Edwards School of Business alumnus contributes to improve “heart of the school”

Edwards School of Business alumnus Larry Moeller and his family have donated $500,000 to rejuvenate the dedicated student space in which he and his classmates studied in during the 1970s.

The Moeller Resource Room was unveiled today at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) with the extended Moeller family in attendance, to celebrate with students, faculty and staff.

The Moeller donation was immediately matched by the university in order to create $1-million in extensive changes both to the Reading Room and to other student spaces, honoring the Edwards School of Business commitment to the student experience.

The former Commerce Reading Room was a heavily utilized space for students for decades, but it had become tired and shabby.

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The present-day Moeller Resource Room (bottom half) in the Edwards School of Business compared to a past generation’s shot of the Reading Room (top half).

“When I first saw it,” recalls Daphne Taras, dean of Edwards School of Business, “it reminded me more of a Dickensian orphanage than a place for 21st century students to mingle and work.”

Dean Taras describes the space as “the heart of the school”, where students hit the books, play cards, socialize, and attend career fairs and networking events.

Now refurbished, the Moeller Resource Room has group-work tables, multi-level seating and break-out rooms for project work. There are dozens of electrical plugs to charge the students’ portable computers, complete audio-visual capabilities, and a student lounge and eating area. With the potential for catered events to take place in the space, the school looks forward to hosting numerous student competitions.

Moeller speech

Larry Moeller (BComm’80) shared his experiences as a student in the old reading room and why it was important to him to support refurbishing and updating it for today’s students (photo: Dave Stobbe stobbephoto.ca).

Callan Kimber, president of the Edwards Business Students’ Society, is excited for the changes.

“The open and inviting feel of the new space, not to mention the additional breakout rooms, saw students flood back to the top floor,” he said.

Born in Humboldt and raised in Meadow Lake, Larry Moeller attended the U of S College of Commerce, graduating in 1980 to become a Chartered Professional Accountant. He and Murray Edwards, the school’s namesake, became close friends during university, and since 1994 Moeller has been working side-by-side with Edwards. Moeller is Vice President Finance of Edco Financial Holdings and sits on the board of directors for Magellan Aerospace Corporation and Imperial Metals Corporation.

Moeller plaque

Larry Moeller and Daphne Taras, dean of the Edwards School of Business, unveil a plaque for the newly-minted Moeller Resource Room (photo: Dave Stobbe stobbephoto.ca)

Moeller is an active member of the Edwards School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and said this gift is one of the ways he intends to stay engaged with his alma mater.

“For decades this room has served as the nucleus of daily student life at the Edwards School of Business,” said Moeller. “I trust that this gift will enhance the student experience and make it a richer period of education and development for all students who utilize this space. By making this gift I wanted to inspire, support and encourage all students in their journeys to become leaders in business and in society at large.”

 

“This university is family”

“This university is family.”

Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser illustrated his passion for the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) with this message during his keynote address on March 10 during One Day for Students.

As a donor since 1967, Dr. Nasser and his wife Dora have supported U of S students in the same fashion someone would care for their own family.

On March 10, the university community, alumni, donors, and friends were encouraged to follow the lead of the Nassers, and join in giving to the U of S to assist students. Over $63,000 was raised by over 500 donors in a 24-hour span—including a $27,000 matching donation by the Nassers to match donations to the President’s Student Experience Fund and the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust.

Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser poses for selfie with students after his keynote address on One Day for Students (photo: Julie Schappert)

Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser poses for selfie with students after his keynote address on One Day for Students (photo: Julie Schappert)

The President’s Student Experience Fund backs projects that allow students to grow their knowledge, apply their learning, or pursue once-in-a-lifetime experiences outside of the classroom.

The JDC West 2016 Organizing Committee hosted their business case competition at the U of S with assistance from the fund. The competition allowed the organizers to apply skills taught in their courses, network with professionals, and showcase the Edwards School of Business as one of the best business schools in Canada.

Thanks to donors, the U of S Aero Design Team is taking their model aircraft to the SAE Aero Design West competition in Van Nuys, California in April. The team received funding from the President’s Student Experience Fund and will be applying principles of various disciplines of engineering, flight and project management in hopes that their aircraft can carry the most payload.

The Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust supports students who are facing unexpected financial hardship. During his keynote address, Dr. Nasser shared his experiences growing up in Lebanon and how students did not have appropriate supports in place in the education system. He shared the importance of establishing this fund so U of S students can thrive in their studies and not have financial constraints be a barrier. “When students need financial help, they can’t always get it from the bank or their parents. It’s important for them to have support and be able to stay in school,” he said.

