Leave a message for students during December Final Exams

Starting Friday, Dec. 8, U of S students will be hard at work in preparation for their final exams. Do you have some advice, study tips, personal experience from your college, an inspirational quote or words of encouragement? Leave a message for students who are in the exam crunch. Messages will be posted and displayed for students in Murray Library throughout December Final Exams.

Sociology professor receives national equity award

Quinlan, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and an associate member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, accepted the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Equity Award at a CAUT meeting in Ottawa on Nov. 25.

In her nomination, Quinlan was cited as a “fearless” researcher who combines academic scholarship with effective work for the betterment of society. She is active in promoting fair hiring practices and combating sexual violence.

Quinlan was a driving force behind the 2016 stage production With Glowing Hearts: How Ordinary Women Worked Together to Change the World (and Did). Based on Quinlan’s research into the historical role of women in Canada’s labour movement, the play received the Best of Fest Award at the PotashCorp Fringe Festival and brought awareness of a little-known chapter in history to a large audience.

Quinlan is a founding member of the Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Among other roles, she has served in the Women’s Reference Group of Saskatchewan’s Labour Force Development Board and been a board member of the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre and the Saskatchewan chapter of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women.

The mighty Hughes returns

As the leading institution in Canada for building reconciliation, it was a natural fit for the University of Saskatchewan to host one of Canada’s foremost advocates in the court systems concerning colonization.

Alumnus of Influence Ted Hughes (BA’48; LLB’50) and author Craig McInnes visited the College of Law for a book signing and public talk as part of the U of S Canada 150 Book Series. The biography, The Mighty Hughes: From Prairie Lawyer to Western Canada’s Moral Compass, details the life and career of Hughes, and as the title implies, there is no space for mediocrity between its pages.

Ted Hughes (left) and The Might Hughes author, Craig McInnes (right) sign copies of the book at their event in the College of Law

Hughes’ career has spanned an impressive 60 years in the Canadian judicial system. As a respected senior judge in Saskatchewan, and as deputy attorney general and conflict of interest commissioner for British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, Hughes earned a reputation as someone who would deliver the right resolution. Noted for defending principles that underpin the best of our society, his career carried the weight of mending unethical politicians; advocating for children in care; defending equal rights for women in the legal system; and drawing attention to what Hughes believed were the disastrous effects of colonization on Indigenous people.

When asked about the grandiosity of the title—of his life—his response is, unsurprisingly, fair.  “I never felt any pressure with the moral compass designation because I’ve always enjoyed my work,” he says. “Any judge that has the ability to take away the freedom of his fellow citizens understands that that is a pretty onerous piece of responsibility that no judge takes lightly.”

Mighty Hughes touches on a moment of great impact for the legal legend—a day in court that redefined his understanding of the legal system.

Hughes was presiding over a murder case where the defendant was taking the stand in his own defence. It was apparent, Hughes recalls, that the defendant was very frustrated with the process.

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U of S alumni success in electronic chip design attracts global giant

Solido Design Automation, a world-leading Saskatoon software development company established by University of Saskatchewan graduates, is expanding its reach and scope under new ownership.

The acquisition of Solido by German technology giant Siemens AG is great news for the firm he co-founded, and great news for the city and the university, said Solido CEO Amit Gupta (BE’99).

“Siemens officials referred to the U of S as a key reason for the acquisition, because of its ability to produce highly skilled and innovative graduates in computer science, engineering and mathematics,” said Gupta.

Solido develops software used in the creation of semiconductor chips for almost all modern electronic devices. The software is created using proprietary machine learning technology, which involves the software itself learning from data, predicting results based on the information, figuring out relevant parameters, mining data for trends, and identifying design problems.

SASKATOON, SK – May 15, 2017 – Solido Design Automation CEO Amit Gupta stands for a photo at his office in Innovation Place in Saskatoon on May 15, 2017. (Michelle Berg / Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

“Siemens wants to keep Solido’s current research and development and custom applications, and grow them further to make Saskatoon a key R and D centre for their digital factory division,” Gupta said.

“Saskatoon is a great place to grow a company.”

He noted that 53 of Solido’s 63 employees at Innovation Place are U of S graduates. Expansion over the next five years anticipated by Siemens to meet its increased needs in the machine learning area mean more jobs and career opportunities for graduates, he said.

