Alumni Association Achievement Awards

Nominations for 2015 are now closed.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination or provided letters of support.

Decisions are now in the hands of the selection committee. Recipients will be announced in late-summer or early-fall.

About the Awards

The Alumni Achievement Awards are presented annually to U of S graduates who advance the reputation of the University of Saskatchewan and the Alumni Association. Award recipients are chosen for their outstanding achievements and innovation; commitment to excellence; community engagement and leadership; and contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of society.

Alumni successes will be recognized through their exemplary contributions in fields such as:

  • Aboriginal initiatives
  • agriculture
  • the arts
  • athletics, sports and wellness
  • business and industry
  • community leadership
  • education
  • occupations or professions
  • philanthropy
  • public service
  • research
  • volunteer service

Note: The above are not categories nor an all-inclusive list. They are only suggestions to consider for nominees.

Here's what a few past recipients say about the awards:

Established in 1978, the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association Awards honour the outstanding accomplishments of our alumni and attest to the excellence of the University of Saskatchewan educational experience.

2014 Alumni Achievement Awards

Congratulations to our 2014 recipients, who were recognized at a reception on October 23 in Saskatoon.


View the photo gallery

Thank you to the following event sponsors

TDIMMHome and Auto

IA Insurance BMO

2014 Recipients are:

Leanne Bellegarde

Leanne Bellegarde (LLB’91) for her leadership in advancing Aboriginal partnerships.

After being admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1993, Leanne has spent her career developing and advancing professional opportunities for the province’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

Leanne was part of the negotiation team with the Government of Canada on the Treaty Land Entitlement agreement and served as advisor for the Federation of Saskatchewan of Indian Nations (FSIN). She owned her own law firm and has worked for the City of Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, SaskTel and the University of Saskatchewan, where she led Aboriginal initiatives for the Edwards School of Business.

Currently serving as the director of Aboriginal strategy for PotashCorp, Leanne builds and maintains crucial relationships with First Nations and Métis communities, with an emphasis on developing economic prosperity  through employment and business opportunities directly with PotashCorp and as part of the local supply chain.

Her contributions and leadership have been recognized with the Business and Professional Women of Saskatoon’s Athena Award, FSIN’s Circle of Honour Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the United Way’s W.A. Milne Volunteer of the Year award.

Merlis Belsher

Merlis Belsher (BComm’57, LLB’63) for his dedicated service and philanthropy to the University of Saskatchewan.

Born in McCord Sask. and raised on the family farm, Merlis Belsher’s Saskatchewan roots run deep. 

He became a Chartered Accountant in 1960 and was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1964. In 1965, he purchased Weldon’s Concrete Products, a precast concrete manufacturing business in Saskatoon. He grew the company for 43 years, earning the reputation of a dedicated, honest and well-respected employer and business community member.

A volunteer on numerous Saskatoon-based non-profit, church, sport, political and business association boards, Merlis served on the College of Commerce Dean’s Advisory Council in the 1990s and currently serves on the College of Law Dean’s Advisory Council, providing valuable insight and guidance. He remains a board member of the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan.

Merlis supports many charitable organizations including Luther College in Regina (where he attended high school) and the three Saskatoon hospital foundations. He has generously supported University of Saskatchewan capital campaigns, scholarships, and established the Merlis Belsher Access to Justice Fund, providing experiential learning opportunities for law students.

Merlis has received numerous awards including recently the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a Senior Life Membership from the Benchers of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

Shannon Dyck

Shannon Dyck, young alumni recipient* (BA’09, MES’12) for her volunteerism and commitment to environment and sustainability initiatives.

While studying studio art and art history, Shannon became involved in politics, running as a candidate in the 2007 provincial election. In 2008-09, she was elected vice-president student affairs of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, raising awareness of issues such as student housing and sustainability on campus. She also served on the School of Environment and Sustainability Students’ Association while pursuing her master’s degree.

Her thesis research on family-based environmental education received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in 2012, she received the Appel Global Citizenship Award. 

Working as an environmental coordinator for the City of Saskatoon, Shannon designs and manages environmental education programs, works with community groups on sustainable projects and events, and conducts research in areas such as waste, water, food, and biodiversity. 

Shannon has volunteered for a wide range of organizations such as the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon Fringe Festival, and Permaculture Research Institute of Saskatchewan. She is a member of Radiance Cohousing, an innovative condominium development in Saskatoon, and, as an active member of the arts community, has exhibited her art and facilitated art workshops for elementary school students.

Fred Fulton

Fred Fulton (BSA’50, PGD’68. MCtgEd’72) for his significant contributions the University of Saskatchewan and the agricultural industry.

As a faculty member of the School of Agriculture (which ran certificate and diploma programs) for almost 40 years, Fred spent his summers on the farm and winters at the U of S teaching classes on public speaking, parliamentary procedure, rural life, entomology and crop disease, community development, rural sociology and computers. He retired from teaching, but not from farming.

In 1982-83, Fred served as the school’s acting director and president of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists, an organization with which he has a long-standing relationship.

Fred was on the executive for the Saskatchewan Agriculture Graduates’ Association (SAGA) and the board of the U of S Alumni Association, including a year as president for both organizations. He was given Honorary Life Membership for SAGA in recognition of his service.

Fred and his wife, Norma, have been generous donors to the U of S for years, establishing the Fred Fulton Family Scholarship, as a member of the Sodbusters Club that funded architectural drawings for the new Agriculture Building, and as supporters of the subsequent capital campaign for the construction of the building.

