Alumnus’ $12.25M gift will help give new home to the Huskies and community hockey

History was made on Oct. 13, when University of Saskatchewan (U of S) commerce and law graduate Merlis Belsher contributed $12.25 million to help fund a new ice facility to replace Rutherford Rink. Belsher’s gift is the largest donation from an alumnus and individual in the university’s history.

Community members, Huskie athletes, university representatives and hockey aficionados gathered in Rutherford Rink for the donation announcement. The special occasion also marked the public launch of the Home Ice Campaign, in which the university, minor league hockey and community volunteers, will ask the public to raise the remaining $7 million to fund the new facility. The fundraising campaign is led by alumnus and hockey legend Dave King.

Belsher explained his primary intention for his lead gift to the campaign. “I made this donation because of my gratitude for the University of Saskatchewan—it provided me with confidence and education in two professions. That was my doorway to a satisfying career in the manufacturing industry.”

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Merlis Belsher is contributing $12.25 million to help fund a new twin-ice facility on campus (photo: Dave Stobbe).

The accomplished accountant, lawyer, entrepreneur and philanthropist said his success started when he first came to the University of Saskatchewan. He graduated with a bachelor of commerce in 1957, and was admitted to the Saskatchewan Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1960. He returned to the U of S to pursue a law degree, graduating in 1963, and was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan the following year. A businessman by nature, he then purchased a concrete products manufacturing business in Saskatoon. Through acquisitions and expansion, he grew the business to be a leader in Western Canada, eventually selling it in 2008 to Oldcastle, an international firm.

Finding success in not one, but multiple professions took dedication and a strong work ethic. For Belsher, it also required a community of support. When he was just 15 years old both of his parents died tragically in a blizzard near their homestead. As a result, Belsher found himself alone at an early age.

It was thanks to a caring group of community members, and two older siblings, that he was guided to his new home at Luther College in Regina, where he finished his high school education and his interest in pursuing a university education deepened.

Belsher reminisced about the many mentors and teachers who encouraged his educational pursuits, but it was his mother, an elementary school teacher, to whom he gives the most credit. She instilled in him the importance of education and hard work from an early age; now he’s reaped the rewards of those values.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” he explained. “If I had one wish, it would be that my mother could see how much education has helped me.”

Education has since become a major focus in Belsher’s philanthropic and volunteer efforts. He’s served the University of Saskatchewan as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council in both the College of Law and the College of Commerce (now Edwards School of Business), and he’s been donating to the university for decades. One notable donation was his establishment of the Merlis Belsher Access to Justice Fund in the College of Law in 2014, to support clinical learning opportunities for students through Community Legal Services for Saskatoon Inner City.

Although this donation is sports-specific—supporting all Huskies teams, campus recreation participants and minor league hockey players—he insisted it will have an equivalent impact on education.

“Sports are inextricably interwoven with education,” he said. “Sports keep young kids off the streets, and get them involved in community.”

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An avid sports fan, and former athlete and hockey coach, Belsher can relate to the importance of athletics in youth life. That’s why $250,000 of his donation is a matching commitment, to involve children and community members in the new ice facility. He has called upon Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association to fundraise for the new facility as well, and they have taken up the challenge.

Belsher’s enthusiasm for giving back to support the university and the community is infectious. He’s most excited that his donation will help increase the amount of ice time available for both the Huskies and minor hockey league players. The university has an agreement with Saskatoon Minor Hockey to reserve a significant number of hours for the use of community hockey programming.

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An architectural rendering of Merlis Belsher Place.

Although the new ice facility will be named after him—Merlis Belsher Place—Belsher remains humble, and stated that he did not make the contribution for the notoriety. He made it to help university students, first and foremost.

“This is about the university, not me,” he said. “If you see a good cause, you get fulfilled by getting involved.”

Check out more photos from this special announcement at Rutherford Rink.

For more information about the Home Ice Campaign, or to make a donation, please visit home-ice.ca.

 Jessica Elfar is a development communications specialist in University Relations.

Hughes’ gift enhances student training and animal care

Bev Hughes’ vision for a customized classroom for Western College of Veterinary (WCVM) students has become a reality.

Workers recently completed construction on the new BJ Hughes Centre for Clinical Learning at the veterinary college. This customized classroom was made possible by a major donation from Bev Hughes, who saw a need for the facility when she toured the human medicine-focused Clinical Learning Resource Centre in the University of Saskatchewan’s Health Sciences building.

