Gloria Mehlmann loves the U of R mainly because of the value she places on education. Access to a good education is a theme that runs through Mehlmann’s life story. She grew up on the Cowessess First Nation and first attended a day school located on the nearby Kahkewistahaw First Nation, completing her Grade 8 at a day school at Cowessess.

“My parents and oldest brother attended Round Lake Residential School in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Because of the physical and psychological abuses they endured, they refused to allow me and my younger siblings to attend any boarding school,” Mehlmann explains.

She attended grades nine and ten at Ardith and Assiniboia High School before moving to Regina. She had hoped to complete high school at Regina’s Central Collegiate, but had to attend Balfour Collegiate, a technical school where courses like sewing and home economics, “went against my grain,” she says. She left Balfour, choosing to complete her Grade 12 through the province’s correspondence school. She says of her choice to pursue teaching as one of the best decisions of her professional life.

Honorary degree recipient Gloria Mehlmann relaxes in her yard in Nanoose Bay, B.C.
Honorary degree recipient Gloria Mehlmann relaxes in her yard in Nanoose Bay, B.C.

Mehlmann taught at four schools in the Regina Public Schools system from 1962 to 1983, and was later seconded to serve as the director of Research and Development with the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, now First Nations University of Canada.

As the director of Aboriginal Education for the provincial Department of Education from 1994 to 2004, she oversaw the integration of Indigenous perspectives and content into the K-12 curriculum.

She also served as a member and chair of the Regina Public Library board and was the provincial library trustees association representative to the University of Regina Senate.

Mehlmann has always wanted to write. At 12, she had a poem titled “To Grandma” published in the Winnipeg Free Press. “I had read the poetry of E. Pauline Johnson in school, and since I liked poetry, wrote the little verse,” she recalls. “That was major, for me.”

Her book, Gifted to Learn, is a memoir of her teaching career that was published in 2008, because, “every day provided a treasure trove of learning opportunities.” She then turned to creative writing, publishing a collection of stories titled Adam’s Tree, which is based on growing up on Cowessess First Nation and seeing the firsthand impacts of Indian Act policies and residential schooling.

She also read a lot, writers like Doris Lessing, Susanna Moodie, and Alice Munro “who revealed magical things in everyday existence.” She still enjoys rereading the works of her Saskatchewan mentors, writers like Dianne Warren, and Saskatchewan poets.

Among her titles, Mehlmann is the author of Gifted to Learn and  Adam’s Tree.
Among her titles, Mehlmann is the author of Gifted to Learn and Adam’s Tree.

In 2005 Mehlmann received the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in recognition of her contributions to education, libraries, and community development. She describes the award as an incredible honour, as is receiving an honorary degree. “I’m not sure what I will say to the graduates at the ceremony, but it will be about my love of learning, and it will be from my heart.”

Mehlmann received an honorary Doctor of Letters on June 15.

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Growing up in pancake-flat Saskatchewan, Mark McMorris never expected to make an impact on the sporting world, let alone becoming one of snowboarding's biggest stars. McMorris is feeling the same way about receiving a University of Regina honorary degree.

"Honestly, I never thought I would receive anything like this," he says.

"Being recognized with an honorary degree from the University of Regina is a huge honour."

The Saskatchewan snowboarder is one of the most decorated athletes in the discipline's history, holding three Olympic medals, twenty-two X Games medals and four US Open Championship wins.

Mark and his brother Craig established the  McMorris Foundation in 2012. To date, the foundation has raised over $350,000 and helped to provide over 3,500 Canadian kids with athletic opportunities. Mark and his brother Craig established the McMorris Foundation in 2012. To date, the foundation has raised over $350,000 and helped to provide over 3,500 Canadian kids with athletic opportunities.

All of the medals are special, McMorris says, but his win earlier this year is significant because it came down to his last run. "All bases loaded, I needed to land, got bumped from first to second, and then I rose to the occasion."

McMorris has rebounded from several injuries over his career, most recently a broken ankle suffered at Revelstoke, B.C., in February 2023. He was fortunate, he says, that the break did not require surgery. Rehabbing is never a fun process, he notes, but the number one reason he has been able to return after injuries is his passion for snowboarding and competing.

"This is not my first rodeo. I have been through this process before, and the most notable thing is that as you heal physically you heal mentally. You always have to remember that."

McMorris is also a trailblazer on social media, and he lets his personality shine through, attracting fans and brand partners alike. He was named the most socially engaged Olympian at Sochi 2014 by SportsBusiness Journal and has partnered with many top brands in the snowboarding and lifestyle space over the years.

McMorris strives to inspire others and build his legacy. In 2012 he and his brother Craig, a professional snowboarder and broadcast commentator, launched the McMorris Foundation to help Canadian children in need participate in sports. As a kid, McMorris says, he played every sport under the sun, and he is thankful for his background in other sports because it helped shape his snowboarding career.

McMorris holds three Olympic medals, 22 X Games medals and four US Open Championship wins McMorris holds three Olympic medals, 22 X Games medals and four US Open Championship wins

"When I started making a living off snowboarding it was a no-brainer to create a foundation and try to give back, and give kids a similar opportunity to what I had growing up."

The McMorris Foundation has raised over $350,000 and helped to provide over 3,500 Canadian kids with athletic opportunities.

While he continues to rehab his ankle - a short video updating his progress, showing him working out in the gym - is available at his website, - he is eyeing upcoming competitions in the X Games, the Natural Selection Tour (which hosts backcountry snowboard competitions in different locations around the world), and the 2026 Winter Olympics.

McMorris catches some big air at Whistler, B.C. McMorris catches some big air at Whistler, B.C.

Competing has given him an incredible work ethic, McMorris says, and a drive to reach his goals. "I think competition keeps you on your toes, and I've been able to succeed when the pressure is on."

McMorris plans to keep pursuing his love of snowboarding, continue excelling at the highest level of the sport, and have fun while doing it.

McMorris recieved an honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) on June 14.

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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 [post_title] => President's message [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 7354-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-06-15 10:34:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-06-15 16:34:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )