Senator profile: Corinna Stevenson

Corinna Stevenson (BComm’96) is regularly stunned by what the University of Saskatchewan Senate is able to accomplish.

“I’m always so in awe at the level of engagement from all the participants. It is a large group, and we get to not only understand university affairs better but also the perspectives of their stakeholders,” said Stevenson.

Senate is a governing body made up of representatives from the U of S both past and current, including students, past and current chancellors, the university president, vice-presidents, deans, elected members of our alumni representing areas across Saskatchewan and around the world, representatives of organizations with a connection to the university such as professional governing bodies, and the minister and deputy minister of advanced education.

Corrinna Stevenson

As the appointed member of senate for district nine, which includes Nipawin, Melfort and Hudson Bay, Stevenson said she prides herself on being able to speak up for those from areas that sometimes have difficulty being heard.

“I really see that as the primary purpose of senate: to be the voice of the province, the voice of graduates and also representatives of the different types of professions we have,” she said.

”It’s an engagement facility. We act as advisors so that the university can test the waters and see that they’re remaining relevant to the province.”

It is in this way that Stevenson believes senate is of greatest use to the U of S—in its ability to help unite the Saskatoon campus with the numerous people in the province of a whole that value it as an institution, and are invested in its continued success.

“The university, although it represents the province and it is an academic institution, I really think it is about community. The senate acts as that avenue or stream for the university to really hear, collectively, the voice of the province.”

Senate election is open now and continues until June 16. All alumni are invited to vote at usask.ca/senate-election.

YWCA Women of Distinction Award winners

U of S alumni were well represented among the winners at the 35th annual PotashCorp YWCA Women of Distinction Awards on May 26.

Lalita Bharadwaj (BSc’89, MSc’93, PhD’97), an expert on First Nations water quality issues in the School of Public Health, was honoured in the Research and Technology category.

Leah Ferguson (BA’07, MSc’09, PhD’14) , an assistant professor and sport psychologist in the College of Kinesiology, took home the award in the Health and Wellness category.

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Leah Ferguson (BA’07, MSc’09, PhD’14) was among three U of S alumni honoured at the 35th annual PotashCorp YWCA Women of Distinction Awards on May 26.

Devon Fiddler (BA’11), the founder of SheNative Goods Inc., won the Under 29 award.

Bharadwaj, Ferguson, and Fiddler were among 19 U of S alumni who were nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

Congratulations to our alumni nominees and winners!

Click here to read more.

Tech Venture Challenge champ

Jackie Martin (BSc’02, BSc’03, MA’05) of Viking Innovations and her business partner Mike Ransom were awarded the grand prize in this year’s University of Saskatchewan Tech Venture Challenge.

Martin and Ransom were awarded the top prize for their product, the Dalmatian, a kitchen fire prevention system for the home. They will receive $50,000 from the U of S Industry Liaison Office.

U of S Industry Liaison Office Managing Director Johannes Dyring (left) presents the grand prize in the 2016 TechVenture Challenge to Mike Ransom and Jackie Martin (BA'03, BA'04, MA'05) of Viking Innovations, maker of the Dalmatian home fire protection system.

U of S Industry Liaison Office Managing Director Johannes Dyring (left) presents the grand prize in the 2016 TechVenture Challenge to Mike Ransom and Jackie Martin (BA’03, BA’04, MA’05) of Viking Innovations, maker of the Dalmatian home fire protection system.

The Dalmatian is a small control panel designed to disconnect power to the kitchen range and counter plugs when a smoke alarm is activated. With no electricity or heat, kitchen fires are far less likely to start or spread, safeguarding property, home and family.

The Tech Venture Challenge is an annual business start-up competition. It is open to anyone with a University of Saskatchewan affiliation -employees, researchers, students and alumni – who want to take their technology idea and translate it into a business.

Click here to read more.

Walking back to Saskatoon

Dave Nordin (BSc’84) is embarking on a unique journey from Calgary to Saskatoon, one step at a time.

Nordin is walking from his home in Calgary all the way to Saskatoon, approximately a 600km trek, in an effort to raise funds for two important causes. Nordin lost both his parents to heart disease, so the walk will raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The walk is also raising funds for the University of Saskatchewan’s Ore Gangue Bursary Fund. Nordin has been connected with the Ore Gangue Students’ Society for more than 35 years and hopes to raise the profile of the bursary fund.

