Qualico’s Ruth Hastings Receives Honour for Her Philanthropic Efforts and Lifelong Commitment to Education
Winnipeg, MB – Qualico’s Ruth Hastings received the 2023 Duff Roblin Award from The University of Winnipeg and its Foundation for her philanthropic efforts in the community and commitment to lifelong learning. Ruth accepted the award at the 15th Annual Duff Roblin Award Dinner, a fundraising gala event, held on November 9 at The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre.
The Duff Roblin Award is presented to outstanding Manitobans who are patrons of education and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship and a lifelong commitment to their communities.
Qualico’s President & CEO, Kevin Van, shared that this aligns with Qualico’s purpose of Helping Build Better Cities. When speaking to the impact of Ruth’s contributions to education, he reflected that a sign of a healthy and growing city is one that is filled with motivated, confident talent. Qualico wants students to feel supported in contributing to the city with their degrees and learned skills.
“To positively support and change this city, and ultimately the world, we need to be world-class – and we need a world-class community of support,” said Kevin. “We are truly honoured to have Ruth recognized against the backdrop of such a sound and important organization.
The University of Winnipeg and its Foundation established the award in 2007, with the inaugural recipient being The Honourable Duff Roblin, former premier of Manitoba who signed the Charter that established The University of Winnipeg as a degree-granting institution. Ruth has a long-standing connection to The University of Winnipeg, as she is an alumnus of both the collegiate and the university.
“Believing in the importance of learning throughout your life is a value passed down to Ruth from her parents, and I know that Premier Duff Roblin was an important figure and friend to Ruth and Brian [Hastings],” said Kevin. “Ruth is family and one of my business mentors. I can’t think of a more deserving person of this award.”
Ruth’s philanthropic spirit and support of education and the greater community was instilled in her by her parents. Dr. David Friesen, her father and Qualico co-founder, founded Menno Simons College – of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and affiliated with The University of Winnipeg – to preserve the family’s Mennonite values and promote education at the same time. When recalling this connection, Ruth shared that it is fitting for her family to do their part to support places for people to learn, open their minds, accept and understand history, and discover ways to improve our world and connections to each other.
Ruth has been passionate about giving back to the community and has sat on the boards and fundraising committees. Over the past 10 years, she has championed the Build A Future Campaign for Habitat For Humanity Manitoba’s Women Build, where her leadership and initiative have helped raise over $500,000 and build 10 homes for homeowners, primarily single mothers.
The 15th Annual Duff Roblin Award Dinner saw a sold-out attendance, while proceeds from the gala event go towards both the Duff Roblin Scholars and Fellowships in Indigenous Governance and the Opportunity Fund.
The Duff Roblin Scholars and Fellowships in Indigenous Governance support students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance and Master’s in Development Practice programs. To be eligible, students must demonstrate financial need and exhibit academic promise.
The Opportunity Fund is designed to assist students who are traditionally under-represented in higher education (Indigenous students, recent newcomers to Canada, refugees, mature students, and those who are first in their family to attend university).
On November 9th at the 15th Annual Duff Roblin Award Dinner, Ruth spoke and shared a few words about how these programs support a full circle of influence. She acknowledged how the funds raised throughout this event will support learning centres and inclusive programming for youth and low-income families, alleviate financial barriers for under-represented students enrolling in post-secondary education, and help students at the graduate level pursuing their master’s as well.
Congratulations to Ruth on the honours and award recognition for her continued impact on the community and future generations of students; and congratulations to the students who will benefit from the programs funded by the 15th Annual Duff Roblin Award Dinner.
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