The gift of support through difficult times

For Kellie Wuttunee, family is everything. The University of Saskatchewan graduate credits the support of both her immediate and extended families for being able to achieve her challenging educational goals while also balancing the demands of being a single parent. She’s raising three children under the age of 13, all while obtaining two degrees—her master’s in social work from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2012, and now a law degree from the U of S.

“The biggest challenge has been learning to manage my time and energy well,” Kellie said of the long road she’s travelled to get to her to her 2017 convocation. “There were some really tough times. My family, friends, culture and spirituality helped me and got me through it.”

Growing up an hour west of Saskatoon, on Red Pheasant First Nation, the Nêhiyawak Cree woman said she couldn’t imagine pursing her law degree anywhere but the University of Saskatchewan. “This is home for me—I wanted to be close to my family,” she noted. “My children have been by my side the entire process of obtaining my higher education.”

David Stobbe /

Kellie was also attracted to the Program of Legal Studies for Native People at the U of S. “It’s a one-of-a-kind program in Canada, and I was so grateful to be selected,” she said. The pre-law course provided her with a solid foundation for her Juris Doctor, a degree that holds a significant family connection. Her uncle William Wuttunee, who graduated from the U of S College of Law in 1952, was the first Cree lawyer to be called to the bar in Western Canada.
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The currency of coins

Tucked away, down a long stretch of corridor in the Peter MacKinnon building, is the Museum of Antiquities. Though small in size, the room is grand in its contributions. The museum aims to offer the public a “reliable and critical account of the artistic accomplishments of major Western civilizations and epochs from approximately 3000 BC to AD 1500,” ensuring that right here on campus, the past is present for examination.

On April 28, an exhibit created exclusively upon donations by Terence Cheesman, had people pressed against cabinet glass, hoping to travel back in time. NVMISMANIA—A Celebration of Ancient Coinage showcases a sampling of ancient coins. Terence is a generous supporter of the museum and a Numismatist by trade, having spent countless hours studying and collecting coins over the years.

The depictions on the coins offer a glimpse into the social and economic culture of the time. One coin, blueish green in colour—bruised with time—depicts an ear of grain. This is an ancient Celtic bronze coin from Ilipense, Spain, dating from 150-100 BCE. Grain, as it happens, was one of the commodities that this city was known for and took pride in at the time.

Featured in the exhibit, an ancient Celtic bronze coin from Ilipense, Spain, dating from 150-100 BCE.

Director of the museum, Tracene Harvey commented, “I like to imagine that if Saskatchewan minted its own coins, this is a coin image that would be most fitting for our province.”

Tracene is proud to note that the Museum of Antiquities has recently grown their coin collection, jumping from approximately 80 to around 460 coins. The majority of these artifacts have come from Terence’s personal collection. The museum uses the coin collection extensively for the purposes of teaching, experiential learning and research, including experiments conducted by U of S students at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. Continue reading

Global implications for new GIFS scholarship

Dr. Patrick Man Pan Yuen was just a teenager when he came to Canada from Hong Kong to study, first as a high school student in Montreal before heading west to Saskatoon to study medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.

Now, six decades later, Yuen still fondly remembers his time on campus and his mentor, Dr. Donald Baxter, and is giving back to his alma mater by establishing a major scholarship for graduate students at the U of S.

On June 1, the university announced Yuen’s gift of $1-million to establish a scholarship fund in the name of Baxter, to help graduate students from mainland China and Hong Kong study at the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS).

“Throughout my medical career, I have come to the conclusion a medical doctor can really save relatively few of his patients in his lifetime,” Yuen said, “By offering to help set up research in increasing food production to combat hunger, far more lives can be saved. I cannot think of a better place in the world than the University of Saskatchewan in fulfilling my wishes.”

Dr. Man Pan Yuen graduated from the U of S College of Medicine in 1964. He will be forever grateful for his experience at the U of S, and his time with mentor, Dr. Donald Baxter.

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Building community, one game at a time

When Daphne Arnason and Leo Bourassa heard about the Home Ice Campaign, they knew they couldn’t watch from the bench.

Having raised four children who all played the sport, Daphne and Leo were no strangers to the sport and spent many late nights and early mornings traveling to practices, and cheering on their sons at Rutherford Rink. With much of their spare time dedicated to the game, they were thankful to be in the company of a supportive and growing social circle of likeminded families. The couple not only got to know their children’s friends and parents, but siblings, cousins, grandparents and friends of the families.

Leo Bourassa and Daphne Arnason first met on campus. Both were students and their social circle was built primarily around the U of S– hockey games at Rutherford, meeting friends at the campus pub, and enjoying various organized activities. Later in life as a married couple with four children, the couple would find themselves back on their old stomping grounds, spending many days and nights at their children’s hockey practice at Rutherford.

Even when the kids got older, the relationships they had built through hockey stayed strong.  “We missed the activities when they came to an end, but the connections are quickly rekindled when we run into one another at various events,” says Daphne. “Now we can talk about enjoying the comforts of a new facility, as we follow the next generation – our grandchildren – at play.”

For Daphne and Leo, Merlis Belcher Place will not only be a state-of-the-art, multi-sport facility, but a space where relationships within our community can expand and flourish for years to come.


Home is where the hockey is

The Huskies’ new home at Merlis Belsher Place will also provide opportunities for up-and coming community athletes, thanks to donors like North Prairie Developments.

Company partners (L to R): Tyler Williams, Angela Williams, John Williams (founder), Bernice Williams (founder) and Andrew Williams.

North Prairie Developments has been helping to build our community for thelast 30 years—one home at a time.

Starting from its humble roots in small-town Saskatchewan, it has now grown to become one of the largest development companies in the province.

