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.

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.

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.

The Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence

It’s tradition, in the MFA writing program, that the first year student who has travelled the farthest to attend the program is given the honour of attending and writing an article on the annual Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence.

By Taidgh Lynch, MFA in Writing, University of Saskatchewan

Trevor Herriot (BA’79, ARTS’81)

The Kloppenburg award, established in 2010, acknowledges a Saskatchewan writer who has written a substantial body of literary work. As I have travelled over 6,000 kilometres from Ireland to do my Master of Fine Arts in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan, I won in regards to mileage covered.

I met Henry (BA’65, JD’68) and Cheryl Kloppenburg (BA’70, ARTS,71, JD’75, MA’75), a few days before the awards ceremony to learn a little bit about them and find out the reason behind the Kloppenburg Award. We met for lunch at the Somewhere Else Pub and Grill. Henry recommended I try the steak sandwich, which I did, and when the food arrived he said grace in Latin, a tradition he said from his time in Oxford University, UK where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College.

Over lunch I learnt about the Kloppenburgs’ life and their over 80 years in law practice between them in Saskatoon. Henry talked fondly of growing up in Humboldt, SK, and spoke proudly about the Kloppenburg Wildlife Refuge near Humboldt that was established in 1996 with 160 acres of land to protect the natural wildlife in the area, which has never been broken for agriculture. It’s there visitors can go to enjoy bird watching, take in the beauty of wildflowers and relax in the peaceful surroundings.

Cheryl Kloppenburg, like her husband is a tremendously accomplished lawyer, having completed her entire post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan and also has the same passion in supporting the community and promoting the arts.

Herriot accepting the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence

We continued chatting around coffee. Cheryl and Henry talked in great detail about art and giving back to the community of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan. They told me about the scholarships and prizes that they have set up at High Schools, Humboldt College Institute and at the University of Saskatchewan. The were keen for me to have a look at their 55-piece Inuit art collection that they collected for over 40 years and donated to the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan in 2011.

They spoke passionately about the annual Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence that Henry told me was set up to celebrate the long, proud history the province of Saskatchewan has in producing renowned writers that have made a significant contribution to Canadian literature. They wanted to recognise the achievements of a Saskatchewan writer who has written a substantial body of literary work and so the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence was established.

With a lovely lunch and an entertaining chat over we said our goodbyes, looking forward to meeting again at the awards ceremony.

This year the 8th annual Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence took place at a luncheon on September 19th at the German Cultural Centre, 160, Cartwright St. East, Saskatoon. If I thought I left the rain behind in Ireland I was sadly mistaken. The day was muggy and wet, just like home. But the weather did little to dampen our spirits as everyone hurried excitedly in and took their seats. There was a great buzz in the air as local dignitaries, writers and guests mingled. I spotted the novelist Yann Martel in the crowd who won last year’s award. Previous winners of the award included the novelist, poet and short story writer David Carpenter in 2015, novelist Sandra Birdsell in 2014, novelist, dramatist and short story writer, Diane Warren in 2013, novelist Sharon Butala in 2012, poet Lorna Crozier in 2011 and novelist and short story writer, Guy Vanderhaeghe in 2010.

This year it was proudly hosted by The Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, and emceed by its president Jack Walton. He welcomed everyone to the event, acknowledging the generosity and support of Cheryl and Henry to the province of Saskatchewan. He talked about the rich literary heritage of the province and how important it was to have an award recognising the achievements of its writers. The three Honorary Patrons of the Award, Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Dr. Peter Stoicheff, President of the University of Saskatchewan and Charlie Clark the Mayor of Saskatoon each gave a short speech mentioning the importance of the award and congratulated the winner careful not to let it slip who the winner was.

Then Cheryl and Henry presented the award of $10,000, and a framed print from the highly respected Saskatchewan artist Dorothy Knowles to the 2017 winner of the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Literary Award of Excellence, the prairie naturalist, illustrator, activist, and non-fiction writer — the esteemed Trevor Herriot.

Trevor graciously accepted the award saying how wonderful it was to be recognised for his writing locally and how much it meant to be listed amongst such distinguished writers. He talked passionately about the importance of preserving and protecting Canadian grasslands for future generations. Then in appreciation for Cheryl and Henry’s contribution in promoting the arts he gave them an illustration of his, a Mountain Plover whose population is in decline and some honey, from his home in Regina which he shares with his wife Karen and their four children.

