Your support keeps students in the game

When he isn’t on the football field, you can find Jesse Gordon analyzing space missions, contemplating synchrotron physics, and experimenting with solar cells. At times, his academic and athletic schedule bleed into one another. He will study until the early hours of the morning in the library, grab a few hours of sleep, and return to campus to board the game bus with his teammates, off to another province to represent the U of S Huskies. “Despite the sacrifices, it has been worth it,” Jesse asserts.

Jesse Gordon, engineering physics student and former Huskie athlete. David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca

Since he was 18 years old, Jesse knew with certainty these two things:

  1. He wanted to play football.
  2. He wanted to pursue a higher education.

When he was offered a spot on the Huskies football team, he was overjoyed. He recognized it would be difficult to balance a demanding athletic schedule while pursuing a degree in engineering physics, but his competitive nature and motto– that hard work pays off in the end–  had him moving forward at a fast and furious pace.

This pace would successfully propel him through four years of schooling, until recently when everything came to a stop.

Jesse suddenly found himself sidelined from his motto and the game he adored. He had developed a serious hip injury and would require surgery, with extensive physiotherapy to follow. Physiotherapy would be required during the summer, which would interfere with taking a full-time job to help pay for his schooling. He would have to choose between his health and education.

Fortunately, Jesse never had to make this choice, thanks to the Ruth and Eber Pollard Scholarship.

“When I received news that I was the recipient of this amazing scholarship, I made the decision to take a class over summer so that I would have time to rehab my hip,” said Jesse.

That class was paid for by the Pollard’s support, and gave Jesse reassurance that hard work does pay off. “To be recognized for your hard work and know that people believe in you is a feeling like no other,” he says.

“This is the beauty of giving. No matter what the recipient is going through, the support of receiving an award can only bring about positive change. For that I would like to thank the Pollards and all other university donors for their inspiring generosity.”

Jesse is now looking to the future and where his education might take him. For Jesse, hard work, dedication and passion will always fuel a person forward in life. He likes to think that Ruth and Eber Pollard stepped in at the perfect time to remind him of this—it’s how you play the game.

Jesse Gordon in the lab, creating solar cells for research purposes

If you would like to support students’ ambitions through a gift in your Will, please contact:
Bev Cooper
Gift Planning, University Relations
306-966-2416 or 1-800-699-1907
giftplanning@usask.ca 

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

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

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. Continue reading

Hockey Canada Foundation invests in Merlis Belsher Place

On Thursday, October 5, the hockey community came together at the site of Saskatoon’s soon-to-be newest multi-sport facility to celebrate a significant investment back into local sport.

The Hockey Canada Foundation announced that Merlis Belsher Place will be one of four provincial hockey initiatives to receive funds raised through its largest annual fundraiser – the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf event held in Saskatoon earlier this year.

A total of $83,272 will go towards construction of Merlis Belsher Place, with $40,000 designated specifically to accommodate the facility for sledge hockey, making it the first sledge-friendly arena in Saskatoon.

“The fact that Merlis Belsher Place will accommodate sledge hockey shows the incredible versatility and importance of this facility in its commitment to the great game of hockey,” said Huskies Chief Athletics Officer, Shawn Burt. “The Canadian sledge hockey team are reigning Olympic gold medalists, and we look forward to the many opportunities this facility will offer to develop world-class athletes and grow the sport here in our own community.” Continue reading

Home Ice volunteer, Dell Chapman

“Once a Huskie, always a Huskie” is not just a motto for University of Saskatchewan athletes; it’s a way of life for Dell Chapman (BCOMM’81).

“My days at the U of S were some of the most rewarding and fun times of my life,” Dell says. “The hockey part was particularly rewarding, as over a three-year period we went from a bit of a sad team to national finalists. I’ve been a ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ Dog ever since.”

Dell Chapman (right) with President Peter Stoicheff (left) in Rutherford Rink.

After leaving the U of S, Dell began a long and successful career as a chartered accountant and certified financial analyst, specializing in the oil and gas industry in Alberta. He and his wife, Claudette, started a family in Calgary, raising two children, Allistair and Lowell. Dell and Claudette met in the halls of Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon, and have over 37 years of marriage to celebrate. With strong ties to Saskatoon, the family calls both Prairie Provinces home.

Even though he and many of his teammates left Saskatoon after graduation, Dell was determined to keep the team threaded together. Despite being kept busy by his family, friends and work commitments, Dell carved out time to spearhead a number of alumni events in Calgary.

“In the early days we used to get a number of alumni from Saskatoon who would come out for a golf tournament and alumni hockey game because they didn’t have their own. I bug the boys in Saskatoon that the Calgary group was the first to have both,” he says jokingly.

When serious discussions of a new facility for the Huskies began, it was only natural that Dell was recruited to help rally Huskie alumni in Calgary. The Home Ice campaign went on to become the most successful volunteer-driven fundraising campaign in the university’s history raising an astonishing $29 million. This was largely due to dedicated volunteers like Dell, who put together and co-chaired a successful Alberta committee with Marlowe Allison. Dell is quick to give enormous credit and gratitude to those on his fundraising team in Calgary.

“Easily the most rewarding part of the campaign was when I reached out to the individuals in Calgary to join the fundraising efforts,” he recalls. “There was no hesitation when asked to join. Each team member personally committed their time and made efforts to reach out personally to many of their contacts in Calgary and beyond.”

