I would like to begin by offering my congratulations to our newest graduates who are set to receive their degrees, certificates, and diplomas at Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 14, 15, and 16. The ceremonies will be held in the Centre for Kinesiology and Health Studies’ Gym 3 on the University’s main campus.
One of the highlights for me is seeing the presentation the University’s highest honour – an Honorary Degree – to deserving individuals.
At the June 14 ceremony, the University will be presenting an Honorary Degree to Mark McMorris. Mark is an incredible athlete and one of the most successful competitive snowboarders in the history of the sport. He also gives his time and energy to the community through the McMorris Foundation, established to help disadvantaged Canadian children participate in sports. Mark will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.
At the June 15 ceremony, an Honorary Degree will be bestowed on Gloria Mehlmann. Gloria’s recognition is for a lifetime of outstanding achievements as a teacher in the Regina Public School system, director of Aboriginal Education for Saskatchewan and accomplished author. Gloria’s work in education has always focused on students, while reflecting her own experience as an Indigenous person growing up and living in Saskatchewan. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters.
This Spring’s Convocation will see almost 2,400 new grads join the community of proud University of Regina alumni that now numbers some 88,000. I’m always excited for our new graduates and I wish them all the best as they take on new challenges and adventures.
Among those who will be graduating are a sizable contingent of international students from every corner of the globe who have chosen to study at the U of R. The numbers of international graduates will undoubtedly swell in about four years for one very promising reason. At the beginning of the past semester, international student enrollment was the highest it has ever been.
I’m so proud of the work that UR International has done to help the University rebound from the low, pandemic-related international student numbers just a few short years ago. I saw firsthand the excellent work UR International is engaged in when I joined our team on a recruitment visit to India in February. It was my first post-pandemic international recruitment mission and included visits to three high schools and two universities in Chandigarh and surrounding regions. We also attended recruitment events in Ambala, New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Guragon.
The University of Regina is the preferred study destination of international students from approximately 100 countries with the top five being India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.
One of our international graduates this Spring is Zoe Hartmann BKin’23. Zoe is from Dusseldorf, Germany. She also wears number 11 and plays guard for the U of R Cougars women’s basketball team. Zoe was a key member of a team that enjoyed a tremendous season. The Cougars had an overall record of 17-3 during the regular-season and lost only two homes games all year.
While the Cougars were unable to qualify for the national championship they had an incredible season and were able to achieve much success because of their skill, hard work, and great teamwork.
I like to talk a lot about the outstanding teamwork that goes on at the University and how it results in many of our successes. Now I want to single out a few individuals who have recently received national recognition.
The McCall MacBain Scholarships are Canada’s equivalent to Oxford’s Rhodes Scholarships. I’m pleased to announce that one of our graduates is the recipient of the 2023 scholarship.
Isabella Grajczyk BEd’21, BA’22 is one of 20 recipients of the scholarship in Canada. The scholarship provides for a fully-funded Master’s or professional degree at McGill University. Along with the scholarship comes opportunities for mentorship, coaching, and leadership development. In the past, Isabella has worked on gender equality projects for the United Nations Development Program. She also founded and oversees Sask Girls United, a non-profit that aims to educate and empower the youth of Saskatchewan.
Two other U of R students also received McCall MacBain awards. Bronwyn Heerspink BA’23 and Trey Chernoff BSc’23 earned awards of $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.
It's not only our graduates who are being recognized for their knowledge and effort. Two of our faculty members are the recent recipients of some very important recognition as well.
One of our most active researchers and scholars and a member of the Department of Psychology, Dr. Gordon Asmundson, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his extraordinary contributions to the nation. Gord, one of the world’s top mental-health researchers, is the director of the University’s Anxiety and Illness Behaviour Lab, has a robust research enterprise, and has a thriving clinical practice. Among his research areas of focus are post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. When COVID-19 spread across the globe, Gord’s expertise was called upon locally and nationally to explain mental and emotional impacts of the pandemic.
David Garneau, a Métis painter, curator, critical art writer, and MAP’s Visual Arts Department Head, is one of the recipients of this year’s Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. The award is given to individuals for outstanding contributions to contemporary visual arts, media, arts, or fine crafts. Among his notable undertakings, David designed a silver collector coin for the Royal Canadian Mint to honour Louis Riel and was commissioned to design a project that included more than 400 paintings for Edmonton's Tawatinâ bridge.
As you read through the stories of this issue of Degrees I’m sure you will gain a renewed appreciation for University of Regina alumni who are making tremendous contributions to our world, and that these stories bolster the pride you feel for your alma mater.
I hope that all our readers have a most enjoyable and restful summer.
Dr. Jeff Keshen
President and Vice-Chancellor