Twelve Manitobans, whose contributions encompass a broad range of endeavours and accomplishments, will soon receive the Order of Manitoba, the province’s highest honour. The investiture ceremony will be held at 4 p.m., Thursday, July 18 in Room 200 in the Manitoba Legislative Building.
The Order of Manitoba was established in 1999 to honour Manitobans who have demonstrated excellence and achievement, thereby enriching the social, cultural or economic well-being of the province and its residents.
“The 2019 Order of Manitoba members have each demonstrated excellence and a passionate commitment to making the world a better place, at the local, national and international levels,” said Lt.-Gov. Janice C. Filmon, chancellor of the order, who will preside over the ceremony. “As community leaders and role models, they are as inspirational as they are accomplished.”
Appointments to the order are made by the chancellor, based on the recommendations of an advisory council. Order members are entitled to use the initials O.M. after their names for life. The list of all Order of Manitoba members is on permanent display in the Legislative Building.
The following Manitobans will be invested at the 2019 ceremony:
Dr. Vivian Bruce – As a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Vivian Bruce was instrumental in conducting the first research exploring the health benefits of canola oil and establishing its unique nutritional properties – an important development in the study of the effects of dietary fat on human health. Working with her research colleague, the late Dr. Bruce MacDonald, she conducted important research with positive ramifications for food science and the economic viability of such key Manitoba crops as flax, canola and sunflowers.
Mr. Marcel Desautels, C.M. – Marcel Desautels is a prominent philanthropist and champion of post-secondary education in Canada. After earning three university degrees, he practised law and held senior positions in government and industry. As president and general manager of Creditel of Canada Limited, he led the company to becoming Canada’s largest business credit information and debt recovery organization. After selling Creditel in 1996, Desautels used the proceeds to establish the Canadian Credit Management Foundation, to fund new, innovative programs at Canadian universities. His gifts to various schools have since totalled more than $100 million.
Mr. James Ehnes, C.M. – Grammy Award-winner James Ehnes is a celebrated concert violinist and one of the most dynamic performers in classical music today. Born and educated in Brandon, he has performed in more than 30 countries, appearing with many of the world’s most famous orchestras and conductors. He began studying violin at the age of four and was a protégé by age nine. Ehnes studied at New York’s Meadowmount School of Music and is an award-winning graduate of the Julliard School. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
Ms. Kathy Hildebrand – A dedicated community volunteer in Winkler for more than 35 years, Kathy Hildebrand is the co-founder and president of Hearth Families Incorporated, an organization established to help new immigrants settle in the community. She has helped many immigrant families obtain basic necessities, while also connecting them with local programs to help them learn English. A past winner of the Premier’s Volunteer Service Award, Hildebrand has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, the Stanley Agricultural Society, community round tables and her church.
Mr. Arvid Loewen – A dedicated athlete and selfless humanitarian, Arvid Loewen retired from his 31-year business career to focus on competitive, long-distance cycling as a means of increasing public awareness of the needs of orphaned African children. Since 1995, Loewen has cycled more than 400,000 kilometres, competing in many world-class, ultra-marathon races. He set a Guinness World Record by cycling from Vancouver to Halifax in only 13 days, six hours and 13 minutes. Inspiring the support of others, he has already raised more than $4 million for the Mully Children’s Family Orphanage in Kenya.
Ms. Barbara Nepinak – A member of the Pine Creek Ojibway First Nation, Barbara Nepinak is a prominent cultural awareness co-ordinator and a member of the Standing Indigenous Advisory Committee of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Fluent in her ancestral languages, she contributes to the process of language reclamation and retention through her work with the Manitoba Association of Native Languages. Nepinak is a past member of the Special Advisory Council to the Winnipeg Police Chief.
Mr. Clarence Nepinak – A member of the Pine Creek Ojibway First Nation, Clarence Nepinak is dedicated to promoting cultural awareness across Canada. He received the Knowledge Keepers Award for his work in preserving and advancing Indigenous culture. Nepinak has served on many boards and councils including the Vancouver-based Healthy Aboriginal Network, the Elders Advisory Council at the University of Winnipeg, the Indigenous Peoples’ Education Circle at Brandon University and the Indigenous Advisory Council for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Mr. Steven Schipper, C.M. – A creative visionary and renowned arts advocate, Steven Schipper is the longest-serving artistic director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (RMTC), having led the organization for 30 years. His talent and collaborative spirit led RMTC onto a sustainable path of fiscal and artistic excellence. During his tenure, RMTC became the first Canadian theatre to receive a royal designation in more than a century. Schipper was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian Theatre and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Ms. Trudy Schroeder – As executive director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), Trudy Schroeder is an arts administrator extraordinaire who succeeded in making the once-struggling WSO profitable for nine consecutive years. She is board president of Orchestras Canada and the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and a member of the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council Task Force on Arts and Culture. Schroeder has received the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Award for Distinguished Service. She initiated, and now manages, the development of the Pantages Project, soon to be a major community centre for the arts.
Mr. Harvey Secter – A community leader, Harvey Secter earned a bachelor of commerce from the University of Manitoba (U of M) in 1967, prior to a 20-year career leading Ricki’s Canada Limited. He later earned his bachelor of law degree from the U of M, and a master of law degree from Harvard University. He taught courses in negotiation and mediation at Harvard, before becoming an instructor, then dean, of the U of M faculty of law. From 2010 to 2019, he was U of M chancellor. Secter was honorary chair of the university’s $500-million Front and Centre campaign, reputed to be the largest philanthropic investment in Manitoba history.
Ms. Joy Smith – A former MLA and MP, Joy Smith is one of Canada’s leading anti-human trafficking activists. During her 11-year tenure in parliament, Smith made Canadian history as the first sitting MP to amend the Criminal Code twice, enacting laws that protect victims and punish their abusers including minimum sentencing guidelines for the trafficking of minors and laws making the purchase of sex illegal in Canada. She also wrote the prototype for the Canadian National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
Dr. Michael West – An internationally renowned physician and researcher, Dr. Michael West succeeded in establishing a centre of neurosurgery excellence in Manitoba. He was the first to introduce gamma knife surgery in Canada, a procedure used to treat conditions, such as brain tumours, that once required more invasive procedures. This technology lets patients recover faster, experience less pain and have fewer post-surgical complications. West is now working with CancerCare Manitoba to develop an extracranial stereostatic body radiation therapy program.