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Donor of the Month: Ron Clement

Mon. Jun. 26, 2023

Mr Ron Clement smiling

Having graduated in the early years after the University received its charter in 1968, Mr. Ron Clement has been giving to UWinnipeg since 1980. Like many of our alumni-turned-donors, Ron has stayed close to his alma mater and its students, supporting initiatives like the library and the Alumni Entrance Scholarship Fund generously in the years since his undergraduate career ended. Beginning in 2014, Ron shifted his donations to support the Freemason’s of Manitoba Award in Human Rights. Established in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Freemasonry in the Red River Valley and coinciding with the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human rights, the award has been working for nearly a decade to support undergraduate and graduate students studying Conflict Resolution, International Development, Indigenous Studies, and Human Rights.

“I wanted to support students whose expertise could be used to better the world,” said Ron. “Human rights are under pressure across the world, and UWinnipeg has always had a good reputation for academia tied to bettering human rights. I’d love to see the money we’ve invested in this fund inspire others to give, and spark their interest in providing help for the next generation.”

When asked about his own interest in giving, Ron notes that he was fortunate enough to have his education provided for by his family, and being able to help fund the academic careers of students today is something he is proud to give towards. “When I was in school, I finished with a double major in economics and history. I wanted to better understand the world around me when I opened the paper and read the news—the education I received at UWinnipeg helped me gain unique insight into the politics and business that would later surround my career.” says Ron.

A career that would go on to last nearly fifty years, Ron began selling GM cars as a Dealer Principal in his hometown of Russell in 1973, before becoming a financial planner for Investors Group from 1982 to 1999. The last of his long-term career assignments saw him acting as a Returning Officer for Elections Canada from 2003 to 2022. “I was raised with politics, and I've always had a passion for public service", says Ron when thinking back on his time as a Returning Officer and long-term involvement with both the local and provincial Chambers of Commerce. “Manitoba has come a long way since I was a student, and so has the University. Access to education has always been good at UWinnipeg. The smaller student population was something I appreciated as an undergrad, and I know students still like it today.”

As former co-owners of Sanderson's Hill Bed & Breakfast in Russell, Ron and his wife Joan spent much of the last 20 years running the business before eventually selling their home and moving to Winnipeg in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren—who now live in Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Germany. Eager to stay busy in his retirement, Ron also notes that his duties as a member of the Freemason’s of Manitoba keep him active, and that in the near future, he hopes to return to classes at UWinnipeg as an auditor to learn more about the University's Human Rights and Historical curriculum.