Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Order of Canada

I was visiting my home town of Winnipeg last week and I learned that one of my good friends from University of Manitoba days, Susan Glass, was awarded The Order of Canada last July. The Order of Canada is an honour for merit. It is the highest such order administered by the Governor General on behalf of the Queen. Created in 1967, to coincide with the centennial of Canada's Confederation, the three-tiered order was established as a fellowship that recognizes the achievement of outstanding merit or distinguished service by Canadians, through life-long contributions in every field of endeavour, and who made a major difference to Canada, as well as the efforts made by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions. Membership is thus accorded to those who exemplify the order's Latin motto taken from Hebrews 11:16, desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "they desire a better country."

Susan's contributions have mostly been in the Arts. She is a western Canadian at heart. After attending schools in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Vancouver, BC, New York, NY, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, she attended the University of Manitoba graduating with a bachelor of commerce degree in 1967. 

In 2000 Susan chaired the third annual Canadian Arts Summit held at The Banff Centre, after having participated in the first two fledgling years as the Summit began to take shape as a forum for the 40 largest arts organizations in Canada.

Serving on the Board of Directors of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for 13 years, she chaired that board from 1995 to 1998 and continues to chair its Major Gifts Committee.Her continuing degree of commitment to that organization reflects her belief in the integral pride of place that the RWB occupies in the image and identity of Winnipeg.

Susan currently is a national governor of the Shaw Festival. Other voluntary directorships have included the University of Manitoba board of governors, St. Boniface General Hospital, St. Boniface General Hospital Research Foundation, Canadian Club of Winnipeg, and the University of Manitoba Alumni Association. She is also involved with fundraising for the Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art in Winnipeg in their new building campaign.

I know most of this from "Googling" my friend. She is down-to-earth and extremely humble and rarely mentions what she is doing, always deeply interested in her friends and their families. In fact I learned of her award by chance from another friend who mentioned it in passing.

I write about Susan to honour her in my own small way and say thanks to her for all the work she does in her city and in Canada.

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