Good fit: emotional connection inspires lifetime of service
As a student advocate, Chancellor Vera Pezer helped build a richer and more supportive environment at the University of Saskatchewan. During her early days in Student Counselling, she identified many barriers to student success; so, as Associate Vice-President of Student Services, she went on to establish services and support programs to meet students’ diverse needs. This evolution has been vital for the university. “We serve the public,” she says. “The more diverse we are, the more we reflect the society that we serve.”
Dr. Pezer came to the U of S in the 1960s from a small community near Melfort. Being the only university student from a high school graduating class of four was daunting at first. “It was a huge jump for me to come here,” she says. “I think it explains my interest in student services.”
Taking up familiar hometown sports at university helped ease the transition—and led to national success in softball and curling. “Curling is, by its nature, social,” says the four-time Canadian ladies’ champion. “You’re a small team, you make friends, and you’re very close to each other. It was a good fit for me.”
To help future female Huskie athletes, Dr. Pezer has donated the future proceeds of a life insurance policy to establish scholarship support. She calls her planned gift a recognition of her emotional connection with the university, students and sport, which all played a huge role in her life.
After six years as Chancellor, Dr. Pezer is now preparing to step down from her role. However, she is pleased to continue serving as the Patron Member for the Greystone Circle, helping to honour those who remember the university in their estate plans.
“I had the good fortune to be a student here, and to spend a good part of my challenging and rewarding career helping students getting their degrees. Now I’ve had the good fortune, as Chancellor, to confer their degrees,” she smiles. “So I’ve come full circle.”
(Image: Chancellor Vera Pezer stands in the Bowl, reflecting on her lifetime of service to the U of S. Dr. Pezer has made a planned gift to support female Huskie athletes, in gratitude to the university, which has played a huge role in her life.)