“It is advanced learning. I think any advanced learning is good. More importantly, it is 21st century learning and 21st century technology. I want our vet college in Saskatoon to be the most progressive in North America,” says Hughes, who along with the BJ Hughes Foundation, contributed $340,000 toward the centre that cost nearly $500,000 to build and equip.

Bev Hughes

Bev Hughes announced a donation of $250,000, in addition to a $340,000 gift to help establish the BJ Hughes Centre for Clinical Learning at the WCVM (submitted photo).

During the official opening of the centre on Sept. 22, Hughes announced an additional $250,000 donation, which will be used to ensure sustainability of the clinical learning centre.

Hughes, who has supported the college for more than 10 years through a scholarship, says her dedication stems from her passion for animals and her love for the WCVM and the work done at the college.

The new classroom will give students a chance to practise clinical techniques and hone their skills in a safe learning environment. The lab’s flexible learning space will offer the college’s faculty the opportunity to teach various levels of simulation – from running through client scenarios with actors to practising surgical techniques on computerized models.

While planning for the centre began more than five years ago, Hughes’ donation moved things forward in the past 18 months.

Read more on Bev Hughes’ special contribution to make the BJ Hughes Centre for Clinical Learning possible.

Written by Jeanette Neufeld

Refurbished student lounge opens, thanks to donors

Students will now enjoy an updated and enhanced Arts & Science Student Union (ASSU) lounge, thanks to donors who gave during One Day for Students on March 10, 2016.

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In 24 hours on One Day for Students, donors gave over $2,500 to assist in refurbishing the lounge, a total which was matched by the college.

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The official launch party and ribbon-cutting for the new and improved lounge took place on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. The lounge, located in Arts 220, now features new seating and counters to accommodate study space, newly painted walls, prints (including pieces created by students) and a pool table.

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“This is no longer an empty space,” said Arts and Science Students’ Union President Olya Stepanenko. “It is a safe and comforting environment welcome to all Arts & Science students.”

Photos by Chris Putnam

Campaign for Students: Dream Big!

The Campaign for Students is underway for the 2016-17 school year.

Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends of the U of S, last year’s campaign efforts raised over $848,000. All donations throughout the campaign supported a variety of student-centered initiatives, such as awards and bursaries. Funding from the campaign also provided funding for travel opportunities and extracurricular activities related to a student’s area of study.

The theme for the Campaign for Students is Dream Big! Students come to the U of S in pursuit of achieving their big dreams. Donors like you play an important role in allowing students to realize their aspirations and ease their financial burdens.

Your donation to the Campaign for Students helps students like Dakoda Herman, a fourth-year Biochemistry student, to work towards their dreams. Dakoda aspires to lead the World Health Organization.(Photo: David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca)

Your donation to the Campaign for Students helps students like Dakoda Herman, a fourth-year Biochemistry student, alleviate financial pressures while working towards their dreams.  (Photo: David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca)

Fourth-year Biochemistry student, Dakoda Herman is one of many students who have been a recipient of awards funded through the Campaign for Students. Dakoda dreams of one day leading the World Health Organization and combating infectious disease. “Expenses are always a challenge,” he said.  “I am so grateful for the support I have received through the Campaign for Students. Knowing that there are people who believe in me and what I’m working to accomplish makes me feel like I am on the right path.”

Your donation to the Campaign for Students ensures that students like Dakoda don’t have to sacrifice study time by addressing financial obstacles. There are several ways to contribute to the Campaign for Students, including donations to specific colleges, funds, University Library, Huskie athletics, and more.

Giving to the Campaign for Students is easy, convenient, and any amount, big or small, makes a lasting impact on U of S students.

The Campaign for Students runs until April 30, 2017. Interested donors are encouraged to vist: www.give.usask.ca/students for more information on how to give.

Generosity keeps Julie Labach on track

Student-athletes at the U of S have a multitude of demands to meet. They have to manage a full course load, maintain a high level of academic performance, manage their schedule, maintain peak physical condition, and travel to games. Not to mention practice, practice, practice.

With a schedule like this, there is virtually no time for a student to take on a part-time job to cover costs. Now imagine the challenges that come with being a student-athlete who plays two different sports. This is a reality for Julie Labach, a finance major and a track and field and soccer star for the Huskies.

However, thanks to the generosity of U of S donors through the Annual Campaign for Students, Labach’s rigorous but rewarding schedule is not compromised by cost.

