The University of Winnipeg



Autumn Convocation

Event honors Graduates & Award Recipients, Confers HD on Mennonite Documentary Filmmaker Otto Klassen

WINNIPEG, MB – Graduation is a time for celebrating outstanding achievements. The University of Winnipeg welcomes family, friends and the public to honour the graduating class of the eighty-fifth convocation. Chancellor H. Sanford Riley, President & Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy, the Board of Regents, University Senate and Alumni Association extend congratulations to the graduates as they join the more than 40,000 University of Winnipeg alumni around the world.

Autumn Convocation takes place 2:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007 at The University of Winnipeg’s Duckworth Centre (Spence Street at Ellice Avenue), with degrees being conferred in Theology, Marriage & Family Therapy, Science, Education, and Arts.

A number of distinguished award winners will be honored by The University of Winnipeg at this year’s Autumn Convocation:

  • Otto Klassen will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by The University of Winnipeg for his contribution to the annals of Mennonite history as a successful and internationally-respected documentary filmmaker. Through more than 50 documentaries, Klassen has made the life stories and history of Mennonites in Canada and around world accessible to a wide audience. In his filmmaking, Klassen has brought to light rare archival footage from North America and Europe and performed a valuable community service by giving voice and picture to the Mennonite history. Not formally educated after grade seven, Klassen discovered his creative voice and found his artistic focus through keen observation, extensive reading, diligent self study and life experience – including his knowledge of six languages. Klassen’s films tell the story of the Mennonite people of Russia, Paraguay, Mexico and Canada. He exhibits careful attention to detail in every project he undertakes and is a diligent researcher, historian and scholar in his own right. By telling the stories of his people, Klassen has ensured that generations of Mennonites and non-Mennonites can learn about the historical trials, suffering and survival of the Mennonite people over the last century.
  • Jim Silver, BA (Hons.), MA, PhD Professor and Chair of the Politics Department and Co-director of the Urban and Inner-City Studies Program, is the recipient of the Erica and Arnold Rogers Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship for his prolific scholarly work and significant research on inner-city and urban Aboriginal issues. Silver’s research has garnered respect across Canada and, most importantly, by community members with whom he works in his research. His stellar publication record includes more than 100 books, book chapters, monographs and papers on urban Aboriginal community development, inner-city issues, Winnipeg and Manitoba’s political economy, urban poverty and public policy. His most recent book In Their Own Voices was nominated for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. He played a central role in developing UWinnipeg’s Aboriginal Governance and Urban and Inner-City Studies programs and has received several large Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants including, as co-investigator, two recent $1-million grants for research on inner-city transformation in Winnipeg, and a grant for research comparing revitalization of inner-city neighborhoods across Canada. Silver has also been instrumental in establishing a very significant research institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba, which has contributed significantly to public policy research in the province. Silver serves as a role model for effective, community-based and politically significant research. The Erica and Arnold Rogers Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship was established by Erica and Arnold Rogers, friends of The University of Winnipeg. Dr. Rogers was a medical doctor who, together with his wife Erica, valued the contribution by faculty members to research and scholarship. All members of the University faculty, many of whom have received national and international recognition for excellence in the research community, are eligible.
  • Howard Mathieson, BA, B.Ed. will be inducted into Fellowship in United College. Mathieson was a student at The Collegiate and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from UWinnipeg in 1968. In 1970, he began teaching at The Collegiate and since then has contributed greatly to The Collegiate and University life and governance. In addition to teaching courses in Economics and Geography, he pioneered personal computer courses at The Collegiate. As well, he organized The Collegiate athletic programs and coached Collegiate basketball teams for several years. Mathieson served as Dean of the Collegiate from 1986-1989 and was known to be approachable and easygoing. He contributed to university governance as a member of The Collegiate faculty team that negotiated the first contract with The University of Winnipeg and continued to serve on the UWFA Collegiate unit and participate many times in negotiations. He also represented The Collegiate on the Pension Committee and the Senate for many years. Mathieson retired in 2000 after serving the Collegiate for three decades and contributing greatly to the academic and athletic fabric of The Collegiate.

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Located in the heart of downtown, The University of Winnipeg is a compact, diverse, multi-cultural academic community committed to access and excellence. Home to more than 9,200 full- and part-time students, UWinnipeg has been ranked by our graduates in the Top-10 of all Canadian universities when asked about their “Entire Educational Experience” (MacLean’s Graduate Survey, June 2006). The Globe & Mail Report Card 2006 gives the University of Winnipeg an overall “A” grade in the areas of quality of education, teaching quality, class sizes, faculty-student interaction and the availability of faculty outside of classroom hours. Find out why. Visit

Ilana Simon, Communications Officer, University of Winnipeg
P: 204.786.9930, C: 204.782.3279, E: