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J. Michael Miltenberger (BASc (BA) '75)

J. Micheal Miltenberger (BASc (BA) '75)
2011 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

The University of Lethbridge Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus/a of the Year Award recognizes individuals for exceptional professional achievements, academic excellence and/or contributions to society. The Association is proud to recognize J. Micheal Miltenberger for his professional accomplishments and his dedication to public service and the environment.

Born in Ottawa but raised in the Northwest Territories, Miltenberger completed a bachelor of arts and science in sociology at the University of Lethbridge in 1975. Following graduation, Miltenberger returned to the Northwest Territories where he began his career in public service.

Miltenberger entered politics in Fort Smith, NWT, as a member of town council. He would eventually serve a two and a half year term as mayor. Miltenberger was first elected to the Territorial Assembly in 1995 and rose quickly to the Ministerial level, assuming more sophisticated portfolios and greater governmental responsibility, including the roles of Deputy Premier, Government House Leader, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Minister of Finance and Minister of Health and Social Services.

Miltenberger has been described as a northern visionary and a protector of northern values. His clear and thought-provoking approach has significantly impacted a variety of projects in areas ranging from health services to wildlife and endangered species. As Minister of Finance, Miltenberger guided the Northwest Territories through the most difficult economic times since the Great Depression with a balanced budget and no long-term debt.

In his role as Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Miltenberger worked with First Nations governments to establish Northern Voices, Northern Water: A Water Strategy for the NWT. This groundbreaking stewardship program outlines the philosophy guiding the Territories in all aspects of water management, including preservation and protection while working with trans-boundary agreements. Miltenberger’s impassioned approach to water stewardship helped move a regional issue to the world stage, generating enthusiasm and support for the program locally, nationally and internationally.

Today, Miltenberger’s work on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories is being widely recognized, particularly in the area of water management. He is a significant figure on the international water policy stage and is one of five Canadians invited to be part of an expert panel at the Seventh Annual Rosenberg Water Policy Forum to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina later this year.

Miltenberger met his wife Geraldine when they were both U of L students. The couple has one daughter, Michaela (Craig) Johnson, who is a current U of L student, and two grandchildren, Larrisa and Jason.

The University Alumni Association is proud of Miltenberger’s professional accomplishments and his role as an environmental advocate. It is with great pleasure the association recognizes J. Michael Miltenberger for his achievements by presenting him with the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.