On Tuesday, 1 November 2011, the St. Paul’s High School community bestowed its highest honour, the Ignatian Challenge Award, to His Excellency Gary Doer ’66. Mr. Doer humbly accepted his award at the 18th Annual Tribute Dinner in front of a crowd of close to 1,100 friends, colleagues and fellow alumni at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
In accepting the award, Mr. Doer credited his alma mater for forming him and other young men into Men for Others, teaching them to act with “integrity, honesty, with passion and the belief in community and with love for your fellow human being.” Mr. Doer spoke highly of his days as a St. Paul’s student, the Jesuit training he received and the lifelong friendships he cultivated – even proclaiming St. Paul’s the “greatest high school in Canada.” His lifelong friend and previous Ignatian Challenge Award recipient, Mr. James Tennant ’66, introduced Mr. Doer with anecdotes of their time at St. Paul’s while Mr. Mark Chipman ’78 spoke of Mr. Doer’s accomplishments as Premier and the difference he has made to the Province of Manitoba.
In his address, Fr. Alan Fogarty, S.J., St Paul’s High School President, praised Mr. Doer’s service to his community, which he noted as a central tenant of Jesuit education. “St. Paul’s works in a discerning and focused way to bring God to our students so that they can become people of competence, conscience, compassion and faith” explained Fr. Fogarty. He thanked Mr. Doer not only for his work as Premier of Manitoba and in his role as Ambassador, noting that the night was in “honour of his many achievements in the area of service, for and in the care of others, [and] in his personal and community focused campaign for a better world.”
Prior to taking up his current position as Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Doer served as Premier of Manitoba for ten years, winning three elections with successive increased majorities. His government introduced balanced budgets while reducing taxes. He worked extensively with U.S. Governors to enhance Canada- U.S. cooperation on trade, agriculture, water protection, climate change and renewable energy. In 2005, he was named by Business Week as one of the top 20 international leaders on climate change. During his time as Premier, he led strategic investments in health care, education and training and infrastructure.
The Ignatian Challenge Award Tribute Dinner, which raises money for the St. Paul’s High School Bursary Endowment Fund, is the School’s annual fundraising gala where friends and alumni of St. Paul’s honour those who live with integrity to embody the Mission and Vision of the School. Mr. Shawn Alwis ’00, Director of Advancement & Alumni Affairs, thanked sponsors and attendees for their support of the event and the 2011 Tribute Dinner Committee, chaired by Mr. Tony Demarin ’84 and Ms Virginia Robertson, for their efforts in helping to make the evening a huge success for St. Paul’s High School and the Bursary Program: “Tonight, your support of this 18th Ignatian Challenge Award Tribute Dinner helps to ensure that we keep our promise to maintain the accessibility of a Jesuit education in Manitoba. Tonight we are both humbled and honoured by your support.”
Additional revenue for the Bursary Fund was raised through the 2011 RBC Tribute Dinner Raffle. This year’s prizes totalled over $30,000. Tickets were one for $100 or three for $250. Raffle sponsors Mr. Martin Thibodeau from the Royal Bank of Canada and Mrs. Tina Jones of the Tolaini Family joined Mr. Alwis on stage to draw the night’s seven prizes. In total, 773 tickets were sold – a tremendous show of support from the evening’s attendees.