Rocking geology and graduate students’ worlds

A $1.1 million donation from alumnus Dr. Rui Feng is providing new opportunities for students to succeed.


On October 11, the University of Saskatchewan celebrated a $1.1-million gift from Dr. Rui Feng, a U of S alumnus who received his PhD in geology.

The gift will provide funding for scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students in geological sciences, and an additional award for a graduate student in the Humanities or Social Sciences with a research focus on natural resources.

At the announcement in historic Convocation Hall, Dr. Feng recounted his first memories of coming to the University of Saskatchewan from Beijing. “The University of Saskatchewan changed my life,” said Feng. “It led me to a new world.” He spoke about the importance of learning to write from his professor and mentor, Dr. Robert Kerrich. He believes that this skill helped him receive awards when he was a U of S student and urged the students attending the celebration to develop these skills.

The winners of the geological science awards this year are Dawson Holloway, John Shymr and Jinru Lin, and the College of Graduate Studies and Research will choose the first winner in another discipline in 2012.

“It’s very nice to see my hard work in academics rewarded financially,” said Holloway. “To receive such a generous gift is a huge benefit, and hopefully it will encourage me to work even harder going forward. It’s people like Mr. Feng who help make the U of S a great school, and it’s an honour to be recognized with this award.”

“We have a very strong, proud group of alumni that appreciate the value of giving back to students,” said Vice-President Advancement Heather Magotiaux. “Gifts like this one from Rui Feng support our commitment to provide students with additional opportunities.”

Feng received his PhD in 1992 and became president and CEO of Spokane Resources in 2003, which became Silvercorp in 2005. Silvercorp has its headquarters in Vancouver, B.C. The gift was made in March 2011, and student scholarship winners were notified in September.