Music alumni make historic gift to U of S to honour legacy of David L. Kaplan

Xiaoping (Bob) Xu (MA ’92) and wife Ling Chen (MA ’90) have made another notable contribution to their alma mater. The internationally-recognized investor and philanthropist and his wife have donated $2 million to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to create the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music in the college of arts and science. The gift is the largest donation from alumni in the college’s history and a generous follow-up to the couple’s $1 million gift to establish the David L. Kaplan Music Scholarship in 2010.

President Peter Stoicheff announced the significant gift at the department of music’s annual student scholarship awards event on April 2. “By establishing a strings program, the Kaplan Chair will make our music program a destination of choice for emerging musicians on the prairies. I’m especially pleased this gift will help us contribute further to our local classical music community and deepen our long-term relationship with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra,” he said.

Ling Chen (MA ’90) and Xiaoping (Bob) Xu (MA ’92).

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Home is where the ice is

As a proud graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (B.Comm. ’52), Greg Greenough believes it is important to stay engaged with the community that provided him with a solid education and years of competitive sport as a Huskie athlete. “It was a special time for me, “says Greenough. “Hockey was a big part of my life when I went to Saskatoon. I could have chosen to go to a number of other universities, but I picked the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), and it was a great decision.” Greenough has been a consistent donor since graduating, and this year, he has involved himself in the Home Ice Campaign.  He chooses to give back to his alma mater in the hopes that students can have a memorable experience during their time at the U of S, just as he did, “You always get back more than what you give,“ he says.

Greg Greenough, (B.Comm. ’52).

After his studies Greenough moved to Alberta for his career, where he went on to be the President of Maclab Enterprises, a private holding company specializing in real estate development, property management, oil and gas and venture capital.  His involvement with sports has taken on a facilitating role with numerous boards and committees, both locally and internationally. He is a former member of the Canadian Olympic Association, was President of the Kinsmen Club, and spent nine years on the board of directors for the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club. Greenough is passionate about providing opportunities for athletes to develop and excel, so it comes as no surprise that he is eagerly anticipating the construction of Merlis Belsher Place.

Thinking back to his time as a Huskie hockey player, Greenough recalls the experience. “It had lots of character,” he chuckles. “It was the only arena that I’m aware of that had an upper level for a dressing room—we would have to climb down with our skates on!”

Greg Greenough at Rutherford Rink.

Greenough believes that the new state-of-the-art facility will give Huskie athletes the advantage they deserve and will attract events that weren’t a possibility before, such as national championships.  “It’s not just about a rink,” he says. “It’s about creating and celebrating a facility that will affect the level of prestige of every graduate and member of our community.”

Truly appreciative of Merlis Belsher’s and Ron and Jane Graham’s outstanding support of the project, Greenough is confident that other alumni will find the Home Ice Campaign an exciting project to get involved with. For him, it was an easy decision to get behind. Merlis Belsher Place will encapsulate the dedication and spirit of many generous supporters who believe in their homeland.

Excitement builds for hockey’s new home

Co-op is an integral part our city.

Saskatoon Co-op has more than 1,200 employees and serves over 107,000 members and their families at Co-op Food Stores, Home Centres, Convenience Stores/Gas Bars, Agro Centre and Liquor Store. As the largest company in the province, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) supplies and supports retail co-operatives — like Saskatoon Co-op — across Western Canada, employing 1,000 people in the city.

Saskatoon Co-op and FCL are proud to make a $250,000 donation to the Home Ice Campaign.

Grant Whitmore, President, Saskatoon Co-op (photo: Dave Stobbe).

Together, Saskatoon Co-op and FCL are building a strong, vibrant community. They’re proud to give back and invest in local initiatives. Their gift will help the University of Saskatchewan build a new twin-pad ice facility to assist countless athletes for generations to come.

Thanks to their support, Merlis Belsher Place will soon be a reality and will give Huskie athletes and minor league hockey players the opportunity to sharpen their skills in the cutting-edge arena that they deserve.

