Welcome to the Spring/Summer edition of Degrees.
Since I began my tenure as President of the University of Regina almost one year ago, I have had the great pleasure of meeting many of our outstanding alumni, who now number more than 80,000 strong.
In many cases those meetings have by necessity taken place over Zoom, but as the COVID-19 pandemic has abated in recent months, I have welcomed the increasing number of opportunities to engage in person with our alumni.
On April 21, for example, I was fortunate to be part of the in-person celebrations for the grand reopening of Darke Hall, the extraordinary concert and theatre space that has been restored to a state that exceeds its original construction in 1929. During the two-day celebrations, I spoke with many graduates who paid their compliments for the outstanding work of the renovation project team.
Indeed, many of our alumni had a hand in the refurbishment. I want to thank all who contributed to the renovation project, but whom I didn't have the opportunity to meet in person at the re-opening. Without your support and that of others in the wider community, the historic venue would have been demolished, losing part of our University and indeed provincial history. I know I speak on behalf of everyone who attended the re-opening celebrations when I say that Darke Hall is truly a jewel in our city, and it will continue to serve as a cherished performance space for the University and the wider community for decades to come.
Beginning in early May, I hit the road for UR Days, an education expo that took numerous U of R faculty and staff on a provincial tour to meet future students in high schools in Weyburn, Yorkton, Swift Current, Prince Albert, and Regina. Thank you to all the U of R alumni, whether you were teachers or community leaders, who stopped by to say hello. It was so gratifying to hear the pride and support you have for your alma mater.
I also want to draw your attention to current student Zohra Zahir and recent graduate Nadiia Komarnytska. Zorha is from Afghanistan and Nadiia is from Ukraine. As you’ll read in “Home, family and war” in this issue of Degrees, residents in Zohra and Nadiia’s home countries are facing tremendous difficulties. Inspired by them, we have started Project Resilience, a fundraising priority to establish scholarships and provide emergency funds and other supports for students and their families from war-torn or otherwise challenged countries. I urge you to read the story about Zohra and Nadiia. You can give to Project Resilience by clicking here.
I’m proud to say that I've been serving as an ex-officio member of the University of Regina Alumni Association board since my tenure as President began last year. This has truly been a great experience, and it’s an honour to be working with the other board members to strengthen the connections between the University and the Association. I want to take the opportunity to encourage all our alumni to stay tuned for an announcement regarding the Annual General Meeting in the Fall. See you there!
In the meantime, I wish all of you and your families a fun-filled and enjoyable summer, and I hope to see as many of you as possible at future events both on campus and in your home communities.
Dr. Jeff Keshen
President and Vice-Chancellor