WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg will pay tribute to Charles (Charlie) Coffey, at the 2012 Duff Roblin Award Dinner, to be held Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at The Fort Garry Hotel. Coffey is this year’s recipient of The Duff Roblin Award, which recognizes outstanding Manitobans for their commitment to education and community.
“Winnipeg and Manitoba will forever hold a very special place in my heart” said Coffey. “My passion to support education and early child development, help Aboriginal peoples, champion women entrepreneurs, as well as push the diversity agenda mostly started right here. Today, this city and province continues to thrive, and it’s obvious The University of Winnipeg and The University of Winnipeg Foundation are playing an innovative leadership role in making things happen.”
Coffey started his 44-year career with RBC in his native Woodstock, New Brunswick. He is the former Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs and Business Development. Prior to that position, Coffey headed business banking in Canada for five years. He also led three regional headquarters: Manitoba, Metro Toronto and Ontario. 1989, the year Coffey moved to Winnipeg to lead the bank’s Manitoba operations, became a pivotal point in his career. Coffey decided early on to speak up about the education, economic, cultural and social issues impacting Aboriginal peoples/communities and keeping them from taking their rightful place in Canadian society – and he continues to do so to this day.
Coffey’s commitment to community has earned him special honours and appointments. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs named him an Honourary Chief for his support of First Nations, economic development and self-sufficiency. He also received the Canadian Women’s International Business Initiative Award for RBC from the Canadian Embassy in the United States, the Award of Distinction from the Public Affairs Association of Canada, the Humanitarian Award for Community Service from Yorktown Family Services (Toronto), and The Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development Medal. This year he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Honourary Doctor of Laws degrees were conferred upon Coffey by Trent University (2006), McMaster University (2009) and Ryerson University (2011) for his extraordinary contribution to society through community leadership. Charlie’s honourary citizen of Winnipeg designation, presented to him by the late Mayor Bill Norrie in 1992, is one that he wears with tremendous pride. Coffey is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Proceeds and gifts related to the Duff Roblin Award Dinner will go towards the Duff Roblin Scholars Fund. This fund provides Graduate Fellowships in the Indigenous Governance and Master’s of Development Practice programs at The University of Winnipeg. Its aim is to enhance educational opportunities for Manitoba’s Indigenous population.
The inaugural Duff Roblin Award was named in honour of and presented to The Honourable Duff Roblin in 2007. This prestigious award recognizes a recipient’s qualities as an outstanding Manitoban, a patron of education, and someone who demonstrates exemplary citizenship and life-long commitment to his or her community. Past recipients include Tom Jackson (2008), Kerry Hawkins (2009) and Edward S. Kennedy (2011).