Not wanting the guests to feel left out, Cheryl made sure everyone got a little gift too of a print of Dorothy Knowles’s art to take home with them. When lunch was over, Trevor Herriot read from his book, Islands of Grass which comes out on November 1st later this year. The book is accompanied by acclaimed photographer Branimir Gjetvaj’s extraordinary photographs. The audience listened to Trevor read about the prairie grasslands that are rapidly disappearing and of the Great Northern Plain that stretched across the continent abundant with wildlife, and with herds of bison. numbering in the millions. Sadly, today, all this is rapidly disappearing and in some areas there are only small unique islands of untouched prairie grassland left.

Jack Walton closed proceedings to the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence 2017 thanking everyone for coming and wished everyone well.

Front row, left to right: Dorothy Knowles (distinguished Canadian artist and donor of the print that is part of the Award); the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan; Cheryl Kloppenburg (co-donor). Back row, left to right: Peter Stoicheff; Trevor Herriott (Award recipient); Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon; Henry Kloppenburg (co-donor); Jack Walton (President of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild); Darrell Dick (President of the German Cultural Centre, hosting the event).

After saying goodbye to Cheryl and Henry, and briefly chatting with Trevor Herriot, I made my way to the Murray Library, on Saskatchewan University campus. I was keen to discover for myself Trevor Herriot’s work. What I found was beautiful, lyrically rich language within the pages of his books. I discovered a writer who has a deep love and respect for the grasslands in a world where we think more about expansion rather than seeing what we can preserve and keep intact for future generations. The library is well stocked with all five of his books with Towards a Prairie Atonement, published in October 2016 being his most recent to date. Apart from his books and his regular guest spot on CBC Radio Saskatchewan’s Blue Sky, Trevor has a blog, Grass Notes (trevorherriot.blogspot.com). He started blogging in 2009 as a way to further educate and inform his readers and listeners.

I have yet to check out Cheryl and Henry’s donated collection of art in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan but when I get the chance I’ll definitely have a look at their permanent collection.

Going to the Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence was a great experience for me. Not only did I met Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg who are exceptionally warm and friendly but I got to talk writers like Trevor Herriot who is creative and sincere. I got to witness firsthand the creative vibrancy of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan. I could feel the willingness from Cheryl, Henry and Trevor to preserve art and land for generations to come. Such ideals should be promoted and celebrated no matter where we live.

Ushering in a new era with Home Ice

With a new era of hockey on the horizon, alumni Kerry (BCOMM’85) and Bonnie Preete (BSPE’82; BED’84) reflect fondly on their memories of playing with the Huskies.

Kerry Preete, top row, fifth from left, with the Huskie’s men’s hockey team in 1983.

Both were student athletes while they attended the U of S – Bonnie playing with the Huskiettes from 1979-1982, while Kerry joined the men’s hockey team in 1980. It was a turning point for the men’s team in particular, as new coach Dave King propelled them to the final game of the University Cup three years in a row.  But it wasn’t until 1983 that the team was finally victorious, having lost in the championship game during the first two runs. Kerry explained that the roller coaster of emotions that the team shared during those years helped build the foundations of friendship with his teammates that, nearly four decades later, remain today.

“I think we had something special going on,” Kerry said. “Maybe part of that was forged by being so successful as a group over those three or four years and coming really close twice, and then to end up winning, it added an extra something special to the relationship and to the bond that all of us had.”

The Preete’s relocated to St. Louis, Missouri nearly 20 years ago, where Kerry has assumed the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Monsanto. He says much of his professional success can be attributed back to the lessons and values he learned as a Huskie.

“I look back and I see what playing in that program did for me personally, in terms of some of the life lessons that I learned from playing the game at that level, the things I learned from extremely successful teammates, and from Dave King, who was a mentor to all of us,” Kerry said.

Bonnie and Kerry Preete.

The Preete’s have stayed connected to hockey in St. Louis, spending hours at the rink cheering on their three sons with Kerry acting as a coach.  Watching their boys grow up with the game and having been players themselves, Bonnie and Kerry know how important a good facility is to building a strong program.

“In order to have strong sports team you need good facilities,” Bonnie said. “I think a new rink facility for the U of S and the Huskies is long overdue.”

Ensuring the Huskies hockey program continues to be successful and offer players the same kinds of opportunities they had inspired Kerry and Bonnie to support the Home Ice Campaign and usher in a new era for the Huskies. They generously donated $150,000 to the campaign to help build a new home for the dogs – Merlis Belsher Place.

“As much affection that I certainly have for Rutherford – we call it the doghouse – I do think programs at all kinds of levels now have to realize that having a nice facility allows you to attract players and keep a program successful,” Kerry said.

“The University of Saskatchewan is a very important place for both Kerry and I, and the Rutherford rink was a place we both spent a lot of time,” Bonnie adds. “We know the ‘old doghouse’ will not stand up forever so it is time for a ‘new doghouse’.”