David Nordin arriving in Carbon, AB on May 23, 2016 during his 600 km walk to Saskatoon from Calgary (photo: Walking Back to Saskatoon Facebook page)

David Nordin arriving in Carbon, AB on May 23, 2016 during his 600 km walk to Saskatoon from Calgary (photo: Walking Back to Saskatoon Facebook page).

Nordin took his first steps towards Saskatoon on May 20, with a goal of completing 25km per day, and should arrive in approximately a month at the U of S campus.

You can follow Nordin throughout his journey back to Saskatoon on his Facebook page and you can learn more about the walk here.

Senator profile: Jim Pulfer

To Jim Pulfer (BA’64, MSc’68), the University of Saskatchewan Senate is all about giving the institution and its affiliates a clearer perspective of each other.

Since his election to senate in 2012, he has come to see it as the connecting thread between the U of S and the public across the province. The goal, he said, is for senate to inform each group about the other’s interests.

“It’s supposed to be the window on the community, and the community’s window on the university. It’s a two-way street,” Pulfer said.

Senate is a governing body made up of representatives from the U of S both past and current, including students, past and current chancellors, the university president, vice-presidents, deans, elected members of our alumni representing areas across Saskatchewan and around the world, representatives of organizations with a connection to the university such as professional governing bodies, and the minister and deputy minister of advanced education.

Jim Pulfer2

Pulfer sits on senate as the elected representative for district 13. His region, made up solely of the city of Saskatoon, has the largest population of the 14 areas that embody senate.

Now in his second term, Pulfer has come to see senate’s greatest strength as its ability to create an active role for the greater community that surrounds the U of S, both locally and provincially.

“I feel that Saskatoon is quite happy about how things are going,” he said. “But like all things in democracy, if you become complacent and nobody is taking an active part—bringing good ideas and discussing them between each other— then we miss out on a real opportunity to be the cradle of new policy.

“That’s where I see the senate playing a vital role, is in that discussion.”

Senate election is open now and continues until June 16. All alumni are invited to vote at usask.ca/senate-election.

Senator profile: Allan Adam

Allan Adam (BA’12) wants to ensure the University of Saskatchewan understands what it means to be a student coming to campus from Saskatchewan’s north, and he’s a strong advocate for Dené issues.

Though the challenges faced by these students are many, Adam said that meeting them head on could be as simple as exploring the use of English as an additional language programs.

“It’s not only people coming into Canada, immigrants and so forth,” he said. “A lot of our students that come out of the northern program, English is not their first language.”

Adam is lobbying for his community through his position with the U of S senate, where he sits on the executive committee. He is also the elected member for district 10, which covers northeast Saskatchewan and includes communities such as Stony Rapids and Sandy Bay.

Senate is a governing body made up of representatives from the U of S both past and current, including students, past and current chancellors, the university president, vice-presidents, deans, elected members of our alumni representing areas across Saskatchewan and around the world, representatives of organizations with a connection to the university such as professional governing bodies, and the minister and deputy minister of advanced education.

Though he has only sat on senate since 2015, Adam said that working with these sort of groups is an integral part of making a difference for both the U of S community and his own.

“For my people, the Dené people, you have to be a part of senate or executive and those kinds of things in order to influence any change and inclusions. That’s one of my interests, to make sure our voice is heard from the north as well.”

Senate election is open now and continues until June 16. All alumni are invited to vote at usask.ca/senate-election.

Stringing together for the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival

The Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, featuring the award-winning Gryphon Trio will be coming to campus on May 26 (performing a master class) and 27 (concert). The Department of Music has teamed up with two alumni, the festival’s artistic directors Carissa Klopoushak (BMus’04) and Jacqueline Woods (BMus’06), to bring these two spectacular musical events to Convocation Hall.

Klopoushak and Woods founded the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival eight years ago to bring the chamber music concert experience into the 21st century. Each spring they showcase exciting, Canadian musicians who are currently pursuing professional careers across the country and around the globe.

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Jacqueline Woods (BMus’06) is still connected to the U of S, as she is currently enrolled in PhD studies in the Aboriginal Economic Development at the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy (photo: ritornello.ca).

After earning her BMus from the U of S, Woods headed off to the University of Ottawa for a Master’s of Music degree with renowned Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti. She then pursued doctoral studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is currently engaged in PhD studies in Aboriginal Economic Development at the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy.

Carissa Klopoushak (BMus'04)

Carissa Klopoushak (BMus’04), in addition to being an artistic director for the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, is an accomplished violinist who has performed at a variety of festivals across Canada (photo: Ritornello.ca).