Labach is entering her third year in the Edwards School of Business. Upon completing her degree, she hopes to continue studies in law school. Growing up in Saskatoon, Labach had several influences including her father, a criminal lawyer, who helped her gravitate towards the practice. “I like public speaking, debating, and enjoy being in a courtroom. Growing up with it had a big part in my enthusiasm for law,” she said. “I loved mock trials in high school and I have participated in public speaking competitions since being at U of S.”

Labach’s competitive spirit is not only on display in a debate, but also the track and the pitch. Despite never having run track before attending the U of S, Labach has competed in a variety of events, including running as part of the 4 x 800m relay team, which finished seventh at the CIS Championship. She is also a striker for the Huskies soccer team. Soccer has been a passion for Labach since she was five years old. She has also trained extensively with the High-Performance Development Centre throughout high school, honing her skills.

Julie Labach is a two-sport athlete for the Huskies in soccer and track and field.  (Photo:  Josh Schaefer/Huskie Athletics)

Julie Labach is a two-sport athlete for the Huskies in soccer and track and field, while majoring in finance in the Edwards School of Business. (Photo: Josh Schaefer/Huskie Athletics)

Labach identifies and enjoys the parallels of track and finance. “I like that there’s always a right and a wrong with finance,” she says. “It’s the same as track. You always know when you’ve done a good job and a bad job. With running, or investing, there’s no way someone can take that performance from you.”

Between competitions and the classroom, it’s a hectic pace for Labach, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She acknowledges that the alumni-funded scholarship support she has received—through the Annual Campaign for Students—has allowed her to chase excellence as both a student and an athlete. “Time management is difficult,” she says. “Having support from scholarships means that I don’t have to take on part-time work, which would mean I would have to make a sacrifice somewhere. The support from donors relieves that stress.”

The scholarships that Labach has earned include an entrance scholarship, a scholarship through the Edwards School of Business and the Huskies Athletics Opportunity Matching Award, which rewards excellence in athletics and academics.

Alumni giving back to the university to fund scholarships, awards, and bursaries is a source of inspiration for Labach. “Some may think a small gift doesn’t matter, but it completely adds up! The extra $500 or $1,000 helps so many students,” she said. “Having people who believe in students enough to make a donation means everything to me. It’s an affirmation of your hard work.”

Labach is grateful for the contributions of donors and is inspired to give back to students in the future. “I learned first-hand the difference that donors make for students. I’d like to be able to make that type of contribution myself someday,” she said. “If I didn’t have scholarships, I wouldn’t be able to play both sports and stay on track to earn my degree. These scholarships have changed my life!”

Over $848,000 was raised through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries and awards. Read more about how the Annual Campaign for Students made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:

Troy Appleton gets a lift

Your donation helps drill down the cost of an education

Donors make Emily Mooney’s university experience pitch perfect

Wordly ambition thanks to donor support

Sean Conroy is a development and alumni communications coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan.

Worldly ambition thanks to donor support

Carolyn Wong’s learning style is multi-faceted: although what attracted her to study law at the University of Saskatchewan was the order and logic of the subject, she still expresses her free spirit as she travels around the world to gain new educational experiences many could only dream of.

The graduate has just finished her third and final year of studies to be a lawyer, at the University of Oxford in England, as part of the U of S study abroad program. She says she wouldn’t have been able to benefit from an international education without the support of U of S donors.

As the recipient of a generous $10,000 scholarship, funded by donors to the Annual Campaign for Students, Carolyn received the assistance she needed to attend the prestigious university in her final year of her law degree. She explained, “Oxford is one of the oldest and one of the best law schools in the world. It has such a rich legal heritage. I wouldn’t have been able to receive this opportunity without this support.”

The travel bug bit her after she completed her first degree at Western University. The Markham, Ontario native studied biology, and then took an extended working holiday after graduation. She moved to London to work at an online media company, and used her holidays every few months to discover Europe—skipping from country to country she travelled through Italy, France and Portugal. As a result, Carolyn says she’s now more open to follow career opportunities world-wide, and aims to work in a large international city like London or New York.

When she initially chose to pursue her law degree, she selected the University of Saskatchewan, even though it was far away from her family in Ontario. She has been very happy with her decision to pursue a smaller program. She said, “You really get to know people well. The faculty are very approachable, and have been so helpful—even providing me with reference letters or teaching me new subjects I’m interested in, like the use of DNA in evidence law.”

