U of R alumnus Ken Sunquist was an honorary degree recipient and received an Alumni Crowning Achievement Award in 2013. Sunquist passed away on June 8 in Ottawa. Photo courtesy of CARE Canada
The University of Regina has lost one of its most distinguished alumnus. Ken Sunquist passed peacefully at the Ottawa General Hospital on June 8, 2022. Sunquist was a recipient of the 2013 Alumni Crowning Achievement Award in the Lifetime Achievement category and received an honorary degree from the U of R in 2016.
Sunquist graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina campus, with a Bachelor of Administration degree in 1970. After working as assistant clerk to the Executive Council of the Government of Saskatchewan and executive assistant to the Premier, he moved to the federal civil service. Sunquist had a 40-year career in the Foreign Service and had postings in Jamaica, Indonesia, Serbia, United States, China, and Korea. He served as acting ambassador to China in the 1990s, and was ambassador to Indonesia from 1998 to 2001. Sunquist later served as an assistant deputy minister in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and was Canada’s first chief trade commissioner from 2003 until 2011.
“The quality of education at this campus is outstanding and made it possible for me to contribute on the larger stage.”
Upon his retirement in 2011, Sunquist continued to work as a business advisor and management consultant with governments, universities, and businesses. He also served on a number of boards, including CARE Canada, Forum for International Trade Training and Trade Facilitation Office Canada.
He was the recipient of numerous professional awards including Minister of Foreign Affairs Award of Excellence for Policy, Public Service of Canada Award for Excellence in Management, Public Service of Canada Award for Excellence in Policy and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Within the first two years of his studies, Sunquist decided he wanted a career in public service. He always looked back on his time at the Regina campus as formative to his success.
“The quality of education at this campus is outstanding and made it possible for me to contribute on the larger stage,” he said in a 2016 interview. “The faculty challenged me to meet my goals. My dean, Wes Bolstad, encouraged my interest in public policy and from the second year on I was committed to the public service.”
Sunquist is survived by his wife Carolyn, sons Stephen and Sean, daughters-in-law Susan and Kate, grandchildren Kira, Trevlyn and Elliott, sister Susan, and brother Tim.