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Donor of the Month: Bryan Hobson

Thu. Sep. 8, 2022

Bryan Hobson by lake Ontario

When Bryan Hobson began his studies at UWinnipeg in the late 1980s, he was sponsored by Swan Lake First Nation as part of a small group of Indigenous students under the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council’s (DOTC) post-secondary education program. The first in his family to attend university, Hobson set about connecting with other indigenous students attending UWinnipeg. As former President of the Aboriginal Students’ Council, Hobson helped lead various cultural activities, social gatherings, study groups and fundraising for all newcomers as well as the 100-odd indigenous students at the time—a far cry from the nearly 1000 students from indigenous backgrounds enrolled today.

Hobson says that many of his fondest memories during his time as an undergrad stemmed from the personal connections he was able to make. Hobson mentions Irene Graveson, former DOTC Education Director, the late Dr. Mary Young, former Indigenous Student Advisor, and the late Elder Linda McEvoy as having a lasting impact on his passion for Indigenous issues.

Having graduated in 1992 with his Bachelor of Arts, Hobson put his business skills to work at a handful of places, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Manitoba Nurses Union (Local 10) before settling in Toronto as a public servant working for the province of Ontario. A posting that lasted 13 years, Hobson was involved as a program analyst, executive assistant and finally as scheduler to the Deputy Minister of Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.

For nearly 15 years, Hobson has helped inspire Indigenous initiatives at UWinnipeg through his creation of the Bryan Hobson Fund, and advance education on campus as a Legacy Circle donor. The fund that bears his name was designed to provide both immediate and future support to the Aboriginal Student Services Centre and the Aboriginal Students’ Council. As a planned giving donor, Hobson notes that his personal legacy is one he wants to see put to use as a means of “preserving and protecting indigenous culture and heritage at the university.”

He goes on to say that, “When I was in the process of creating the legacy fund, I was looking for a way to help with future indigenous education and success. I wanted their student supports to create a safe, educational and culturally sensitive environment for all indigenous students, so I took it upon myself to establish a planned giving fund that would help inspire this initiative and similar positive action.”

Since his retirement in 2020, Hobson remains a dedicated lifelong-learner. In addition to his online coursework at Toronto Metropolitan University, Hobson completed his Wetland and Watercourse Monitoring Training through the Manitoba Metis Federation in a bid to help better understand how wetlands were traditionally used by Red River Metis Citizens and First Nations People. As a proud alumnus, Hobson has also expressed his interest in taking on a more active role in the greater UWinnipeg community and hopes to become part of the UWinnipeg Alumni Association Council later this year.