“We love hiring locally. We get lots of applications because our employees and applicants have the opportunity to learn from working with some of the world’s biggest companies. We hire internationally, too, and as a result we have some really great talent,” Gupta said.

“We would encourage the U of S to find every opportunity to expand its excellent computer science and engineering programs to meet the growing needs of the technology industry in Saskatchewan.”

Gupta and fellow U of S grad Trent McConaghy (BE’99) formed Solido in 2005, nearly a year after their first company, Analog Design Automation Inc., was bought out by electronic design automation giant Synopsys of California. The venture capital for Solido came from Saskatchewan-based Golden Opportunities Fund and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Solido quickly became the world leader in helping some major manufacturers design faster, smaller, high performance semiconductor chips with less spoilage during manufacturing. It all adds up to better consumer electronics such as smartphones, tablets, personal computers, credit cards, sensors, and automobiles.

It has customers everywhere from Silicon Valley to Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China, India and South Korea. Among about 40 major companies and two worldwide that rely on Solido’s software are industry giants such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, and IBM.

Gupta says revenues have grown about 50 per cent a year for the past six years. Deloitte Canada placed Solido on its 2016 Technology Fast 50 list that recognizes innovation, leadership and revenue growth. Solido also ranked 425 in Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 for North America.

“Now, Solido software is being used to make every modern chip for every modern device,” Gupta said. “We’re proud to be doing that from a company based in Saskatoon and we want to share that story.”

Written by Sarath Peiris is assistant director, Research Profile and Impact.

Bashforth shines a light on Pixar

Byron Bashforth (BSc’96, MSc’99) was a computer science student at the University of Saskatchewan when he saw a trailer for Toy Story.

A light went on. Not the famous Pixar desk-lamp light, but pretty close.

“I remember marvelling that you could do that with a computer,” Bashforth said in a recent phone interview from Pixar Animation Studios, where he’s worked since graduating with his masters in 1998.

Bashforth’s first Pixar film was Toy Story 2. He’s worked on everything from Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to Ratatouille and Up. His latest is Disney/Pixar’s Coco, the story of a Mexican boy who dreams of becoming a musician.

Read more at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

Late Huskie alum’s legacy to live on in Merlis Belsher Place

Hanging proudly above the ice in Rutherford Rink, a banner reads, We all play the Cody Smuk way.

It’s one of the many tributes to the late University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey player, who lost his battle with testicular cancer in 2015. As the Huskies play their final season in the arena, a local business is making sure that Smuk’s legacy lives on when the team begins a new chapter and moves into Merlis Belsher Place next year.

Inland Steel Products, a scrap metal recycling company servicing Saskatchewan, has contributed $150,000 to the Home Ice campaign to create Smuker’s Lounge in Merlis Belsher Place, a gathering spot for players, alumni and friends of Smuk’s to reminisce while cheering on the Huskies.

Cody Smuk (BComm’15)

Inland Steel Products’ Matt Ditlove said the family-owned business was eager to make a substantial investment back into the community to commemorate its 50th year of operation, and saw an opportunity to honour a family friend at the same time.

“He was one of my closest friends and I wanted to make sure he was never forgotten and always remembered,” Ditlove said. “So myself and my family thought this was a good way to give back, not only to the community that we do business in and operate in, but to make sure his spirit is never forgotten.”

Ditlove said his family is glad to be contributing towards a new facility for the Huskies, as Smuk had often said that a new arena was long overdue.

“He was definitely passionate about getting a new arena for the Huskies and I think he would have been heavily involved in this Home Ice campaign if he was around,” Ditlove said. “So the fact that the lounge is getting built here would have made him pretty proud.”

After Smuk’s passing, the players’ lounge in Rutherford Rink was renamed Smuker’s Lounge in his honour, and has been a central gathering point for old friends and alumni. Smuk’s mother, Darla Smuk, said the family was overwhelmed with emotion when they learned that Smuker’s Lounge would be incorporated into the new arena, and thinks it’s a wonderful way to remember her son.

Members of the Smuk and Ditlove families join together at the Inland Steel Products site in Saskatoon (photo by David Stobbe).

“Cody always liked hosting the team and wanted everyone to have fun,” she said. “To me Smuker’s Lounge represents him hosting his friends and family; a place where they can come together, share a drink, share stories, think of Cody and remember his laugh. It was quite contagious and one of many things we miss the most.”

