Assiniboine Community College has announced a $1 million donation toward its Prairie Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture from Brandon-founded, national professional services firm, MNP. The donation, made in honour of the late Don Penny, who co-founded the firm in 1958, will help to create space for collaboration among farmers, industry, students and government.
"Don Penny's warmth and charisma made him the consummate people person who was known to lead with both his head and his heart. He believed in people, in discovery, in technology, and in hard work - exactly the activities that will take place in this new Prairie Innovation Centre," said Jason Tuffs, Chairman and CEO of MNP.
A vital part of the Prairie Innovation Centre vision is integrating education and connection, providing a venue where producers, industry, researchers, government and students can come together, solve problems and share ideas.
"With roots in Westman, both Don Penny and MNP, have long been valuable partners to Assiniboine. Don's passion for collaboration and innovation, willingness to share knowledge, and his inspirational leadership align closely with what we are working to achieve with the Prairie Innovation Centre," said Mark Frison, President of Assiniboine.
(Image - The Penny family - submitted)
In 2017, Assiniboine awarded Don Penny its first ever Courage Award for his courage to take risks and pursue a vision that saw a Westman-based firm become a major national leader in accounting, consulting, tax and technology services, all while dedicating himself to community organizations and efforts along the way.
"It will be a pleasure to see his legacy live on through this Centre. Don understood that Canadian agriculture is driven by people working together, and this generous contribution in his honour will be transformational for the agricultural industry and in the lives of so many students," said Frison.
The Prairie Innovation Centre is a one-of-a-kind Canadian college project that will bring together collaborative learning spaces, applied research labs, multipurpose spaces and amenities that will serve both industry and the college community.
"When this opportunity was presented, it wasn't a long or hard decision for us. We felt the Prairie Innovation Centre represents what Don was all about-bringing visionary minds together to create successful activations that got results. The fit couldn't be more ideal," said Tuffs.