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Why I Give: Catherine Hunter

Wed. Aug. 21, 2019


I'm Catherine Hunter, a poet and novelist and Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg. I was an Honours English student here way back in the 1980s and thanks to the brilliant instruction and amazing support of my UW professors, I went on to the University of Victoria where I earned a Master's degree and a PhD in literature. I came back and I've been teaching here since 1991. I now specialize in teaching Creative Writing, which is the best job in the world.


Photography by Leif Norman

Why did you decide to support UWinnipeg?

I like to give back to the place that changed my life so much for the better. Without the UW, I doubt I would have continued my education. First of all, the wonderful daycare right on campus with loving staff who looked after my child while I studied was a miraculous gift. It was all a great gift - the welcoming atmosphere, the great books we studied, the small classes where we could get to know each other, the access to knowledge, the library, the patient professors who answered all our questions (no matter how ignorant or strange) and the Honours seminars where I (finally!) met people who, like me, wanted to dive deep into language and literature. Some of those people became lifelong friends, even those I haven't seen for a long time.

Why do you give, and what motivates you?

The students motivate me. They need the programs we offer here, and those programs cost money.

What are your areas of interest?

I'm especially interested in the programs that support our Creative Writing students, like the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence program and the "juice" journal of creative writing, written and edited by UW students. Writers, editors, volunteers, and readers of "juice" have created an active community on campus with open mic events and workshops, and next year "juice" will celebrate its 20th birthday!

What contributions are you most proud of?

I think contributions to scholarships are the most important giving we can do. I certainly couldn't have made it through school if not for the generous scholarships and fellowships that had been founded and maintained by generous people in the past. I met the writer Timothy Findley here in the 1980s, thanks to my professors who ran the writer-in-residence program back then. Findley was always very kind to young writers. He not only offered me advice and encouragement, but gave me some money to buy envelopes and postage, so I could send my writing out to magazines. When I tried to repay him, he said, "don't pay it back, pass it on." So I like to pass it on.

What would you say to a colleague or peer who is considering donating?

Think of the students. Imagine one of them opening a letter to read the news that their accomplishments have been recognized by financial support for their future studies. Imagine the smiles.

Make An Impact

The 2020 Campus Campaign is now underway, and your support helps The University of Winnipeg remain a leader in community learning and providing access to education. Please consider making a gift to one of the following President's Priorities for 2020:

The Opportunity Fund

The Opportunity Fund provides hundreds of students each year with funding essential to the pursuit of their educational and career goals. It was created to make it possible for youth to dream big. The fund provides assistance to those who face financial barriers that may otherwise prevent them from attending university.

Library Upgrade and Expansion

The UWinnipeg “Library in the Sky” has served the campus for over 40 years. During this time, the building has aged, the student population has quadrupled, and the digital age has significantly changed the course of pedagogy, research, and library practice. The path toward library renewal began in 2015 when Dr. Annette Trimbee called upon the UW community to “ensure that our library, as the heart and soul of our academy, continues to be a hub for research, collaboration, and learning.”

The campus echoed this intention in both the Integrated Academic & Research Plan (IARP) and Asset & Campus Enhancement (ACE) consultations. In late 2017, a small team was formed to explore approaches to defining a vision and pathway forward for a UWinnipeg Library of the 21st Century.

The goal is to create a learning commons with enhanced space that preserves collections of all kinds, including archival space for the University’s Gallery 1C03, Archeology and United Church archives. Library redevelopment would include consideration for social sharing space, community space, support for faculty, a knowledge repository for faculty output, visual impact, and the ability to preserve materials in a responsible way.

There is also a need to improve safety and address the lack of physical accessibility. Repairs and maintenance issues are also significant.

Work-Integrated Learning

Work-integrated learning builds workforce capabilities, as well as the skills and individual prospects of students as members of the community and Canada’s labour force.

In an interconnected global economy, a diverse, well-educated, and highly skilled workforce is critical not only to innovation, productivity, and economic growth but also to maximizing human potential. Work-integrated learning is strongly endorsed by universities as well as employers and community partners as an important component of the overall student experience. Many UWinnipeg students take part in co-op programs, internships, field placements, or some other form of experiential learning or “work-integrated learning”. Our goal is to expand students’ access to experiential opportunities by offering new programs within a variety of departments.

How Do I Become Involved?

By making a gift or pledge

All gifts are tax deductible. For more information about the tax advantages of charitable giving, click here [PDF].