The Preete’s are looking forward to a bright future for the Huskies, and plan on making a trip back to Saskatchewan soon to cheer them on at the new facility. Kerry said he’s ready to see his former line-mate – current head coach of men’s hockey, Dave Adolph – lead the Dogs to another National Championship.

“I’m just so excited about the U of S and the Huskies being able to move into a new rink,” Kerry said. “I think it will just add to the legacy and their success going forward.”

Invictus inspiration

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

This line from the poem Invictus by English poet William Ernest Henley is the ethos of the Invictus Games, the brainchild of Prince Harry of Wales.

The Invictus Games is an international athletics competition for active duty and veteran service members who have become ill or injured during, or resulting from, their service. Featuring 12 sports including powerlifting and wheelchair tennis, the Games are an Olympics-style event for adaptive sport athletes. Hosted in Toronto, the Games will welcome more than 550 competitors from 17 countries, including Canada.

The indomitable spirit of these men and women has always been an inspiration for Andy McCreath (BA’99), co-chair of this year’s competition in Toronto. In his role, McCreath is leading fundraising efforts and sponsorship of the Games.

Andy McCreath (far left) with Prince Harry at the launch announcement of the 2017 Invictus Games.

McCreath’s devotion to servicemen and women is nothing new. For several years, he was involved with the True Patriot Love Foundation, a national charity which raises funds for veterans and their families. In 2014, McCreath and his business partner Christian Darbyshire spearheaded efforts to raise $1.2 million for the foundation through a charity dinner in Calgary.

McCreath is proud that it was ultimately the work done by the True Patriot Love Foundation which attracted interest from the Invictus Games organizers to host the event in Canada.

“The True Patriot Love Foundation is something very close to my heart, as my grandfather served our country,” he said. “The countless sacrifices made by our Canadian armed forces, be it physical or mental, should be highly recognized by Canadians everywhere.”

Sharing the common bond of supporting and celebrating the resilience of the Invictus Games competitors, McCreath met Prince Harry at the launch announcement of the 2017 Games.

“He was very humble,” McCreath said of the prince. “It was great that he was able to make it out for the launch. He should be very proud of what he has created.”

The Invictus Games take place Sept. 23-30, beginning with the opening ceremonies. The closing ceremonies on Sept. 30 will feature performances by Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and more.

Read more at Invictus Games.

Canada 150 Citizens

As part of the U of S Canada 150 Project, the University of Saskatchewan is proud to recognize 10 remarkable members of the university community as U of S Canada 150 Citizens. These individuals have significantly contributed to Canada becoming a more diverse, inclusive and environmentally sustainable country.

The honourees were nominated by members of the public, and were selected for exemplifying the Canada 150 themes of diversity and inclusion, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, environment and youth. Congratulations to the following alumni for their contributions to enriching Canada’s present and future:

CeCe Baptiste (BComm’04)

CeCe is passionate about community. A university employee, CeCe is also a dedicated volunteer serving on various provincial and non-profit boards. As a Cree woman, she is committed to advocating for Indigenous Peoples, and works hard to ensure Indigenous perspectives are represented at decision-making tables locally and provincially.



Angie Bugg (BE’85)

Angie is a passionate advocate for environmental stewardship and youth engagement. A graduate from the College of Engineering, she works for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and educates children, businesses, and non-profits on the importance of energy conservation and waste prevention.




Max FineDay (BA’15)

Passionate about youth leadership development, theories of change-making, and First Nations community revitalization, Max is currently co-executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a national charity committed to building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.



Harry Lafond (MEDUC’89)

Harry is an advocate for Indigenous Peoples and the Cree language. He has a range of experience in politics and academics, and is currently the executive director of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and serves as chair of the Board of Trustees First Nations Trust.




Naheda Sahtout (GPSC’17)

An award-winning graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Naheda never lets anything stand in the way of accomplishing her goals. She has a deep commitment to helping others and spends countless hours volunteering in the community.

Pharmacy alumnus named first CEO of new Saskatchewan Health Authority

Scott Livingstone (BSP’88, MSc’94) was introduced as the first CEO of new Saskatchewan Health Authority. Since April 2010, Livingstone has led the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency as president and CEO.  Previously, he served as CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Information Network (now eHealth Saskatchewan).

(Photo: Rachel Psutka / Regina Leader-Post)

Livingstone holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmacy Degree and a Master of Science in Clinical Pharmacy.

Read more on Livingstone’s appointment and the new Saskatchewan Health Authority at the Government of Saskatchewan.

Plugin by Social Author Bio