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Dr. Annette Trimbee – In her own words

President & Vice-Chancellor


1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Transcona, as did my mom and dad. I am from a family of six kids and both of my parents were from families with eight kids. Even though there has been some drift to the West, I still have lots of relatives that call Winnipeg home. Both of my brothers and their families live here.

2. During your years in Alberta, what have you missed most about Winnipeg?

The lakes! I have fond memories of incredible daytrips with my family and relatives to Grand Beach, Birds Hill Park, St. Malo and the Whiteshell.

3. What attracted you to want to come back to The University of Winnipeg?

I have a special place in my heart for UWinnipeg. I am a leader because of my experience here. UWinnipeg made it easy for me to decide to attend university. I was under no pressure to go to University, it was not a family tradition and as a middle child from a large family, I was really under no pressure at all for anything. UWinnipeg found me. I got a scholarship without even applying. Combined with a scholarship from the CNR, I didn’t have to worry about money. It was easy to take a bus downtown, most of my classes were teeny and I had very caring professors including my first year Chemistry professor, Dr. Lawrence Swyers. There were fewer than 25 of us in his class and I sometimes thought we were handpicked to be his last class, special for him and very special for us. I graduated with a BSc in Biology and went on to do a PhD and post-doc with the dream of coming back to UWinnipeg to be a Biology professor.

UWinnipeg has a strong reputation that lives up to its brand as a unique and innovative downtown university that connects to community, cares about its students, is committed to academic excellence, has a focus on social justice and is turning out tomorrow’s leaders.

UWinnipeg's commitment to serving Aboriginal students really appeals to me. Like many kids growing up in the 1960s in Winnipeg I was confused about my heritage. My parents both spoke French as their mother tongue but all of their siblings married partners who did not. They stopped speaking French at home before I was born. My grandmother on my dad's side was pretty clear that she was Metis and yet my dad said we were not. I understand my parents’ choices but at the same time do wish times were different and my parents had continued to speak French at home and celebrated our Metis heritage. My Metis grandmother had a huge influence on me.

Students coming to university are not just coming for a credential and skills to go on to graduate school or get a job. They want to be inspired, they want to discover and grow their special talents whether they are a 17 year-old right out of high school or a 50 year-old going back to school. The decision to go to university is more than a practical one, it is a decision of the heart, especially for students that come from families where going to university is not yet a tradition and where going to university can distance you, geographically and emotionally. UWinnipeg gets this and creates a community environment. Time spent at UWinnipeg is life changing.

 4. Why did you leave academia?

I got the policy bug while doing a post-doc at the University of Alberta. As an aquatic ecologist, much of my time was spent collecting data in the field and in labs doing analysis. I got to know people in government for two reasons- they had tons of data, and they had grant money to fund research that was intended to inform public policy. I thought I should figure out what public policy was all about. So I ventured across the river for what I thought would be a short term stint and just really liked it. I liked the people, both civil servants and politicians. And I have had tremendous opportunities to shape public policy in a number of sectors.

5. Tell us about your family.

I am married to Kevin, who is an advanced care paramedic, and we have two adult children - a daughter and a son.  

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MEDIA CONTACT

Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca