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Robynne B. Kazina [BSW/02] was appointed judge of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench of Manitoba (Family Division) in Winnipeg.

Tracey Martin [BComm(Hons)/98] has been named the new CEO of Kids Cancer Care in Calgary.

Dr. Jayelle Friesen-Enns [BSc/17, MSc/23, MD/23]Co-founder of the Indigenous Medical Students' Association of Canada, is a recipient of a 2024 Indspire Award.

Michael Pierre [BSc/01] has been appointed Executive Director, Indigenous Services, in the Province of Manitoba's Corporate and Strategic Services Division.

Karen Denise Cyr [BA/93] became the new CEO of CW Wiebe Medical Center in Winkler, Man.

Out of Grace Nickel [BFA/80]: “I traveled to Portugal in September 2024 for my inauguration at the International Academy of Ceramics. The IAC is a highly respected international organization that promotes intercultural activities in ceramics on a global level. She is particularly committed to bringing visibility and awareness to ceramic artists and organizations from countries that are chronically underserved. I am very happy to be part of this cohort.

I am the first Manitoban to be accepted and only the 18th Canadian to be admitted. I look forward to participating and contributing to this important international body that sees ceramics as a unifying agent that leads to peaceful and positive exchanges between different cultures and countries at a critical time when, unfortunately, the opposite is often the case is.”

Olympic champion Jennifer Jones [BA/96, LLB/99, LLD/17] retired from team curling in February 2024 and shot her final rock at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Physical education teacher Bryan Vermeylen [BPE/04, BEd/06] brings unique circus arts programs to the local curriculum at St. James-Assiniboia School Division.

Somia Sadiq [BEnvSc(Hons)/07, MNRM/17]Founder of Narratives, won the Fall 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year award from The Women Business Owners of Manitoba.

Jen Sonneberg [BFA(Hons)/08, BEd/16] was declared the winner of CBC's reality series The Great Canadian Pottery Throw.

Iris Meck [BSA/78, ExtEd/88] was honored with a Lifetime Achiever Award at the 2024 Women in Ag Awards.

The Métis artistry and multidisciplinary talent of Emma Mayer [BFA(Hons)/88] was exhibited in April at the Ace Art Inc. gallery in Winnipeg's Exchange District as part of a MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women's Art) exhibition.

Emma Hill Kepron [BA(Adv)/03]Associate Dean of Libraries at the University of Winnipeg, has achieved great success Danger and was also included in Ace Burpee's list of the 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans of 2023.

Out of Dr. Allen Jones [MSc/92]: “I started writing and drawing The hidden zoo within you during the pandemic after realizing the extent of misinformation about the coronavirus. I wanted to explain and demystify the language of medicine to my patients in my current practice and hope that Hidden Zoo can do the same for the general public.”


Klaus Hochheim [MA/95, PhD/03] was a research scientist at UM's Center for Earth Observation Science when he died in a helicopter accident in the Arctic in September 2013. He loved photography and left behind a collection of images that reveal his unique view of the North.

From his wife Martha Hochheim: “I am hosting a photography exhibition of Klaus' work at the Canadian Mennonite University Gallery in Winnipeg this summer as part of the ten-year commemoration of his tragic death (the grand opening is June 21st and the exhibition runs until August 31st). I worked with gallery curator Sarah Hodges-Kolisnyk to share his stunning photographs. The photos will be completely new for everyone. CMU Press is also publishing an artistic book on this work. In Sarah's words: “In the tradition of modernist photographers like Minor White or Edward Burynsky, Ice Cream: Moments shares a first-hand perspective that eschews colonial, expeditionary views of the circumpolar and Antarctic regions and instead offers an intimate, personal artistic and documentary perspective on life on ice.”

Couple Paige [BSc(Agric)/09] And Marcus Dueck [BSc(Agric)/07] of Four Oak Farms in Kleefeld, Manitoba, have been named Manitoba's 2024 Outstanding Young Farmers of the Year.

Disha Naik [BSc/18] became India's first female airport firefighter. In 2021, she joined the Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting Unit at Manohar International Airport.

Mainak Singha [PhD/23] gave an insightful question and answer session about his interest in supermassive black holes and his work for NASA.

Best friends Hayley Johnston [BComm(Hons)/13] And Thao Lam [BComm(Hons)/16] launched Toasti Bean, offering coffee with unique flavors.

engineer Mel Hosain [MSc/63], professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, was honored with an Alumni Service Award from the Engineering Advancement Trust. It is the latest of many awards for Hosain.

He writes about his time in Winnipeg at UM: “I am very proud that UM is my alma mater. I landed in Winnipeg on October 2, 1961, a few days late because I had received a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship due to a last-minute cancellation and it took a little more time to complete the paperwork. I learned to ice skate on the Red River. I spent the summer of 1962 with the Hunter family in a house on Jessie Avenue. The older boy, Robert, of course, later became famous as the co-founder of Green Peace. I have good memories of Winnipeg, forty degrees below zero and all that.”

Out of Steve LaDochy [PhD/85]: “I recently published a book Fire and Rain: California's Changing Weather and Climate This might interest your readers. Speaking of rain, we get buckets in Southern California.”

Dr. Joss Reimer [MD/08/MPH/13]Chief Medical Officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and new President of the Canadian Medical Association, received the 2024 PAX Award from Canadian Mennonite University.

Out of Janice Kehler [DipPT/76,BPT/83,MSc/88]: “I published a book in November 2023 called Ode to Olympic dreams– my coming-of-age story as an Olympic hopeful in the 1970s. While I was preparing for the Olympics, I was also a student in the Rehabilitation Science program at the University of Manitoba. I graduated with a diploma in 1976 and completed my BA in 1983. My memoir hybrid is a collection of personal essays that tell the story in later years of one of my teachers, Miss James, who had a life-changing influence on my career as both an Olympian and a physical therapist. I would like to share this experience with alumni.”

The following notable alumni will be honored as recipients of the University of Manitoba's 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award: Steve Kroft [BA/88] (life's work), Dr. Joss Reimer [MD/2008, MPH/2013] (professional performance), Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov [MD/83, PhD/98] (Academic Innovation), Michael Robertson [BA/98, MArch/2004] (civil service), Chimwemwe Undi [BA(Adv)/2016, JD/2020] (Outstanding Young Alumni)

Valerie Shantz [MPAdm/2010, ExtEd/2014] became the new executive director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Shantz attended the very first festival in 1974 with her parents and has been a regular visitor ever since.

Former mayor of Winnipeg Brian Bowman [BA(ADV)/96)] was appointed to the Court of King's Bench in December 2023.

Gerry Price [BSc/70, MSc/72, LLD/2017]Chairman and CEO of Price Industries, has been named the recipient of the 2024 International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award (IDEA), presented by the Associates of the Asper School of Business at UM.

Charles CJ Prober [BComm(Hons)/94] has been named CEO of California-based Netgear Inc., a Silicon Valley hardware technology company.

Joanne Crozier [BID/91] conducted research into the experiences of metro Vancouver women working from home during the pandemic as part of her master's thesis, revealing new design considerations that could impact home design – particularly in smaller homes – as the Developing a post-pandemic workforce to include a larger proportion of remote employees. Her dissertation, “Mothers with Inventions: How the Experiences of Women Working from Home During COVID-19 Could Reshape the Home Environment,” was summarized in an article published in the Interior Design Magazine.

* Send your course note to alumnirelations [at] umanitoba [dot] ca // Submissions may be edited for length, clarity and style

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