A number of colleges also took part in One Day for Students, contributing to their respective funds. The College of Arts and Science raised over $2,500 to support the revitalization of the student lounge—a dollar amount which was matched by the college. Over $4,200 was raised in support of the College of Medicine Student Bursary Fund, which ensures that students can make career decisions based on their abilities and interest. The College of Dentistry raised over $1,000 for its Infrastructure Revitalization Fund which will provide new equipment and enhanced learning spaces. The Edwards School of Business raised over $1,000 for its Student Award Fund, which will provide scholarships and bursaries to deserving students.

An action-packed One Day for Students included a performance by the U of S Cheer Team, a photobooth, musical performances, and an address from matching donor, Kay Nasser (photo: Julie Schappert)

An action-packed One Day for Students included a performance by the U of S Cheer Team, a photobooth, musical performances, and an address from matching donor, Kay Nasser (photo: Julie Schappert).

Place Riel was a hotbed of activity throughout One Day for Students, leading up to Dr. Nasser’s keynote address. Donation locations were set up throughout campus, making donations quick and convenient. As students are often rushing to class and need a quick bite, they were appreciative of the cupcakes and popcorn provided at the locations. ACE (Advancement and Community Engagement) Student Ambassadors, a student group who advocate for leadership and philanthropy with alumni and staff, reached out to students passing by, promoting the importance of the funds and contributing on One Day for Students. The keynote event was also preceded by a performance from the U of S cheerleading team and a performance on saxophone by Brendan Catalano from the U of S Wind Orchestra. In celebration of a successful day of fundraising, cream pies were shoved in the face of some willing and select targets.

As One Day for Students 2016 came to an end, it was evident that it was not only a day of fun and philanthropy, but for some, it was also a family affair.

One Day for Students is March 10

On March 10, and for that day only, Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser and his wife Dora will match up to $40,000 in donations to the President’s Student Experience Fund or the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust. This initiative is one of many across the U of S campus to support students on this day, encouraging donors on campus and in the broader university community to support a student-related cause.

The Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust was established to aid students who encounter unexpected financial difficulties that could seriously affect their school year—such as loss of residence and belongings due to fire, or attendance at the funeral of an immediate family member.

“The unfortunate reality is that some students require urgent funding due to emergency situations,” said Kehan Fu, University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union vice-president of student affairs. “Thankfully, the fund provides critical support for students who are faced with an unexpected financial burden and allows them to appropriately devote their attention to their courses.”

Aero Design team

Nathan Morhart (third from left) received funding from the President’s Student Experience to support the U of S Aero Design Team’s trip to Van Nuys, California to compete in SAE Aero Design West 2016. (Photo: Dave Stobbe/ stobbephoto.ca)

The President’s Student Experience Fund is also solely donor-based, and supports initiatives such as the JDC West business competition recently hosted by the Edwards School of Business.

Cole Thorpe, who participated in the JDC West competitions as both a student and now alumnus, emphasized the importance of funding for students to take advantage of opportunities such as national and international competitions.

“Events like JDC West also demonstrate how our students and university stack up against other top schools,” said Thorpe, adding that strong showings at the JDC West—including first-place in several categories and the third-place ranking overall—showcase the quality of the business school and the university.

The 2016 competition involved 600 students from twelve major business schools across western Canada. An additional 200 volunteers from the university, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, were involved in the planning and organizing.

The President’s Student Experience Fund supports a variety of other student-led initiatives as well, including the U of S Aero Design Team. Nathan Morhart is one of 30 members of the team, consisting of students across several disciplines. The team’s goal is to build a large model airplane weighing no more than 55 pounds, including a minimum payload of 26 pounds, to compete for top honours at this year’s SAE Aero Design West competition in Van Nuys, California.

The U of S team will go up against 74 contenders from the U.S., Poland, Egypt, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Canada. In addition to the funding received from the President’s Experience Fund, Morhart said that receiving support from the university is also important in attracting additional corporate sponsors.

Because of the Nasser’s generous offer to match donations on March 10 for One Day for Students, it is an ideal day to show support for our students through these two Funds.

“If we can raise $40,000 from our campus and alumni, it will mean $80,000 for students who benefit so much from these two funds,” said Sandra Lazar, associate director of annual giving. “That goal is achievable. At last year’s One Day for Students, we raised close to $60,000. It shows what happens when everyone realizes their gift, no matter what the amount, really does make a difference.”

Donations can be made online at give.usask.ca/oneday or in person at Upper Place Riel throughout the day of March 10.