To say thank you to the people of Saskatoon who have supported them for decades, the Williams family and their business have decided to give back in the most generous way—a $250,000 gift to the University of Saskatchewan Home Ice Campaign.

Their donation is helping us build a modern, multi-sport arena for Huskie athletes and minor hockey players to sharpen their skills and compete with pride.

Thanks to the Williams family and North Prairie Developments, our athletes move into their new home in October 2018, and our campus and community will be stronger for generations to come.

College of Law donor impact video: how your support changes lives

Donors to the College of Law are making a difference every day.  Through their support, our students have the encouragement and opportunities to make their dreams a reality and they go on to help make the world a better place after graduation.

Some of our law graduates have become household names on a provincial, national or international scale—including a prime minister, a governor-general, three Supreme Court of Canada judges, two premiers and a university president. Our alumni  have gone on to be mainstays of the legal profession across the country, as private and public lawyers, and as judges. There are also alumni who have sought careers outside of the legal profession as staff members of unions, as managers of worldwide corporations, as employees of international human rights organizations, as radio personalities and more.

It is through the generosity of donors that our students find the encouragement and support to pursue their career goals, whatever they may be.

Watch this year’s College of Law donor impact video, and hear students Lissa, Jasmine and Kwaku convey the personal impact of donor’s contributions.

David Stobbe /

For more information, please visit the College of Law website.

Ground breaks on long-time dream for new ice

Soccer, basketball and hockey Huskie and Minor League athletes, with (l-r) Kohl Bauml, Bruce Bradshaw, Logan Hjelte, Lorne Wright, Mayor Charlie Clark, Ron Graham, Libby Epoch, President Peter Stoicheff, Merlis Belsher, Ken Cheveldayoff, Lawrence Rychjohn, Jack Van Norman and Gabriel Michael. Photo By Josh Schaefer/University of Saskatchewan/

On April 28, a decades-long dream became a reality—the U of S started construction on Merlis Belsher Place, the replacement for 88-year old Rutherford Rink. Nearly 250 supporters, athletes, and community members turned up for the official groundbreaking ceremony to recognize the project’s many contributors and swift progress on the fundraising campaign.

Wright Construction will begin laying the foundation for the new multi-sport arena—located just south of the Saskatoon Field House—with piling work set to start in early May.

U of S President Peter Stoicheff noted the importance of the many community relationships which have facilitated progress on the project—including the City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association and the campaign’s country-wide volunteer team.

“Developing strong partnerships has never been more important to us than it is today, and Merlis Belsher Place is a great example of the power and potential of these partnerships,” he said. “Thanks to our community’s diverse and generous support, I’m pleased this facility will make a real difference in the lives of our athletes and their families, and contribute to the health and economic impact of our city.”

Elder Fred Sasakamoose (left), with alumnus Sheldon Wuttunee, shared a traditional Cree blessing to honour the land before construction begins. Sasakamoose was the first Indigenous person ever to play in the NHL when he joined the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. He said he was pleased that four of his grandchildren will have the opportunity to play in the new arena, thanks to the community focus of the project. Photo By Josh Schaefer/University of Saskatchewan/

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We’re breaking ground on Merlis Belsher Place

A rendering of Merlis Belsher Place, scheduled to open for hockey in October 2018.

The University of Saskatchewan publicly launched its Home Ice Campaign in October 2016 with a vision to provide students, youth and our community with a state-of-the-art, twin-pad ice facility.

As with many university projects, Merlis Belsher Place is the result of many people coming together in partnership—volunteers; community members; Huskie athletes; Saskatoon Minor Hockey players; university alumni, staff and students—to accomplish something truly extraordinary. With our shared vision and strong leadership, we know this facility will promote sportsmanship, mentorship, team pride, and a love of the game.

On April 28, 2017, we invite all of our supporters and friends from the community to celebrate a significant milestone in the Home Ice Campaign—the official groundbreaking ceremony for Merlis Belsher Place.

Join us as we celebrate the passion and excitement that has made this vision a reality.

For event details, please visit

Smile, YXE

On April 8, 2017 the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) College of Dentistry produced more gleaming-white smiles than usual. The U of S hosted Saskatoon’s first-ever Dental Day YXE, which offered free dental services to individuals and families unable to access care due to financial constraints. Community members flooded through the College of Dentistry doors from 8 am until 4 pm, in eager anticipation of dental cleanings, extractions, fillings, root canals, and denture repairs.

Dr. Alyssa Hayes, assistant professor of dental public health at the U of S, expressed the motivation behind the day, “We can impact many lives by relieving people of dental pain and improving oral health,” she said. “It is also a great way to bring the profession together and strengthen those bonds as a dental community as well as to the communities we serve on a daily basis .” She and Dr. Briere organized Dental Day YXE to be held at the U of S, and encouraged other professionals to offer their services.

Volunteers for Dental Day YXE gathered at the U of S to offer services free of charge.

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Huskie alumni giving back

From the beginning of the Home Ice Campaign, Huskie Hockey Alumni knew they needed to be involved and give to this inspiring project.

The group set a lofty goal and by late March of this year had achieved tremendous results from alumni at home and across Canada.

Huskie Hockey Alumni present U of S President, Peter Stoicheff, with a ceremonial cheque representing their cumulative giving from hockey alumni across Canada and the USA. Huskie Hockey Alumni have been fundraising for this project for more than a year.

We celebrate Huskie Hockey Alumni’s cumulative giving of $2.5 million, which will help fund Merlis Belsher Place – a modern, twin-pad ice facility at the U of S that’s greatly needed for university and minor hockey.

“As a group, we felt it was important to support this significant project,” said Tim Hodgson, Chair of the Home Ice Campaign and Huskie Hockey alumnus. “This total represents more than a year of hard work for Huskie Hockey Alumni across Canada and the United States and we are thrilled it will support such an amazing project.”

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