On November 9, 2023, the University of Winnipeg Foundation hosted its 15th annual Duff Roblin Award Dinner. Gathered at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre downtown, over 300 guests celebrated the incredible career of Ruth Hastings, President and CEO of Qualico and Rancho and this year’s Duff Roblin Award recipient. Thanks to many sponsors and all those in attendance, dinner proceeds totalled $150,000.
Established in 2007, the Duff Roblin Award recognizes outstanding Manitobans who, like the inaugural recipient, the Hon. Duff Roblin, are patrons of education and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship and a lifelong commitment to their communities. Funds raised support the University’s Opportunity Fund Bursaries, Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, and Duff Roblin Scholars Fund.
“Much of what the Foundation has been able to achieve in supporting these initiatives has come from the generous individuals and corporate sponsors who attend the dinner year after year,” said Danny Bubis, Dinner Committee Chair. “Every dinner is an opportunity to celebrate an incredible member of our community, showcase our progress as stewards of their generosity, and connect with those who help us reach our goals as fundraisers.”
A dedicated philanthropist throughout much of her working career, Hastings supports a long list of organizations at home and abroad. In addition to her longtime support of UWinnipeg students and student-athletes, she has also helped support organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba, Habitat for Humanity, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Premier Wab Kinew, a graduate of both UWinnipeg and the Collegiate, brought greetings on behalf of the Province of Manitoba. He thanked Hastings for her incredible service to Manitoba and highlighted his close connection to campus, voicing his support for the programs sustained by the Duff Roblin Dinner and the many students in attendance.
“As a full-time Indigenous student pursuing my Master’s in Development Practice, the support from UWinnipeg’s awards program, including the Duff Roblin Scholars fund, has lessened my financial burden,” said Shane Patterson, a UWinnipeg Graduate Student. “This opportunity has allowed me to focus on my studies completely. These supports help students to do well, study hard, and carve out a pathway of success, creating awesome opportunities for their academic and life goals. I am full of gratitude for donors who care about my education, making the future promising and encouraging. Setting up a person for success in this world allows them to utilize their skills and knowledge as transferable, practical, and tangible talents that can make the individual a better person and the world a better place.”
Sportscaster and journalist Scott Oake was the emcee for the evening. Sherri Walsh, incoming Foundation Board Chair, introduced this year’s honoree while Danny Bubis, Chair of the Dinner Committee and the Foundation’s Investment Committee, highlighted the Foundation’s growth and success since its inception. Rev. Stefan Jonasson, UWinnipeg Board of Regents Chair, congratulated Hastings on her philanthropic efforts and success at the helm of her family business.
In her remarks upon receiving the award, Hastings emphasized the important role post-secondary education plays in the success of young adults and in the health of our city—echoing the priorities that guided Premier Roblin’s efforts as a patron of education in Manitoba. She credited her ever-growing interest in giving and longtime support of the University’s awards program to her parents, who helped instill a sense of gratitude and philanthropy that has continued to guide her interests as a donor and leader at Qualico.
“The Duff Roblin Dinner provides a truly special opportunity for our campus and friends to come together every year to recognize leaders who have dedicated their time, talent, and resources to improve the communities around them,” said Javier Schwersensky, Foundation President and CEO. “Ruth Hastings exemplifies the extraordinary qualities represented by the Duff Roblin Award and we couldn’t be more proud to honour her.”