Karen Gerda Nygaard Andreasen Hnatyshyn has served as President and Chair of the Board of The Hnatyshyn Foundation since 2002. Wife of the late Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn, she was born in Winnipeg and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition. After completing a dietetic internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, she held various positions with hospitals in Saskatoon and Ottawa and served as head of the Department of Food Service Technology at the Kelsey Institute in Saskatchewan.
Co-founder of PRIDE Canada, a program dedicated to drug education and counselling for young people, Mrs. Hnatyshyn has supported and served on numerous boards of national organizations in the field of health care, promoting awareness of persons suffering from such diseases as AIDS, Alzheimer's, and breast cancer. She has also been involved with fundraising for the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and was chair of fundraising for the Ottawa Women's Health Council.
As spouse of the Governor General, Mrs. Hnatyshyn worked with her husband to establish The Friends of Rideau Hall, which raised over $1 million in contributions and gifts-in-kind for the preservation and enrichment of Government House. She also led the effort to create The Canadian Heritage Garden, a formal rose garden on the grounds of Rideau Hall, commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Confederation. The $2.5 million garden, entirely underwritten by private contributions, celebrates Canada's cultural diversity and the development of our governing institutions over more than three centuries.
A Companion of the Order of Canada, Mrs. Hnatyshyn is the author of the award-winning book, Rideau Hall: Canada's Living Heritage / Rideau Hall: Témoin vivant de notre histoire, published in 1995. She has two sons, John Georg and Carl Andrew Nygaard.