UWinnipeg celebrates the Susan A. Thompson Building
The University of Winnipeg celebrates the recent naming of the Susan A. Thompson Building at 510 Main Street, formerly known as the City of Winnipeg’s Administration Building. Earlier this month, Winnipeg’s City Council voted unanimously in favor of the renaming of the building. Thompson has a strong connection to her city and her alma mater, UWinnipeg. She is an accomplished leader in business, politics, and philanthropic fundraising and has been a tireless contributor to her community.
This past spring Thompson received the province’s highest honour, the Order of Manitoba, and was also recognized by UWinnipeg with an Honorary Doctor of Laws for her many successes built on hard work, integrity, and a commitment to her city, province, and country.
“This has been a tremendous year of recognition for Susan and long overdue,” said Brian Daly, President and CEO, The University of Winnipeg Foundation. “I am so pleased to see her many legacies being honored in so many meaningful ways. On behalf of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff, past and present, I offer my sincere congratulations.”
In 2003, Thompson returned to her alma mater to become the founding President and CEO of The University of Winnipeg Foundation. With her profound gift for donor stewardship and approach to tackling large fundraising goals one donation at a time, she led the Foundation as its endowment grew from $21 to $38 million, and as more than $135 million was raised in the A World of Opportunity Capital Campaign.
A graduate of both The University of Winnipeg Collegiate (’67) and UWinnipeg (’71), Thompson began her successful retail career as an international buyer at Eaton’s and The Bay before she became the first woman to own her family’s business: Birt Saddlery. After purchasing it from her father in 1980, she served as owner and president for 15 years.
In 1992, Thompson was the first and only woman ever elected to serve as Mayor of Winnipeg. During her two terms, she led the city through the 1997 Flood of the Century — one of the biggest crises to hit Winnipeg in 100 years. She also led successful bids for the 1995 Winter Cities International Conference, the 1998 Canadian Briar Curling Championship, the 1998 World Junior Hockey Championship, the 1998 Grey Cup, the 1999 Pan American games, and the 2001 World Indigenous Games.
In 1999, as Canadian Consul General in Minneapolis, Thompson served an eight-state territory consisting of 15-million people and $32 billion in Canada-US trade. She later served as a Special Advisor of Canada-U.S. Relations for the Department of Foreign Affairs.