Happy holidays, from your Alumni Association President

For many of us, the holiday season is a ‘finish line’ of sorts; a proper demarcation point between the end of the year and the promise and possibility of the year ahead.

This year, the U of S Alumni Association continued its celebration of 100 years and millions of memories. During our centennial, we brought the celebrations to our alumni throughout the country and across the border with several alumni guest speakers. The 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Alumni Association was the perfect opportunity to re-connect with our alumni who have made their mark in Saskatchewan and beyond.
As we recognized 100 years of the Alumni Association, it was also a year of firsts. We celebrated volunteerism–an essential component of Saskatchewan’s DNA–at the inaugural Volunteer Summit in March. Lending your time and talent is a great way to stay connected with your alma mater in 2018.

We also welcomed back hundreds of alumni to campus for our first-ever Alumni Weekend with an action-packed schedule of events and activities to cap off our centennial festivities. Stay tuned for details on our next Alumni Weekend in 2018.

Huskie pride was on full display at Homecoming 2017, as more than 8,000 fans packed Griffiths Stadium to cheer on the Huskies to victory over the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Homecoming was an amazing opportunity to connect with our alumni, and experience first-hand the excitement and enthusiasm of our alumni and future alumni.

In October, we honoured nine superlative alumni at the Alumni Achievement Awards. This year’s class of award recipients personify the great heights that can be achieved with a degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

As an alumna, I am inspired when I get the opportunity to share time with our alumni. Each alum has an interesting story about why they chose to pursue education at the U of S. They each have a unique career path and accomplishments; they are leaders and innovators; they are philanthropists and educators; researchers and athletes; activists and actors; and they embody how our university serves our communities and the world.

The holidays are also an important time to reconnect with your family and friends. As members of the 150,000-strong alumni community, we share a lifelong connection to this proud university we call our alma mater. In 2018, I encourage you to take advantage of this special bond. There are many opportunities and events and we welcome your involvement.

On behalf of the Alumni Association board of directors and staff, best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday season and health and happiness in 2018!

Kelly Strueby (BComm’84)
President, University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association

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.