Dell’s Huskie pride is as strong as ever. Now that construction has begun on Merlis Belsher Place, he is excited for hockey fans young and old to enjoy the benefits of what Huskie alumni have worked so hard to build.

“I see it becoming the center of hockey excellence in the province,” he says. “What better place for hockey minds to gather and progress the game.”

Written by Lindsay Royale

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 mens 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.”

Continue reading

Campaign for Students: The places we will go

This year’s 2017-18 Campaign for Students: The places we will go, stations you alongside our dedicated students as they strive to make their mark on this world. Where can a U of S education take you? How far can you go? Your donation to Campaign for Students provides opportunities through scholarships and bursaries for students who are passionate about making a difference through their studies.

Nadia Philipenko, a Master of Physical Therapy student in the College of Medicine, is one of many students who have been a recipient of awards funded through the Campaign for Students.

“These student awards have motivated me to remain involved, and encourage me to continually strive for excellence.These gifts have allowed me to focus and dedicate myself to my academic endeavors, volunteer work, and to allow time to be spent with my loved ones.”

Nadia Philipenko is thankful for the donor support she has received during her education. She is looking forward to having a career where she can make a difference on an individual level, helping patients get back to what they love to do.  David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca

Your donation to the Campaign for Students ensures that students like Nadia are not on their academic journey alone. Through the Campaign for Studentsyour support eases the burden of tuition, books and living expenses when there’s no time for part-time jobs. Your encouragement teaches them the value of philanthropy because they feel the impact.

“I feel it is important for students graduating to know that they have the support from the community and alumni. Facilitation of these relationships contributes to the maintenance of excellence within the school as well as out in the community. Once I graduate, I look forward to making an impact here in Saskatoon, and also in rural communities in Saskatchewan where our services are less accessible, but needed,” says Nadia.

There are several ways to contribute to the Campaign for Students, including donations to specific colleges, funds, University Library, Huskie Athletics, and more.

Giving is easy, convenient, and any donation – regardless of the amount – has a lasting impact on U of S students.

The Campaign for Students runs until April 30, 2018. Please visit www.give.usask.ca/students for more information on how to give.

Heroic blue heeler back in the field thanks to donor support

Dwane McLaren calls his dog Jango a “firecracker.”

The three-year-old blue heeler is an expert cattle herder, and when McLaren found himself cornered by 14 angry bulls, Jango came to his rescue.

Jango outside the WCVM after his final appointment after surgery (photo by Jeanette Neufeld).

The small dog took on the bulls, and Jango didn’t stop protecting McLaren even after suffering a broken jaw.

“The bulls were 2,200 pounds — and he’s 40,” says McLaren, who hauls cattle for a living. “One [bull] decided he didn’t like me very much, and he started coming after me … [Jango] grabbed onto the back of his ankle and distracted him enough that I could get over the fence.”

McLaren says he’s amazed at Jango’s protective nature.

“For him to know to come and do that — I didn’t call him or anything. The natural instinct to help in a dog is unbelievable,” he says.

After a three-hour struggle, McLaren finally got the bulls loaded in his semi-trailer. That’s when he noticed Jango was bleeding from his mouth. Despite being injured, the dog hadn’t stopped helping his owner the entire time.

“He’s tougher than nails, this fellow,” he says of his dog. Continue reading

Foundation support allows brightest students to shine

Regan Wilson (left) and Kinga Nolan are the recipients of the 2017 Schulich Leadership Scholarships.

Regan Wilson and Kinga Nolan are the latest University of Saskatchewan students to be awarded Schulich Leader Scholarships.

Canadian businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich created the scholarship program in 2011, providing entrance awards for high school graduates enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at participating Canadian universities.

This year, there were more than 1,300 Schulich Leader Nominees from across Canada vying for 50 scholarships, valued at up to $100,000 each. Wilson and Nolan have joined the ranks of over 270 students who received this scholarship to date.

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$16.6 million to U of S researchers for work with Mozambique partners

University of Saskatchewan researchers have been awarded $16.6 million by Global Affairs Canada to work with Mozambique partners on improving the health and lives of 165,000 Mozambican women of child-bearing age and 23,000 newborns.

This major training and research project, which is six years in length, aims to create conditions in Mozambique that will reduce maternal deaths by improving health services for women and tackling gender barriers that prevent them from accessing effective care.

Latest available United Nations statistics show Mozambique had one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates at 489 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015—nearly 70 times higher than Canada’s rate of seven per 100,000.

“This transformative initiative addresses a great tragedy and demonstrates our university’s ongoing commitment to global citizenship and international community service through research,” said Karen Chad, U of S vice-president Research. “This community-engaged project will also provide an extremely valuable international learning experience for our students.” Continue reading

Supporting Students

The fifth and final phase of the successful Preston Crossing development is nearing completion, with 15 new tenants opening their doors this year to bring the major shopping centre to a total of 40 stores, services and restaurants on the 70-acre parcel of land owned by the U of S. Lease arrangements with the developer have generated more than $17 million for student scholarships, bursaries and initiatives.

The University of Saskatchewan’s partnership with one of Saskatoon’s premier shopping centres is paying big dividends for U of S students.

“We think it has been really successful,” said Judy Yungwirth, U of S director of corporate admin istration. “When we started, our vision was to leverage the value of our land to generate revenue for priorities of the university. Student scholarships were identified as a priority at the time. It has exceeded our financial expectations and it’s become a hugely successful shopping centre.”
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