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Funds raised through the Annual Campaign for Students allowed Carolyn Wong to study in at the University of Oxford through the study abroad program with the   U of S in her final year of studying law. Wong’s travels also took her to Bangladesh, Italy, France, and Portugal (photo).

Carolyn’s international education was given a boost in her second year of studies at the U of S, when she was one of the lucky few to be accepted to intern with United Nations (UN) in the summer of 2014. The opportunity came about as a result of a partnership between the United Nations Development Program and Universities of Canada that began in 2012, and her travels were supported with a $5000 bursary funded by U of S donors.

Carolyn’s UN assignment was to travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh to assist international lawyers with development work. Working in the government sector, she worked on a project that provided legal aid for garment workers.

The experience left a lasting impression on her. She said, “There are so many experiences I wouldn’t have had without donors! I wouldn’t have gone to Bangladesh as the UN internship was unpaid. Instead I’ve had the opportunity to explore becoming an international lawyer.”

Now that’s she’s graduated she moving back to Canada for a clerkship at the Federal Court of Canada in Ottawa, where she will assist a judge with research and writing. “It will give me a behind the scenes look at how judges make decisions,” she explained. After that, she’s hoping to work for a full-service law firm to explore administrative law, immigration, and Aboriginal law.

She’s also planning to give back to support students once her career is off the ground. She said, “The support has benefitted me so much, and helped me get to the position I am in. I hope I can recreate this experience for another student one day. I’d like to pay it forward!”

Over $848,000 has been raised through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries, and awards. Read more about how the campaign made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:

Troy Appleton gets a lift

Your donation drills down the cost of an education

Donors make Emily Mooney’s university experience pitch perfect

Written by Jessica Elfar, Development Communications Specialist

Donors make Emily Mooney’s university experience pitch perfect

English major Emily Mooney has been able to make the most of her university experience while excelling in her area of study, thanks to generosity of donors to the Annual Campaign for Students.

This past fall, Mooney’s dedication to academics was rewarded, as she received the College of Arts & Science Undergraduate Student Award. This award, which netted $3,000 for Mooney, is one of several awards supported by alumni and donors through the Annual Campaign for Students.

“It’s a great feeling for your university to recognize doing a good job with an award like this. I really appreciate all donors and supporters of the university,” Mooney said.  “It’s great to know that there are all these people rooting for students at the U of S.”

The award for Mooney is not only recognition of excellent performance, but also a source of gratitude and motivation. “I know a lot of people who work full-time jobs to put themselves through university,” she said. “So, not having to do that helps me focus on my studies, and motivates me to keep my grades up and to keep working hard.”

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Between a full course load, volunteering, and a part-time job, Emily Mooney also makes time for performing with the Newman Sounds Glee Club (photo: Mike VanderKooi).

A native of Southey, SK, Mooney is a third-generation U of S student in a family which includes six graduates. “My Mom’s parents met at the Ag Bag Drag. So it’s cool to hear their stories and how things on campus have changed,” she said. Emily’s parents Patrick (BEd’90) and Shelly (BEd’90) are alumni, and her older sister Alyssa (BScKin’16) is a recent graduate. “I didn’t really come to the U of S with any peers, but it was very nice having that family legacy, and obviously, family support.”

Mooney just completed her second year as an Honours English major. She knew very early that her path would involve her passion for the written word. A voracious reader in grade school, Mooney would read the Harry Potter series on a continuous basis. She also developed an interest in editing, a fascination that her high school classmates helped to ignite. “My peers would get me to edit their papers before they would turn them in,” she says with a laugh, reminiscing about high school.

Receiving the College of Arts & Science Undergraduate Student Award meant that Mooney could pursue her many interests outside of the English program. She is also musically talented, having been trained in voice and piano through high school. Mooney has been involved with the Newman Sounds Glee Club for the last two years, performing everything from Broadway show-tunes to The Beatles.

Mooney has also found time to give time back to the community, as she volunteers at the Hands On Outreach and Development Centre, an organization that serves inner-city youth in Saskatoon. “I like working with kids,” she said. “It’s nice to help out in Saskatoon and feel like part of the city”. In addition to a full course load, glee club, and volunteering, Mooney carves out time to work a part-time job a couple days a week.

Enjoyment of editing has endured for Mooney who has aspirations to be a freelance editor. She is also considering pursuing a Master’s degree.

