Senator Marilou McPhedran, C.M., LL.M., LL.B., LL.D.
Marilou McPhedran was the first girl to be student president of her hometown high school – Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute – the first woman student president at The University of Winnipeg, and student president at Osgoode Hall Law School and she has worked tirelessly on advancing human rights education in Manitoba and internationally. Like Nellie McClung, from Manitoba roots, her interests branched out to national (constitutional) and international human rights concerns, which she shared with her students. Through innovative teaching and experiential learning, she opened the world to her students at the University of Winnipeg Global College, launched by then-president Lloyd Axworthy in 2006.
At the Global College, McPhedran prioritized experiential and interdisciplinary learning in her classroom and in the department as a whole – a progressive approach to post-secondary education. McPhedran was not only a professor, but her students named her their “femtor” who cultivated passion to recognize their strengths in advancing human rights. She provided ample opportunities for her students to explore new ways of learning that challenged their perceptions and encouraged critical thinking and collaboration, such as promoting dialogue and respectful listening as professional skills, rather than oppositional debate and arguments.
McPhedran has been and continues to be a change-maker in our world. As both a senator and professor, she has lived out a dedication to youth engagement that extends far beyond the mere lip service offered by many in positions of influence in our country.