The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg budget woes resolved by President’s Office lotto pool win

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg will present a balanced operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year to its Board of Regents thanks to a fortuitous cash influx. The winning $2.5 million Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in early March through the President’s Office staff lottery pool at a West End convenience store will help to offset a projected 2014/15 operating deficit.

The unconventional funding will — for one year — bridge the widening gap between UWinnipeg’s operating costs and its revenues, which are constricted by a smaller per-student provincial operating grant relative to other Manitoba universities, as well as by Manitoba’s current tuition fee policies. The lucky lotto win also will provide temporary relief on annual budgetary pressure exerted by increased pension expenses for UWinnipeg’s closed Defined Benefit Plan.

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, UWinnipeg President and Vice-chancellor discovered the win on Saturday night when he found the crumpled ticket in his pocket and checked the numbers on his iPhone while waiting backstage to present an award at the 2014 JUNO Gala Dinner. His subsequent proposal to apply the prize money towards the University’s budgetary shortfall was unveiled at a senior executive group meeting yesterday and drew a standing ovation.

“Throughout his tenure as president over the last decade, Dr. Axworthy has demonstrated exceptional leadership and an unwavering commitment to this university. We have just witnessed yet another example of it, and we are grateful to him and his staff for their generosity,” said Bill Balan, UWinnipeg’s Vice-President, Finance & Administration and Chief Administrative Officer.

Mike Emslie, Associate VP of Finance and Operations cautioned that the lottery windfall is but a stopgap that masks the foundational budgetary issue: an historic imbalance that sees UWinnipeg funded at a much lower rate than similarly-sized institutions across Canada. Without a meaningful change to its base grant, and having exhausted cost-cutting measures, UWinnipeg will need to seriously examine lottery ticket purchases as a revenue strategy going forward.

“On behalf of the entire UWinnipeg community, I commend the President’s Office staff on their selflessness. This magnanimous gesture benefits many and supports the bright future of our institution,” said Dr. Neil Besner, UWinnipeg’s Provost and VP-Academic and International. “In this context, I am now embarrassed to admit that when we won fifty dollars in our own office lottery pool last year, we just used the money to buy lunch at Elements, the restaurant on the campus.”


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