$90,000 raised on One Day for Students

Thursday, March 9, 2017 was more than a fundraising event for our students—it was a celebration of U of S community spirit. Staff, faculty, alumni, friends and students all took part in raising a record amount during One Day for Students, the fourth annual campaign to help students in all colleges and schools. Collectively, $90,000 was raised in 24 hours, from over 450 donors.

One Day for Students achieved a record-breaking amount of donations this year, which will help students on campus succeed in their studies and personal life (photo: Julie Schappert).

This has been the Nassers’ fourth year matching donations to two special funds—the President’s Student Experience Fund and the Nasser Family Emergency Trust Fund.  The year, however, the Nassers were so inspired by the high level of participation that they also decided to match the funds raised by each of the participating colleges: Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, and Arts and Science.

Mr. Nasser, one of Saskatoon’s leading property developers and philanthropists, said he is so passionate about supporting students through One Day for Students, because he was thankful to always have support for his own schooling. He said, “If I didn’t get help at many stages when I was a student, I wouldn’t have done as well as I have in my life.”

One Day for Students featured a number of speakers at the keynote address. Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser engaged the audience with his passion for supporting our campus community (photo: Julie Schappert).

One Day for Students is not only significant for the Nassers, but for the many students who rely on the funds to help them pursue once-in-a-lifetime experiences outside of the classroom, or gain support during unexpected financial hardship.

During the keynote addresses at the kick-off for the event in Place Riel, students spoke of the importance of receiving scholarship and bursary support from the One Day-supported funds.

Kiara Calladine, president of the Northern Administration Students Association (NASA), spoke on behalf of their student-run volunteer group, which was supported by the President’s Student Experience Fund. NASA supports the unique needs of Northern students as they transition to post-secondary education through a number of important support services such as tutoring, laptop lending, and their annual Exploration Conference, which introduces high school students to the U of S experience first-hand. Calladine was thankful for the resources that make their programs possible. She said, “The President’s Student Experience Fund is the only way we can bring everyone together.”

Kehan Fu, president of the University of Saskatchewan’s Student Union (USSU), described the impact of the Emergency Student Trust Fund, which provides critical funding for students who are faced with unexpected financial burdens.  He said, “A trust embodies a relationship of belief, faith, and the ability to do something greater.”

One Day for Students had a number of action-packed hubs around campus. The colleges of Arts & Science, Medicine, Dentistry and Engineering all participated in One Day for Students with their individual initiatives (photo: Julie Schappert).

University Relations student ambassadors, a student group who advocate for leadership and philanthropy with students, alumni and staff, were also on-hand to reach out to students passing by, promoting the importance of the funds and contributing to One Day for Students.

Additionally, Alisha Esmail, owner of Road Coffee, handed out free coffee in the student hub in the hopes that students and staff would donate what they would normally spend on coffee. She noted, “I believe our generation wants to give back and make a difference, but I think sometimes we’re unsure of how. One Day for Students creates a platform for individuals to engage in philanthropy but also represents a bigger picture of how we should be living our lives.”

Home Ice a smart investment

Most of what Shannon Briske learned about life he learned from hockey, like the importance of teamwork, commitment and perseverance. Now a minor hockey coach, father of three and Senior Financial Advisor at Assante Wealth Management, he attributes much of his success to his experiences as a student athlete with the ‘Dogs’.

A founding member and past chair of the ‘Off the Leash Luncheon’, Shannon, pictured with his wife Jill, has been involved with the Huskies alumni group since graduating from the U of S with an honours degree in finance in 2000 (photo: Dave Stobbe).

“The relationships and core values that were instilled in me as a student athlete remain today,” he said. “It’s important to give back to the program and community that was the platform for building such a strong foundation for my success.”

That’s why Shannon and Jill Briske have generously donated $200,000 to the Home Ice Campaign – they are committed  to supporting a much-needed twin-ice facility for the Huskies and minor hockey players, providing athletes with the opportunities to develop as both players and people.

The Briskes are pleased that their contribution will help the community. Mr Briske said, “This facility will touch so many people in other sports and will be a venue that everyone can truly be proud of.”

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