Whether it is the support of donors or her own family, Mooney acknowledges that it has been integral to her well-rounded university experience, and her future prospects. “I want give back to the next generation, for sure. Especially when I know how much it has helped me and my peers who have received awards funded by donors.”

Over $848,000 has been raised through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries, and awards. Read more about how the campaign made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:

Troy Appleton gets a lift

Your donation drills down the cost of an education

Worldly ambition thanks to donor support

Sean Conroy is a development and alumni communications coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan.

Your donation drills down the cost of an education

When working with drills, needles and probes in a space that is about 50 millimeters wide, you want someone with a steady hand and calming presence.

College of Dentistry student Steven Arcand is that person.

Even when faced with over a dozen final exams, working with patients and preparing to move home for the summer, Steven is unflappable – just the kind of person you want working on your teeth.

Thanks to the support of donors to the Annual Campaign for Students this past year, Steven was rewarded for his hard work with a $1000 scholarship in his third year. As all dentistry alumni know, in a program that costs $32,960 each year, every cent counts.

“I’m paying my own way through university, so the support I’ve received from donors is very much appreciated,” says Steven. “Any money that I don’t have to repay makes a huge difference to me. The added benefit is knowing that graduates from the College of Dentistry care about students today. You’ve been where I am and you know what I’m experiencing.”

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Steven Arcand was rewarded for his dedication and achievement with a scholarship funded through the Annual Campaign for Students  (Photo: Ian Chang).

Studying dentistry is a commitment that consumes every waking moment of Steven’s time. “From when I wake up until I go to sleep, I’m learning,” says Steven. In the most recent term, he arrived on campus at 7:30 am and would work until 6:00 pm – first in classes like fixed prosthodontics (learning about crowns, fixed dentures and veneers) and oral surgery and then into the dental clinic where he would see two to three patients each day.

“Some alumni have told me that third year is the hardest, because it’s when you move into the clinic but you still have a large course load. Learning how to work with real patients has been a really rewarding part of this past year,” he adds.

Over the summer, Steven has returned to his hometown of Prince Albert, SK to practice with a local dentist and continue to build his skills. But he had to get through 13 exams in ten days first.

“Although the exam period went by very fast, finishing the last exam was a relief. It felt good to be able to walk out of the exam and not have to immediately get back into the books.”

Despite the pressure, he’s anxious to get back to class in the middle of August to start his final year of study. “We’re a tight-knit group in dentistry, and getting to know students in each year of the program as well as the staff and faculty helps all of us to deliver better and more critical care to patients,” he says.

“The scholarships and bursaries from the Campaign for Students make alumni a part of our team, too, and I’m thankful for your support.”

Over $848,000 was raised this past year through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries, and awards. Read more about how the Annual Campaign for Students made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:

Troy Appleton gets a lift

Donors make Emily Mooney’s university experience pitch perfect

Worldly ambition thanks to donor support

Christy Miller is the Director of Alumni & Development Communications in University Relations.

 

Troy Appleton gets a lift

College of Medicine student Troy Appleton never shies away from a challenge.

Whether he’s working his way through medical school, hoisting 150 kg in a weightlifting competition, or managing his condition as a type 1 diabetic, Appleton takes the challenges in his life in stride.

Thanks to donors, Appleton has also been able to alleviate his financial challenges.

Appleton attended his hometown school, the University of Victoria, to study kinesiology. While studying at UVic, he worked as an intern at the Canadian Sports Centre, where he had the opportunity to train Olympic athletes. Appleton’s aspirations grew as his interests in physiology and pharmacology deepened, which ultimately brought him to the prairies and to study medicine at the U of S. This fall, he will begin his third year in the College of Medicine.

In addition to the financial demands of medical school, Appleton’s diabetes presents costly circumstances. In order to appropriately monitor and treat his condition, Appleton uses an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring. He estimates that diabetes supplies costs him approximately $700 each month, which is not covered through insurance.

This year, Appleton was awarded $5,000 from the College of Medicine Student Awards Fund. This award is one of several awards supported by alumni and donors through the Annual Campaign for Students.

In addition to the demands of medical school, Troy Appleton is a competitive weightlifter.

In addition to the meeting the demands of medical school, Troy Appleton is a competitive weightlifter (Photo: Rob Macklem).

“I’m very grateful for the award. The funding made it less stressful to focus on all of my commitments,” Appleton explained. “Medical school is quite expensive, so getting a big award like this really eases your mind. Between school and training, there’s not much time to earn extra money.”