She said while it’s bittersweet that the Huskies will no longer be playing in Rutherford Rink—a place that holds many special memories for the family—she feels her son would have been thrilled that the Huskies will have a new home.

“I know it meant a lot to Cody to be a part of the Huskies program. He was always very proud to wear the Huskie jersey and do his very best for the team,” she said. “His memory will live on in the new Huskie facility and we can’t thank Matt and his family enough for their kindness and generosity now, and during Cody’s battle with cancer. It means the world to us.”

Roxanne McHattie is a development communications specialist in University Relations.

Alumnae starring in play chosen for Singapore festival

An acclaimed stage play developed by Department of Drama faculty and alumni will represent Canada at an international fringe festival in Singapore this January.

Displaced, a story of three female refugees fleeing to Canada at different points in history, was co-written by Associate Professor Natasha Martina (with Sue Mythen). After several successful performances in Canada, the play caught the attention of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, which selected it to be presented at its Jan. 17–28 festival in 2018 as one of four highlighted shows from around the world.

The stars of Displaced (left to right): Emma Laishram, Anna Mazurik (BFAHon’16) and Jacqueline Block (BFA’14). (Photo: S.E. Grummett)










Displaced debuted in 2015 at the Montreal and Saskatoon fringe festivals, earning nominations for best English production and best English text in Montreal. The showhas since drawn crowds around Saskatchewan as part of the 2017 Live Five Independent Theatre season and received four prizes at the recent Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards.

“The response was overwhelming,” says Martina, who also produced and directed the play. “I think people really wanted to support this piece because it has a message of equality and acceptance and the need to be inclusive.”

The global developments that have made this message so resonant in recent years—including ongoing refugee crises, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—didn’t factor into the creation of the play, Martina says. She began researching and writing Displaced in 2011 with a simpler goal: telling a story that would have personal meaning to her as a child of immigrants.

“I just knew that immigration and starting a new life was a very large aspect of my growing up: seeing my parents start from nothing to create their own business, to employ 125 people, and to share all the traditions I grew up with that were in two cultures.”

The stars of Displaced include drama alumnae Jacqueline Block (BFA’14) and Anna Mazurik (BFAHon’16). Amberlin Hsu (BFAHon’16) is the stage manager and lighting designer. Assistant Professor of Drama Carla Orosz (BFA’04) designed the set and costumes.

Before heading to Singapore, the cast and crew will give a single performance of Displaced in Saskatoon on Jan. 20. Details and ticket information for that event can be viewed here.

Displaced is produced by Ground Cover Theatre. The Singapore trip is funded by the High Commission of Canada, Creative Saskatchewan and the College of Arts & Science.

Written by Chris Putman

Alumni named to CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 list

CBC Saskatchewan has announced the winners of its 2017 Future 40 campaign. CBC’s Future 40 celebrates Saskatchewan’s up-and-coming leaders, builders and change-makers under the age of 40. Winners are nominated by members of the community and chosen by CBC Saskatchewan.

Zondra Roy (BEd’17), one of 14 U of S alum recognized by CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 (photo: ipaa.ca)

This year, 14 U of S alumni were recognized on this list:

Nicole Baldwin (BSc’17)-U of S researcher focusing on the effects of chemical toxicity.

Cece Baptiste (BComm’04)-Founding member of the Saskatoon Aboriginal Professionals Association, dedicated to advancing Aboriginal professionals into leadership roles.

Tenille Campbell (BA’07)-PhD student in the Department of English at the U of S; author of #IndianLovePoems poetry collection.

Matthew Dunn (BE’04, MSc’10)-Professional engineer, community leader and board member of Saskatchewan Aboriginal Track and Field.

Ashlyn George (BA’09, BEd’10)-former ‘Saskatchewanderer’ and current digital content entrepreneur.

Neal Kewistep (MPA’11)-The first First Nations graduate of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

Dr. Kylie Kvinlaug (BSc’04, MD’04)-Assistant professor at the U of S and program director for Surgical Foundations.

Robert Laprairie (BSc’10)-Leading expert in pharmacology, specifically cannabinoids.

Holly Manswell (BSP’02)-Associate professor at the College of Pharmacy at Nutrition at the U of S.

Cara-Faye Merasty (JD’12)-Contributor to Legal Aid Saskatchewan, the Community Initiatives Fund and the Northern Adjudication Committee.

Karen Robson (BComm’13)-Executive director of The Princess Shop, providing underprivileged young women with a special graduation experience.

