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Alumni director AnnaMaria Toppazzini

e-dition - November 17, 2006

Embracing our Alumni:
Meet Alumni Director AnnaMaria Toppazzini

By Brenda Suderman

As the founding executive director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Manitoba, AnnaMaria Toppazzini (MPA’89) is accustomed to bringing people with diverse interests together in exploring, developing and enhancing business opportunities.

In fact, The University of Winnipeg’s new Director, Alumni Affairs and Advancement Services is so accomplished at building bridges between Canada and Italy that last September, the President of Italy awarded her Dama, Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity). This honour is equivalent to an Italian knighthood.

In her new role, she’s hoping to encourage the university’s nearly 40,000 alumni to see their common connection as a source of future business networks and community building.

“In business, it’s all about trust and it gets easier when similar interests and backgrounds are identified,” says the world traveler, tennis player and oenophile. “I believe that the success and future of any institution is based on its connection with its alumni. The University of Winnipeg’s alumni are our ambassadors in our province, throughout Canada and around the world providing the University vital links with the business, academic, cultural, political and social linkages. We need to work together in building our University and our Province.”

After years away from an academic setting, Toppazzini welcomes the opportunity to be part of the university’s vision of accessibility, growth and openness.

She experienced that openness when taking courses on campus for the joint masters program in public administration. She recalls professors Robert Adie and David Walker in particular: Adie for providing interesting and enlightening perspectives in public administration theory, and Walker in relating theory to practical experience.

One of Toppazzini’s goals is to tap into the demand for English language study opportunities for International university students. After years of regular visits to Europe for her last assignment, Toppazzini sees The University of Winnipeg as uniquely situated with its urban campus, excellent and flexible programming situated in the center of North America to fill that void.

A major priority for the new Director of Alumni and Advancement Services is to engage alumni as The University of Winnipeg gets set to celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

“Most of us have such fond memories of our University years that we welcome the opportunity to return and give back to our alma mater. For many of us, our university experience shaped who we are today and where we are heading towards in the future ” she says.

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