Karen and Rick Chrest to receive honorary diplomas from Assiniboine


Assiniboine Community College is presenting Rick and Karen Chrest each with an honorary diploma in Community Development at the college’s graduation ceremony in Brandon on June 16, 2023.

The Chrest family have long been well-known faces in the community—Rick served as Mayor of the City of Brandon for eight years and Karen was the face of the CKX Noon Hour show for a number of years.

Their family roots in Brandon date back to 1912, and their passion for the city can be seen through their community involvement serving on countless boards, commitees and organizations in the sectors of business, arts and charitable endeavours.

“The Chrest’s dedication to the City of Brandon and their efforts to make the community an incredible place for people to call home has been remarkable for years,” said Assiniboine President, Mark Frison. “These two have been a dynamic team bettering our community for decades. They have been integral in supporting worthwhile causes that help move the city forward, and I have no doubt we will see continued contributions to the community going forward. We are honoured to present them with this well-deserved recognition.”

As the former host of the CKX Noon Hour show, Karen was instrumental in telling the stories of those in the community, and provided a platform for many charities and events she became involved in. After leaving television, she would go on to be an emcee and volunteer for many worthwhile causes, while leading a fundraising charge for Murray House, a cancer care housing facility serving as a “home away from home” for patients in the Western Manitoba region.

Other notable awards Karen has received include the District 64 Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award for “outstanding achievement, contribution and service to community, corporate and region, through communication and leadership excellence”, which she received in 2016.

“To be recognized as someone who may have played a part in supporting and celebrating this wonderful community is very humbling and moving, and to receive this from the exceptional institution that is our Assiniboine Community College is a true honour,” said Karen Chrest. “Having both Rick and I receive honorary diplomas is quite amazing, and while the recognition is unexpected, it is a good feeling to think that we can all make a difference in our communities in many different ways.”

Rick was born and raised in Brandon’s East End. His service to the city of Brandon started when he served three terms as Councillor for University Ward from 1995 to 2006. Eight of those years were served as Deputy Mayor. On October 22, 2014, Rick was elected as the 32nd Mayor of the City of Brandon, and was acclaimed to a second term in October 2018. Rick retired from civic leadership in October of 2022.

Rick and Karen have also been long-time co-owners of Leon’s Furniture in Brandon.

As Mayor, he embodied his desire to embrace fiscal responsibility and took a “back to basics” approach to civic operations. He was proactive when it came to economic development to make Brandon a city of opportunity and diversity for its residents and newcomers. He brought to the job a strong background in management, business and community affairs, not only as a business owner, but also as the former General Manager of both the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and the Keystone Centre.

“It is such a great honour to be granted this honorary diploma by Assiniboine Community College and a special joy to receive it alongside my wife Karen receiving hers as well,” said Rick Chrest. “ACC continues to have a long and profound impact on our community and on the education and training of thousands of lives. It is a great privilege to be included among their honorary recipients.”

The Chrests remain active in the community and enjoy spending time with their three children and one grandchild.

Assiniboine awards honorary diplomas to individuals who demonstrate high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements and whose involvement in the community is widely recognized.


List of past honorary diploma recipients:

2023 Dori Gingera-Beauchemin
2022 Leah LaPlante
2019 Kelly McCrimmon
2018 Ron Helwer
2017 Phil Fontaine
2016 Beverly Bunn
2016 Ian Grant
2016 Jason Yates
2016 Rick Borotsik
2015 Mildred Murray
2014 Jim Treliving
2014 Harvey Armstrong
2013 Dave Baxter
2012 Carmel Olson
2012 Allen Dowhan
2011 Dennis Hunt
2010 Bob Mazer
2009 Gord Peters

(ACC News Release)