Wednesday was a big day for Assiniboine Community College in Brandon as they picked up a $1 million donation toward the 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.


“We’ve raised $12 million and are getting closer to our goal of $15 million” said ACC President Mark Frison.


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.”

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 completed the Prairie Innovation Centre will increase our ag related spots from 300 to 800. By 2026 one in five agriculture jobs will go unfilled so we knew we had to do more in agriculture” said Frison.

Assiniboine Community College has been providing exceptional learning experiences for more than 55 years and offers certificate, diploma and post-graduate programs across a variety of disciplines including culinary arts and hospitality, business, agriculture and environment, health and human services, and trades and technology. The college also delivers apprenticeship programming in a range of skilled trades disciplines.