Klopoushak earned a Master’s and a Doctor of Music in Violin Performance at McGill University in Montreal, studying with Jonathan Crow. Laureate of the 2009 Eckhardt-Grammatté National Music Competition and the 2012 Canada Council of the Arts Instrument Bank Competition, she has toured extensively across Canada, performing at Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music, Montreal Chamber Music Festival and for Debut Atlantic. She spent three months performing with the renowned Australian Chamber Orchestra. She moved to Ottawa in September 2014 where she is a proud member of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra.

To find out more about the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, its performers, and to get tickets, click here.

Philanthropy, physical activity, and the power of humanity

On May 4, 2016, the Canadian Red Cross honoured U of S alumni at the inaugural Red Cross Power of Humanity Luncheon, which recognized extraordinary humanitarian efforts.

David Dubé (BA’85) and his wife, Heather Ryan, were named the 2016 Red Cross Humanitarians of the Year for their philanthropic contributions. Mike McDonald (BScKin’10) was also recognized by the Canadian Red Cross with the Young Humanitarian of the Year award.

“It is humbling for us for sure,” said Dubé of the award. “We are simply trying to do the right thing in our daily lives.”

Dubé is majority owner, controlling shareholder, president and CEO of Concorde Group Corp., a diversified Saskatoon-based company. Through the foundation he and Heather established, the Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé Foundation, they provide support for a variety of initiatives, including the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation and the Soldier On Fund. The Foundation has contributed more than $6 million since its inception. Dubé and Ryan have also given back generously to the U of S, with several contributions to Huskies Athletics and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Dubé also sits on the university’s Board of Governors.

David Dubé (BA'85) and Heather Ryan recognized as 2016 Red Cross Humanitarians of the Year (photo: Canadian Red Cross).

David Dubé (BA’85) and Heather Ryan recognized as 2016 Red Cross Humanitarians of the Year (photo: Canadian Red Cross).

“It is really about what causes or needs are underfunded and which ones capture your attention and passion,” he says of his diverse philanthropic portfolio. “Ultimately, it is all about the people and when they inspire us around a vision, we can support them and the initiative with confidence.”

Mike McDonald is the Founder/Executive Director of Saskatchewan Blue Cross Recess Guardians. Operating since 2008, the program is an initiative to encourage students to play and be physically active during recess. This involves a Recess Guardian meeting with a class or school and introducing new games and activities that all students can participate in. The Recess Guardians program is operating in more than 100 schools, and has worked with over 30,000 youth throughout the province.

“We are giving everyone the chance to be a leader and not just the so-called ‘leaders’ of the school,” McDonald says, describing the most satisfying part of the program. “It is incredible to see a student who may be really shy or quiet, step up and instruct a game in front of their peers for the first time.”

2016 Red Cross Young Humanitarian of the Year, Mike McDonald (BScKin'10) has been introducing fun and physical activity to students at recess through the Saskatchewan Blue Cross Recess Guardians program (photo: Canadian Red Cross).

2016 Red Cross Young Humanitarian of the Year, Mike McDonald (BScKin’10) has been introducing fun and physical activity to students at recess through the Saskatchewan Blue Cross Recess Guardians program (photo: Canadian Red Cross).

McDonald has also been active in organizing Brainsport’s Free Shoe Day the last six years. This program has donated more than 15,000 pairs of gently used shoes to people in need in Saskatchewan and worldwide.

He cites several U of S Alumni who have inspired him to become involved in the community, including Cary Primeau (BSPE’95, MBA’04), and instructors Melissa Strom (BSc’04, MBA’07) and Susan McDonald (BA’83, ARTS’91, MA’95), who is Mike’s aunt.

“Red Cross is the organization that you turn to in a time when disaster strikes,” McDonald said. “With the current Fort McMurray situation, they are doing wonderful things to raise money and provide relief. I am extremely grateful to have been given this honour.”

USSU Engaged Young Alumni Award

Congratulations to Jaris Swidrovich, this year’s USSU Engaged Young Alumni Award winner!

Swidrovich received the honour at the USSU Experience in Excellence Awards on April 3, 2016. Swidrovich graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy in 2010. Following the attainment of this degree, Swidrovich completed his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at the University of Toronto, where he became the first self-identified First Nations Doctor of Pharmacy in Canada. Swidrovich is now proudly employed as a Lecturer at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the U of S.

He has been recognized with many prestigious awards and honours for his work in the pharmacy field while remaining a strong supporter of the community.

