On June 13, The University of Winnipeg celebrated one of the most successful scholarship campaigns in its recent history and the creation of the Susan A. Thompson Scholarship for Women in Leadership.
Inspired by the legacy of Susan Thompson, LLD, O.M., as Winnipeg’s first female mayor, campaign co-chairs and close friends Elba Haid, Doris Mae Oulton, and Carol Bellringer sought to establish a scholarship that would help provide for the next generation of female leaders at UWinnipeg. Under their leadership and with the help of The University of Winnipeg Foundation, the Scholarship Committee raised more than $318,000 in just over a year of campaigning.
“For those of us who have stayed close to Susan over the course of her career, from her beginnings as owner of Birt Saddlery to the incredible achievements she was able to direct as President and CEO of the Foundation, it felt like a fitting way to honour a woman who has done so much for Winnipeg,” said Haid on behalf of the co-chairs. “We wanted to see her existing legacy as a female leader put to good use—supporting future leaders at UWinnipeg and making sure the world of tomorrow has plenty of aspiring young women ready to fill leading roles across the country was our goal since day one of this campaign.”
The second award that holds Dr. Thompson as its namesake, the new scholarship will be used to support a female student in any area of study who is pursuing or has future aspirations of serving in a leadership role within their community.
“Many of us have been inspired by strong women leaders like Dr. Susan Thompson, an inspiring leader and supporter of The University of Winnipeg who has lent her name and legacy to this scholarship,” said Dr. Todd Mondor, President and Vice-Chancellor. “This scholarship will provide more opportunities for aspiring female students to achieve their potential as leaders. The generosity of donors and committed volunteers will bring important perspectives and a diversity of views to a variety of leadership roles in our city, province, and the world.”
Lead donors to the campaign include Louise Leatherdale, Dr. H. Sanford Riley, Dr. Leonard Asper, John Prystanski, Carol Bellringer, and Greg Doyle. Louise Leatherdale was in attendance and was honoured for her $134,000 contribution to the scholarship, which kick started the campaign and ensured its success.
“Scholarships that are met with such enthusiasm from our community often speak to the longstanding interest that our donors have in supporting student success at every level. Our Foundation team members are often among the first to see just how important initiatives like this are to those who give. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all who gave over the course of this campaign—know that your generosity has helped strengthen a legacy that will support female students at UWinnipeg for generations to come” said Javier Schwersensky, President and CEO, The University of Winnipeg Foundation.
As part of the celebration, the scholarship’s inaugural recipient, Meagan Dutka, shared a message of gratitude for the donors and volunteers, highlighting the impact the scholarship has had on her academic career. Dutka is a fourth-year student majoring in both Human Rights Studies and Conflict Resolution.