator.

Henderson, Matt (BA 98) will become Chief Superintendent and CEO for the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) on September 7, 2023.

Leitold, Daina (Collegiate 93, BAH 99) is a Winnipeg theatre creator and producer, and an award-winning actor and designer. She was honoured with a Theatre Educator Award from the Winnipeg Theatre Awards (Evies) in 2022, and was nominated for the 2021 Gina Wilkinson Award for women artists who place community and new creation models at the heart of their artistic leadership.

Rahman, Saira (Collegiate 99) established the film production company Snow Angel Films in 2010 with her sister Nilufer. Their mission is to tell compelling stories through diverse voices that encourage constructive conversations toward shaping a more sustainable and compassionate world. Saira and her sister were named as two of Ace Burpee’s Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans for 2022.

Robertson, David A., (BA 99) was nominated at the Manitoba Book Awards 2023 in several categories. His book The Theory of Crows was shortlisted for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. The Stone Child: The Misewa Saga, Book Three was shortlisted for the McNally Robinson Book for Young People (Older Category) award and Version Control was shortlisted in the graphic novel category. He was also short listed for the Manitowapow award.

Robertson, David A.  (BA 99) received an Honourary Degree (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa) from the University of Manitoba for his outstanding contributions in the arts and distinguished achievements.

von Buchholz, Garth (BA 94) graduated in 1994 and has many fond memories of his undergraduate studies the U of W campus. He moved to B.C. 17 years ago, but frequently return for visits to Winnipeg. He is currently enrolled in graduate studies at UBC, and working in the public service. Looking forward to connecting with other alumni.

Class of 2000-2009

Bautista, Darlyne (BAH 05) wrote a children's book to be used by the Winnipeg School Division in it's Filipino bilingual school program. Where is Winnipeg? is a heart-warming tale that will give kids a sense of what it may mean to move from the Philippines to Canada.

Hillyard, Ainsley (BAH 08) is Incoming Artistic Director, Brian Webb Dance Company in Edmonton, AB. She is a co-founder of the Good Women Dance Collective, and is committed to making dance more accessible and inclusive, and is co-creator of Carbon Movements. Produced in collaboration with Deaf performer Connor Yuzwenko-Martin, the silent show uses vibration to offer the same experience to Deaf and hearing audiences.

Richards, Cherissa (BAH 02) is the director of the production of Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind, on from Feb. 15 to March 11, 2023 at the John Hirsch Mainstage at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Ruprai, Sharanpal (BED 00, BAH 03) has been named 2023 Chancellor's Research Chair. Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dr. Ruprai is an internationally recognized writer whose poetry collections have been shortlisted for prestigious awards. Her research and teaching interests include Indigenous and critical race feminism, religious and cultural studies, and artistic practice.

Class of 2010-2019

Barker, Ila (Collegiate 13, BA 17) had her song Intuition licensed for Travel Manitoba’s Explore MB Campaign.

Brodovsky, Jacob (Collegiate 10) released a new album I Love You and I’m Sorry. He is a singer-songwriter, summer camp director, and college radio host from Winnipeg.

Dreaver, Sylvia (BAH 18) is a curator and cultural worker. Sylvia currently works at the Canada Council for the Arts with Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations.

Fraser–Monroe, Cameron (Collegiate 17) is Ballet Kelowna’s Artist in Residence for the 2022-23 season.

Green, Hannah (BA 18) won the 2023 Governor General's Literary Award for her debut collection Xanax Cowboy published by House of Anansi Press.

Mann, Cassidy (Collegiate 13) was named one of five Indigenous artists who are “changing our sonic landscape” by The Globe and Mail.


Business and industry

Class of 1980-1989

Borys, Stephen (BAH 84) will receive the 2023 Business/Arts Awards for philanthropy, leadership and corporate investment in the arts, which will be awarded October 16 athe the Royal ontario Museum inn Toronto. Borys, director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is receiving the Peter herndorf Arts Leadersship Award for establishing Qaumajuq, Canada's new Inuit art centre in Winnipeg.

 Class of 1990-1999

Henderson, Matt (BA 98) will become Chief Superintendent and CEO for the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) on September 7, 2023.

Class of 2000-2009

Koldingnes, Vanessa (BA 06) has been appointed Vice-President (External) at the University of Manitoba.