Swidrovich acted as a First Nations Advisor for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Education. Currently he sits on the City of Saskatoon’s Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Committee.

JarisPhoto1

Jaris Swidrovich (BSP’10) is the recipient of this year’s USSU Engaged Young Alumni Award. He will also be speaking at the upcoming Alumni Association Annual General Meeting on June 22, 2016.

He is the creator and chair of the National Aboriginal Health Pharmacist specialty network and the acting past-president of the Saskatchewan Branch of Canadian Society for Hospital Pharmacists. He is also a clinical pharmacist and mentor at the student wellness initiative toward community health (SWITCH), a student-run clinic that provides a valuable service to the clients who attend.

One of his most recent accomplishments is his work with the HIV/AIDS community. Swidrovich was employed as a Clinical Coordinator of Pharmacy Services for two years where he self-created a clinical practice in HIV/AIDS and addiction. He is also on the Board of Directors for Sanctum– a new transitional care home and hospice for people living with HIV in Saskatoon.

Throughout his many undertakings, Swidrovich remains a strong advocate for the U of S and extends this through his continued dedication to Aboriginal students and initiatives. He has spent time as a volunteer mentor for pharmacy and health science students and is frequently a keynote speaker and participant in events such as the Yellow Quill First Nation Annual Career Day, ExperienceUS and STEMfest.

Today, Swidrovich is assisting with the design and planning of the upcoming Doctor of Pharmacy program at the U of S and also assisting faculty both within and outside the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition in incorporating and enhancing indigenous content in the curriculum.

Jaris Swidrovich will also be a guest speaker at the Alumni Association Annual General Meeting on June 22, 2016, 6:30 p.m., at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre.

Alumni Highlights: Kim Coates

Our U of S alumni have made their mark all over the world. As we celebrate our centennial year, we want to highlight the accomplishments of our graduates.

Check in for monthly Q&As with alumni from all the U of S colleges, as we sit down to talk about their life after the U of S and how being on this campus shaped their careers.

For the first in the Alumni Highlights series, we caught up with Kim Coates (BA’81), actor featured in several movie and TV series, including star of the hit FX series Sons of Anarchy.

Coates

Tell us about the campus when you went to the U of S; how is it different today?

Seriously, I don’t feel a year over 33 …well some days 43.  So much has changed since I graduated from the U of S in 1981.  When I go back to Saskatoon now, I like to jog around campus and I get the feeling of change for sure.  It’s a lot bigger now especially around the perimeter.  The roads were simple in the early 80s but now you actually need a map. I still think we need an archway; a true entrance to that amazing place.

What’s one of your favorite memories you had outside of the classroom?

How about Lady Godiva?* The lovable battle between engineers and agros was so palpable for me. One of my best buds is Murray Totland** (who basically runs Saskatoon now; beautifully I might add). I was always out with the College of Engineering so I was hip to all the crazy events.

Overall, how was your U of S experience?

IT WAS THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE.  It gave me the path I’m walking on now.  It gave me the courage to learn about Shakespeare, Sheppard and Tennessee Williams. I stumbled into acting and in a way acting found me. I’ve never been afraid to fail, and I trace that all the way back to my drama days at the U of S.

How did going to the U of S shape your career as an actor?

It was everything. I acted in about 25 productions over a four year period – that is totally off the charts and unheard of at other places. My pals in drama and I produced two years of summer stock theatre right on campus to go along with the school calendars. I’ll never forget it. We even travelled to Europe and won a Fringe First award for the play Creeps.

In my position now, I travel all over the world doing movies and I am constantly asked about my time at the U of S. I never stop sharing my memories of how it all began.

Thank you Tom Kerr and the faculty of drama way back when.

What did you wish you would have known on your first day at the U of S?

Where the closest bathroom was. But seriously, I was pretty much in awe of the entire place. I entered the campus wanting to be a history teacher and I left four years later as a professional actor.  I’m glad I was naive enough and green enough (go Riders!!) to be open to everything. I loved that place; loved the bowl, loved Louis, loved the old Hangar Building***, and so much more.

The only thing I don’t miss is the winters (blame Los Angeles for that).

 

*Lady Godiva was an old U of S welcome back tradition where a lady would parade around the bowl on a horse, all while naked.

** Murray Totland (ME’79. MBA ’92) is Saskatoon’s current city manager.

***Erected as a “temporary” facility post-WWII, the Hangar outlived its critics and became a place for students to gather and take classes until the 80s.