The University of Winnipeg



Master of Public Administration Program celebrates 50 years

Group photo of current student cohort.

Current students in the Joint Master of Public Administration Program gather for a group photo at the Fort Garry Hotel on November 23. Dr. Paul Thomas said diverse student backgrounds are a driver of the program’s enduring success.

A joint master’s degree program whose graduates have populated the ranks of the public service in Manitoba and beyond is celebrating its approaching 50th anniversary with the creation of a new scholarship campaign.

Faculty, staff, students, and honoured guests filled the Fort Garry Hotel’s La Verendrye Room on November 23 to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Joint Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program.

The MPA professors and staff have all been superb at providing us with the necessary tools to succeed.

Matthew McConnell

The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Political Science and the University of Manitoba’s Department of Political Studies jointly offer the program. Many graduates of the program go on to distinguished careers in Manitoba’s public service.

The Hon. Adrien Sala, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for Manitoba’s Public Service, brought greetings on behalf of the Government of Manitoba. The Hon. Renée Cable, Minister of Advanced Education and Training, was also in attendance.

Dr. Todd Mondor, President and Vice-Chancellor of UWinnipeg, and Dr. Michael Benarroch, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, praised the institutional collaboration that has made the MPA program an enduring success.

A new 50th anniversary scholarship campaign was launched at the event. A committee, comprised of students and alumni, will oversee setup of the scholarship, which is accepting donations online.

Equipping future leaders

Matthew McConnell was announced as the 2023 recipient of the Paul Thomas Award, given annually to the incoming MPA student with highest grade-point average. McConnell was born and raised in Winnipeg and entered the MPA program after completing a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in psychology at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Paul Thomas presents Matthew McConnell with the 2023 Paul Thomas Award.

Dr. Paul Thomas presents Matthew McConnell with the 2023 Paul Thomas Award.

“The MPA professors and staff have all been superb at providing us with the necessary tools to succeed, such as co-op job opportunities, fabulous policy workshops, exciting program elective options, and personal support,” he said. “I owe my success thus far in the program to my thoughtful and generous MPA family, who have been essential to my motivation and passion for public policy.”

McConnell said he hopes to work in a government department responsible for education, mental health, or related social services.

The award’s namesake, Dr. Paul Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba, recalled the origins of the MPA program, which he co-developed in the early 1970s.

Dr. Thomas said three factors have contributed to the MPA program’s longevity and vibrancy: diverse student backgrounds, committed staff and faculty, and course content that “blends theory and practice in just the right ways” through interdisciplinary courses, applied research projects, and co-op placements.

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