Ward, Connor (Collegiate 05) is the co-owner of a speakeasy in the owner of The Basement Speakeasy and Comedy Lounge located in the Howard Johnson Hotel on Portage Ave. in Winnipeg. The 6000-square-foot venue, outfitted with vintage furniture to look like a prohibition-style speakeasy, plays host to various types of live entertainment including comedy, jazz concerts and burlesque shows.

Zajac, Nicole (BA 07) CPA and MBA. Nicole is the Chief Financial Officer and a Partner at Penner Oil. She was recently named as a 2023 CPA Manitoba Early Achiever Award recipient.

Class of 2010-2019

Burr, Ashley (BSC4 12) continues to work in the clinic with the general public and with various sports. She has a special interest in pregnancy & postnatal care & minimalist footwear. She is also a con-ed instructor for External Approaches to Pelvic Health & Intro to Cupping.

Fenn, Taylor (BA4 19) is the new Director of Marketing and Communications at Peak of the Market. Fenn joins Peak of the Market after three years in the communications department at the Louis Riel School Division. Peak of the Market Ltd. markets quality produce; supplying a wide variety of fresh, quality vegetables across Canada and throughout the United States.

Class of 2020-2029

Kulshrestha, Anu (PACE 21) has been working as an Application Developer in Market Force Information LLC since July 2021.

Redhead, Marie-Anne (BAH 21) is the new Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art at The Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq. She is of Ininiwak and Francophone heritage, and is a member of the Fox Lake Cree Nation of northern Manitoba.


Class of 1960-1969

Buckingham, Brett (Collegiate 65, BA 69) is now retired and living in Lethbridge. During his working life he was a performer at Rainbow Stage and did 10 shows there through the 1980s and early 90's. He also worked in local media radio station CKRC and CKWGFm as well as Nostalgia radio 93.7fm.

Class of 1970-1979

Card, Ruth (BA 70) has lived in Saskatchewan since 1972 when she was offered a position as a social worker in Weyburn after graduating with a Master of Social Work from U of Manitoba that year. She is retired and married to Greg Grace (BA 69), also retired and they live in Regina.

Harrison, Trevor (BA 79) is the recipient of the 2023 Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations’ Distinguished Academic Award in recognition of an academic staff member, or group of staff members, through their research and/or other scholarly, creative or professional. The annual CAFA Awards are designed to recognize excellence and raise awareness of the many ways in which the scholarly or creative work of university academic staff members serves the wider community outside our universities.

Parker (Osland), Cynthia (BA 74) has just moved back to the city after living in the Interlake for 17 years. She is volunteering at Action Marguerite and is a grandmother to six grandchildren, and expecting twin grandchildren this fall. She is looking to reunite with past friends.

Walton, Diane (BA 73) in 2022, she and her husband, Rick LeBlanc, sold their long-time Alberta home, retired and moved to Nova Scotia, in the heart of the Acadian community where Rick grew up. she continues to manage the Canadian Science Fiction Magazine, On Spec.

Class of 1980-1989

Atwal, Kanwaldip (Ken) (Collegiate 87, BSC 91) looks fondly on his days at the Collegiate and the U. of W. He is now living in Toronto, working a an ER physician, and married with three kids.

Keith (Greer), Nancy (BA 82) "Retired from 30 year career as a Respiratory Therapist at HSC in Winnipeg. Residing in Winnipeg with hopes of moving west. A prairie girl at heart, but would enjoy more outdoor activities without extreme cold. Met my best friend in Riddell Hall :) "

Casselman, Jewel (BED 88) won a Juno as MusiCounts teacher of the year for her dedication to early music education.

Green, Fiona (BA 87) was profiled on CBC as one of nine profiles on outstanding Manitoba women in honour of International Women's Day. Read profile

Toews, David Earl (BA 81) is happily retired since 2018 after a 36 year career with the Great-West Life Assurance Company.

Class of 1990-1999

Karpa, Jane (BA 82, MMFT 94) enjoyed her time of learning at U of W. "My learning continued as I receive by PhD in 2019. I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing (Winnipeg Campus- right next door to the U of W campus!)."

Lennon, Richard (BAH 98) attended the U of W in the 90s with majors in Geography and Political Science, followed by a Master's Degree from York U in Toronto. Academic focus and interests included urban planning, economics, nutrition/kinesiology, and astronomy. In his career, he worked for 13 years in marketing research and, for the last 11 years, has been working in the public sector in social responsibility.


