Jennifer Roblin speaking at the naming ceremony for The Roblin Centre.
Red River College’s facility at 160 Princess Street will now be known as The Roblin Centre, in honour of former Manitoba premier Duff Roblin, who played a crucial role in the College’s development.
The renaming was made official during a ceremony held at RRC’s downtown campus last Monday, during which Roblin was celebrated for helping to revitalize Manitoba’s education system — by building schools, introducing the current system of school boards, and helping to establish the community college model.
“We feel it’s important to recognize the critical role Premier Roblin played in the development of Red River College as one of Canada’s leading institute of applied learning,” said RRC’s President, Stephanie Forsyth.
The Roblin Centre is part of the College’s growing Exchange District campus, which also includes the nearby Massey Building on William Avenue, and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, opening in the old Union Bank Tower this September.
In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Roblin’s daughter, Jennifer Roblin, conveyed her family’s approval of the renaming, calling it “a huge honour and a tremendous tribute.”
“Education was Dad’s focal point in 1958 (when he became premier). It remained so throughout the premiership,” she told the paper. “He would be thrilled and humbled to know that this incredibly beautiful building is named after him.”
Manitoba’s 14th Premier, Roblin oversaw construction of the Red River Floodway (or “Duff's Ditch"), which has since saved Manitoba billions of dollars in estimated flood damages.
He was also a strong champion of education: establishing the current system of school divisions in Manitoba, promoting French language learning, and leading the drive to create a community college system. It was under his leadership, that RRC’s Notre Dame Campus was built in 1963.
Roblin was "a leader who had a vision for Manitoba’s future and took action to make his dreams a reality,” said the Honourable Rosann Wowchuk, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance.
Roblin's advocacy for community colleges in later years contributed to the creation of the College Expansion Initiative and the construction of RRC's Exchange District Campus.
Roblin passed away in May 2010.