Appleton acknowledges that without support from the Annual Campaign for Students, his year would involve more sacrifice and difficult decisions. “There are definitely some things I wouldn’t have done without the funding. It’s allowed me to take advantage of opportunities that I otherwise may have passed on,” he said. “For myself, with diabetes, the funding really helps to alleviate some of the financial stress that comes with managing my condition.”

During his internship with the Canadian Sports Centre, Appleton developed a passion for weightlifting. Initially, he wanted to learn how to complete clean-and-jerk and snatch lifts so he could teach athletes how to execute them better. Through the process of instruction, Appleton’s interest in the sport evolved. He has been competing for the last eight years, including performances at the Western Canadian Weightlifting Championships and representing Saskatchewan at the Canadian Senior Weightlifting Championships. His personal bests in competition include 151 kg in the clean and jerk and 117.5 kg in the snatch lift.

Appleton is preparing for his next challenge in his university career, which awaits him this fall. The fast-paced clerkship phase of medical school at the U of S places him in practical scenarios in Royal University Hospital. “I’m really excited about getting into the hospital,” he said. “I have learned a lot in the classroom and am looking forward to putting things into practice, and seeing how things function in a hospital, the clinics, and emergency room.”

While he is still determining which area of medicine he wants to focus on, Appleton has a strong interest in helping those who live with the same condition he does.

“The experience of living with diabetes just gives you such a unique perspective and a bit more credibility with your patients,” he said. “Knowing what they’re dealing with and often having been there yourself really lets you understand the struggles that people with type 1 diabetes deal with on a daily basis. Helping people learn how to manage their condition is definitely something I’m passionate about.”

Over $848,000 was raised through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries and awards. Read more about how the Annual Campaign for Students made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:

Your donation helps drill down the cost of an education

Donors make Emily Mooney’s university experience pitch perfect

Wordly ambition thanks to donor support

Sean Conroy is a development and alumni communications coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan.

Society members share stories of giving at annual summer social

Members of the university’s Greystone Circle were treated to their annual appreciation event on June 6 at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre. The society of 345 members, including many U of S alumni, originated in the early 1990’s and honours donors who have pledged estate gifts to the university and its students. The spring event is a chance for the university to celebrate the donors and their commitment to the U of S and give members a chance to connect with each other.

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Attendees were treated to a drumming and dance performance by Buffalo Boy productions. The First Nations dance company showcases traditional song and dances of Saskatchewan’s Cree, Dene, Nakawe, Dakota, Nakota and Lakota people, and enthralled the crowd with their high-energy act.

Chancellor Emerita Vera Pezer, the circle’s patron member and host for the event, spoke about the importance of this annual event where members share their stories with each other about why they give back. Dr. Pezer spoke of the common bond that brings Greystone Circle members together, and said, “We all have a desire to see the university continue to welcome students, provide opportunities for people like your children and grandchildren, and help improve our communities through teaching and research.” Dr. Pezer also welcomed 17 new members to the circle, and paid tribute to those members who had passed away in the last year.

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Attendees of the Greystone Circle Spring Social took in traditional song and dance by Buffalo Boy Productions at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre.

University president Peter Stoicheff spoke to the Greystone Circle members for his first time since taking office late last year. He reminisced about what the university was like 30 years ago, when he first started as a faculty member in the English department, and what he now sees for the future of the institution—a bright future where the university is a research leader in Saskatchewan and Canada, contributing to growth and opportunity for our communities.

Each year the Greystone Circle members hear from a current student who has benefitted from an estate gift. This year Olivia Carolan, a second-year animal biosciences student in the College of Agriculture & Bioresources, was selected to speak to the group—via video, as she had already returned home to her family for the summer break.

Originally from south-west England, Olivia came to the University of Saskatchewan on a scholarship funded by an estate gift with the hopes of becoming a veterinarian. She said, “Without receiving this award, I would not be where I am today. I am able to study at a university competing with an international presence because of my bursary.” Olivia not only thanked the family of the donor that funded her bursary, but expressed her appreciation for all Greystone Circle members who plan to make a gift in their Will. She added, “Donors graciously open the door to many more life changing opportunities, and for that I am forever grateful.”

If you’d like information about planning a charitable gift in your Will and becoming a Greystone Circle donor, please contact Bev Cooper, Associate Director of Development (Charitable Gift Planning) at gift.planning@usask.ca or 306-966-2416

Written by Jessica Elfar

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