Class of 2000-2009

Hancock, Kristen (BA 08) keeps her fabulously-shoed feet busy connecting internal communicators through ICology, a community for networking and learning. While my professional and educational background is rooted in communication, my passion is using that knowledge to build better workplaces and more empathetic leaders.

McKague, Ashley (BA 08, BED 08, PBDE 14) is currently a school counsellor at St. Norbert Collegiate. She helped establish MB Families for Type 1 Diabetics that helped push for provincial coverage of all ages insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors and insulin support in schools.

Class of 2010-2019

Bhathal, Prabhjeet (PACE 18) found PACE to be both a very professional and fun loving atmosphere at the same time. His instructors wre trained professionals working as Project Managers.

Cheung, Yu (BAH 14) is currently studying Ph.D. in Criminology at the University of South Carolina with a focus on policing and intimate partner homicide. In addition, he served as a secretary of international student affairs at the graduate student association.

Class of 2020-2023

Anderson, Sarah (BA 23) received the Change- Maker Award from Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC). The award recognizes individuals who have improved the quality of life for Canadians living with brain conditions. NHCC is a coalition of organizations that represent millions of Canadians living brain diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect mobility, dexterity, memory or the ability to think. She spearheaded the More Than a Door Campaign at UWinnipeg in 2020 while serving as Accesssibility Director on the UWSA Board of Directors.



Class of 2000-2009

Garner, Kristin (BA 07, BED 07) founded the Emotional Literacy Movement (ELM) in 2021, an organization aimed at making emotional literacy education more accessible to public and educational institutions. www.emotionalliteracymovement.com

Law and public service

Class of 1960-65

Johnson, Janis (Collegiate 65) was named to the Order of Manitoba 2023. She served in the Canadian Senate for over 25 years, making her longest serving Manitoba senator. An advocate for both the cultural sector and women’s health and education, she contributed to the founding of the Mature Women’s Health Clinic (now the Women’s Health Centre) and founded the Gimli Film Festival. She chairs the Valuing the Icelandic Presence Committee at the University of Manitoba and assisted in the development of Qaumajuq.

Class of 1970-1979

Walsh, Sherri (Collegiate 78, BA 81) was the recent recipient of the inaugural University Of Manitoba Faculty of Law Outstanding Alumni Award. This award is presented to a University of Manitoba Law graduate who is recognized for outstanding professional achievement in their legal career and who has shown dedication and commitment to the betterment of the legal profession while also exhibiting the qualities of integrity and professionalism.

Class of 1980-1989

Altomare, Nello (BED 86, BA 90) is the Manitoba Provincial Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning.

Pinsky, Lawrence Isaac (Collegiate 83, BA 89) was called to the Manitoba bar in 1993. Pinsky has been practising law with Taylor McCaffrey LLP since 1998 and became a partner shortly thereafter. His main areas of practise are in advocacy, principally in family law and in other specialized areas, and in family mediation and arbitration. Pinsky sat on the Manitoba human rights adjudication panel for three terms. Pinsky is an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association, family section; a co-founder, director and president of FAMLI (the Family Arbitration and Mediation Legal Institute); and a co-founder and co-chair of the National Family Law Arbitration Program. He has volunteered on multiple boards and has been a speaker, presenter, and guest lecturer at various universities over the years.

Class of 1990-1999

Conway, George (BAH 93) has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as his new Deputy Special Representative for Somalia with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and Resident Coordinator in Somalia. Mr. Conway will also serve as the Humanitarian Coordinator.

Inness, Sarah Ann (BAH 94) was called to the Manitoba bar in 1999. Inness has been a partner at Campbell Gunn Inness Seib since 2007. Inness has been a sessional instructor in the faculty of law at the University of Manitoba in the subjects of criminal law and procedure (2015 to 2017) and introduction to advocacy (2017 to present). Inness received the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association of Manitoba merit award in 2020. In June 2022, Inness participated as a host in a podcast for the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice. Inness has been a member of the Faculty of the National Criminal Law program since July 2022.

Kinew, Wab (Collegiate 99, MA 19) is the the Premier of Manitoba, as well as, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and International Relations, and Minister Responsible for Indigeneous Reconciliation.