Zondra Roy (BEd’17)-Award-winning spoken word poet, community-based educator, filmmaker, and author.

Amy Smith-Morris (BSP’10)-Founder of Survivher, a support group for young, female cancer survivors.

Joe Wickenhauser (BA’09)-founder and executive director of Moose Jaw Pride and the Saskatchewan Pride Network.

Read more about each alum at CBC Saskatchewan.

Fall Convocation award winners

Three U of S alumni will receive special distinction at the University of Saskatchewan’s Fall Convocation on Oct. 28.

Margret Asmuss (BA’85, MCTGED’89)
President’s Service Award
A proud alumna who completed both her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Continuing Education degrees at the U of S, Margret Asmuss has served as sustainability co-ordinator for the past 13 years. She has helped develop the Office of Sustainability and helped implement the Campus Sustainability Plan, which provides a framework for integrating sustainability into university activities. Asmuss also plays a role in the Sustainability Living Lab, which provides students with project-based courses and offers professional development for faculty. Her combination of knowledge, expertise and readiness helps others achieve their sustainability goals.

Carey Simonson, (BE’91, MSc’93, PhD’98)
Distinguished Graduate Supervisor Award
Carey Simonson earned his bachelor’s, master’s and a PhD in mechanical engineering at the U of S, where he has served as a professor since 2001. The Graduate Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Simonson received the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation in 2015 and was awarded $423,465 in NSERC grants in September. Winner of the U of S Graduate Students’ Association Teaching Excellence Award in April, Simonson has supervised 50 graduate and postdoctoral students. Simonson is a Fellow of ASHRAE, the premier society in his research field, with more than 56,000 members from 130 countries.

Harold Chapman, (BSA’43)
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Harold Chapman has spent a lifetime committed to the co-operative movement as a builder and educator. Chapman, who was born in Saskatoon, graduated from the U of S with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture back in 1943, spent decades helping develop farming, fishing, trapping and housing co-operatives in the province, and was the first director of the Co-operative Institute in Saskatoon. Since retiring in 1982, he has remained involved with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives located at the U of S and celebrated his 100th birthday this year by being inducted into the Order of Canada.

U of S astronomy graduates’ research is out of this world

Hope Boyce (BSC’16) and Taylor Bell (BSC’16) have spent many evenings on the Physics Building rooftop observatory expanding their knowledge of, and passion for, astronomy.

But these U of S alumni have more in common than simply their love of stargazing. Boyce and Bell completed Bachelor of Science degrees in physics in Saskatoon and have gone on to study in the astronomy Master’s program at McGill University. Recently, Boyce and Bell each published a research article in The Astrophysical Journal, a world-renowned research journal devoted to recent developments, discoveries, and theories in astronomy and astrophysics.

Hope Boyce (BSC’16) and Taylor Bell (BSC’16).

Boyce’s article, “An Upper Limit on the Mass of a Central Black Hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud from the Stellar Rotation Field,” is a continuation of research she began as an astronomy student at the U of S. Her paper is the first to put a limit on the mass of any central supermassive black hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

“Searching for a black hole in another galaxy advances the community’s knowledge about the formation and evolution of many galaxies and their black holes, including our own,” she explains. “Pure astronomy research helps us answer fundamental questions about physics and our place in the universe.”

Meanwhile, Bell explores the exoplanet WASP-12b in his journal article, “The Very Low Albedo of WASP-12b from Spectral Eclipse Observations with Hubble.” Bell’s measurement of the planet’s surface brightness—or its reflectiveness—reveals that it is essentially pitch black and reflects only six per cent of the light from its host star. As the planet is tidally locked with a parent star, there is an even divide between day and night. The day side of the planet is 2,600 degrees Celsius, while the night side is believed to be 1,000 degrees Celsius.

“By observing planets like this we can better understand how hydrogen breaks apart and goes back into a molecule at different points on a planet as it heats up and cools down,” Bell explains. “In that way, we can learn something about the planet’s chemistry and physics.”

Stan Shadick, astronomy lecturer and physics/astronomy lab instructor at the U of S, is delighted with the recent accomplishments of the two young graduates.

“The Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at the U of S has a long tradition to training respected professional astronomers,” Shadick says. “The university is proud to see both Boyce and Bell continuing this tradition and making such important new discoveries at the beginning of their professional careers.”

Boyce’s full journal article
Bell’s full journal article