The Manitoba government, with the support of the Eden family, is establishing a $60,000 memorial scholarship fund at the University of Manitoba (UM) in memory of Ruth Eden to support females studying civil engineering, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk announced today.
“Ruth Eden was a dedicated public servant who faithfully served Manitobans for over 30 years. She was an inspiring and keystone leader within the department, and will forever be remembered for her heart, passion and determination,” said Piwniuk. “I am honoured to announce we are establishing three scholarships that pay tribute to Ruth and will support the next generation of civil engineers.”
Eden was the first woman hired by the province in 1988 to work as an engineer and was a member of the 30 by 30 Task Force, which works to increase the representation of women within engineering, added Piwniuk. Eden was also the assistant deputy minister of the former Department of Infrastructure’s Technical Services and Operations division and was widely considered a leader and mentor in the field of civil engineering.
The scholarships will support individuals that identify as female and who are studying civil engineering full-time at UM’s Price faculty of engineering. Given Eden’s passion for bridges and water, related coursework will be incorporated into the eligibility criteria, the minister noted.
“It feels like I’ve always known Ruth Eden’s name in the engineering community, and it was always through encounters and by reputation that highlighted her positive and pragmatic nature,” said Marcia Friesen, dean, Price faculty of engineering, UM. “She graduated and built a career at a time that was often defined by the “first woman to…” and “one of only five women to…” And yet, Ruth always approached the profession with a sense of ownership and place that led to her extensive accomplishments. A future scholarship is such a fitting extension of this sense of ownership and place, creating opportunities for more students to follow in her footsteps.”
Eden was one of five women to graduate from the civil engineering program at UM in 1988, going on to earn a master of structural engineering in 2002. Shortly after graduation, she joined the former Department of Manitoba Infrastructure, and was involved in the design and construction of bridges and structures throughout the province. As a mentor and a leader, she served as the president of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba in 2018.