Yarish, Rick (BAH 93, MA 94) was appointed the Clerk of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.

Class of 2000-2009

Cable, Renee (BA 08, PACE 10) is the Manitoba Provincial Minister of Advanced Education and Training.

Soldier, Stacey (BA 00) is a lawyer at Cochrane Saxberg LLP in Winnipeg. She has been practicing law since 2008 and now also teaches at the Faculty of Law. She is the Director of Public Relations and Advocacy for the Manitoba Bar Association. She will ascend to the presidency in 2025.

Woodhouse, Cindy (BA 09) was elected as grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations on December 7, 2023.

Class of 2010-2019

Smith, Bernadette (BA 11, PBDE 16) is the Manitoba Provincial Minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness and Minister Responsible for Mental Health.

Johnson, Tyler (BA 19) former Wesmen Women's Soccer player earned her Law degree from the University of North Dakota in May 2023.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Class of 1960-1969

Roberts, D. John (BA 66, LLD07) received a PhD in economics from University of Minnesota in 1972. He taught at Northwestern University's business school from 1971 to 1980, then moved to Stanford. His teaching and research evolved over his 50+ year career. He started doing an abstract, mathematical economic theory, then moved into studying industrial competition. He played a major role in bringing the tools of incomplete information game theory into economics, reversing many of the conclusions about business behaviour. This work had important implications for government competition and regulatory policies and has fundamentally changed economists' understanding of many market phenomena. . In the late 1980s his research interests moved into understanding the nature and functioning of economic organizations, especially business firms. The sort of stuff I have worked on includes motivation and reward issues, the design of hierarchies, the choice to make or buy, and how these interact with the firm's choices of markets in which to operate and how it decides to compete in these markets. Mixing this interest in organizational economics and his love of travel led him to teaching international business strategy and organization, which was the focus of his teaching activities in the later years of my career. He officially retired in 2014, but continues research and writing on organizational issues.

Class of 1980-1989

Fehr, Beverley (BAH 80) an eminent UWinnipeg social psychologist, has had her research included in an episode of CBC's The Nature of Things. "The Secrets of Friendship" features Dr. Fehr's research on male friendships and bonding. "It has only been relatively recently that researchers have begun to examine the benefits of friendships," Dr. Fehr says. "It turns out that close friendships are associated with many indices of well-being, including physical health, mental health, and emotional health."

Class of 2000-2009

Azad, Meghan (BSCH 04) is the 2022 receipient of the presitigious Steacie Prize - one of Canada's most coveted awards for researchers 40 years or younger. The Steacie Prize is awarded by the trustees of the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fund, a private foundation dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering in Canada. The prize is awarded annually to a young scientist or engineer who has made notable contributions to research in Canada.

Class of 2010-2019

Kroft, Emily (BSCH 19) has received a 30 Under 30 Award for her work engaging youth on climate policy. Kroft is a Water Policy and Youth Engagement Officer with the International Institute of Sustainable Development's Next initiative.“Without policy, sustainability would just be an idea without tangible action,” Kroft says. “It’s policy that allows us to make sustainability a reality.”



Class of 1990-1999

Hardy, Jill (Collegiate 99) is a four-time women’s amateur golf champion. She is the only female competitor on a new local golf circuit, Prairie Scratch Tour. This is a five-event circuit with players travelling from the Westman, Interlake areas and even Northwestern Ontario to play. The season is capped by a member-exclusive tour championship, in which the winner receives the Art Johnston Trophy.

Class of 2010-2020

Grant, Taryn (Collegiate 12) was the silver medalist in women's water-ski jump at the 2022 World Games, and 2022 MasterCraft Pro winner.

Gray, Geoff (Collegiate 12) is a professional Canadian Football League (CFL) offensive lineman for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Gray spent times with the NFL's New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and, Cleveland Browns from 2017-2018.

Class of 2020-2023

Krueger, Anja (Collegiate 21) was the 2022 Canada Summer Games Silver Medal in Women's Sprint Triathlon.

Nikolov, Spas (BSC4 22) former Wesmen Men's Basketball player has signed a pro deal in Spain's Liga EBA with CB Cuarte de Huerva for 2023-24. He has spent last season in Belgium's top division.

Picklyk, Darian (BBA4 23) won the gold medal at the Pan-Am Cup with Volleyball Canada after a four-set win over Brazil.