Donald Greve

Dr. Donald Greve (BA’58, MD’60) for his leadership as a community builder and commitment to the arts.

As a family physician in Rosthern, Sask. and area for 45 years, Donald was well versed in emergency and trauma medicine, anesthesia, surgery, orthopedics, geriatrics, counselling, preventative medicine, and he estimates he has delivered 1,800 babies—more than the town’s current population.

Donald helped train and mentor University of Saskatchewan medical students and was the local hospital’s chief of medical staff. He has sat on various committees with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan and still serves as a coroner.

Donald continues to take a leadership role in revitalizing his community. He serves on town council and chairs the economic development committee. He was instrumental in the fundraising and creation of three major developments for the town: the Seager Wheeler Farm, a national historic site; the Station Arts Centre, an art gallery, tea room and live theatre venue in the refurbished CN train station; and the Valley Regional Park that includes an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, campground, picnic area and playground.

Awards and honours recognizing Donald’s service to his community include the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and Rosthern’s Citizen of the Year.

Terry Lake

The Hon. Terry Lake (DVM’86) for his dedicated public service and community leadership.

Terry attended the Western College of Veterinary Medicine following a brief career in broadcast journalism. He practiced in Calgary. Alta and the Vancouver, BC area, where he owned and operated the Coquitlam Animal Hospital. In 1997, Terry, his wife Lisa (BA’86, BEd’86) and their three daughters, Shannon, Stephanie and Gemma, moved to Kamloops, BC where he took up a faculty position at Thompson Rivers University in the Animal Health Technology program.

Terry was active in the veterinary profession serving on the board of the BC Veterinary Medical Association, public relations chair for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and vice-president of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. He received the Award of Merit from the BCVMA for his contributions to the profession.

Terry served on Kamloops City Council from 2002-2008 serving as councillor then as mayor. He was elected to the BC legislature in 2009 and re-elected in 2013. He served as environment minister from 2011-2013 and is currently the minister of health for Canada's third largest province overseeing a budget of $17 billion.

Hobbies include playing soccer in the Kamloops Recreational Soccer League, running with his dog Pal and discovering tasty craft beer throughout BC and the Pacific Northwest.

Scott McCreath

Scott McCreath (BComm’69) for his professional excellence, community involvement and philanthropy.

For 45 years, Scott has been in the financial services and capital markets industries, where he has earned the reputation as a top performer in the sector. At BMO Nesbitt Burns, he is a member of chairman’s council, an 18-time recipient of the Deane Nesbitt/Charles Burns Award as an exceptional advisor, and in 2011, was recognized as one of the world’s top financial services professionals with the Brendan Wood TopGun award.

Scott is member of the Dean’s Advisory Council with the U of S Edwards School of Business and serves on the governance committee of the George Dembrowski Student-Managed Portfolio that gives students real world experience managing an investment portfolio. He is currently the college’s executive in residence, a role in which he will give students career advice, offer research ideas for faculty and guest lecture periodically.

He has served on the boards of various organizations, including chair of the Alberta Stock Exchange, past-president of Houston Willoughby of Alberta Ltd, member the Investment Dealers Association of Canada, and member of the Waskesiu Foundation.

With his wife, Grit (BEd’91), the McCreaths are volunteers and financial supporters of a variety of art, education and social causes. They are proud U of S ambassadors, and the university is a significant beneficiary of their generosity.

Heather Morrison

Heather Morrison, young alumni recipient* (BFA’08) for her contribution to theatre and the arts and her volunteerism.

As a drama student, Heather starred in several Greystone Theatre productions. She has since graduated from the Globe Theatre Actor Conservatory and has worked as an actress for many Saskatchewan theatre companies. 

Heather is artistic producer for Sum Theatre in Saskatoon, producing free live performances in local parks through its Theatre in the Park program. She teaches drama, team building and public speaking for several organizations in both the business and arts communities. She is also a budding playwright. Her first play, Thicker than Water, was featured at Saskatchewan Playwright's Centre's spring festival in 2014. 

As co-host of the morning show at Saskatoon’s Cool 98 FM, Heather volunteers her time and talents for dozens of organizations and charities every year. She also created the weekly theatre talk show, Mom, I’m a Thespian, on CFCR community radio and appears regularly on CTV Morning Live as their theatre guru. 

Heather has received Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards as both an actress and producer. She currently serves on the board for the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon and Nuit Blanche, a nighttime arts and culture festival.

Mike O'Kane

Mike O’Kane (BE’92, MSc’96) for his role as a global leader in business and industry

Mike is president and CEO of O’Kane Consultants (OKC), a global leader in the environmentally sustainable design, construction and monitoring of mine closure systems.

With over 50 employees, OKC boasts that the majority of its three dozen professional staff are U of S graduates.

OKC’s client list includes all the major operators in the Alberta oil sands industry and extends to coal and metal mines throughout Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Mike has designed systems to monitor and interpret reclamation performance that OKC uses in over 75 sites around the world for a variety of materials in a wide range of climate conditions.

Mike is the lead author on four guidance documents that have become the industry standards. He and his staff contribute regularly to research and scholarly work.

Mike funds research projects for graduate students and a scholarship for U of S engineering students in honour of his father. He also instills the value of giving back at OKC. The company, and its employees, fund annual trips to El Salvador, where employee volunteers help build a home with Habitat for Humanity and provide support for Rainbow of Hope for Children initiatives.

Sheila Pocha

Sheila Pocha (BEd’86, PGD’97, MEd’00) for her leadership and contributions to Aboriginal initiatives and education.

As an educator, Sheila has had several positions in which she was able to advance the innovative use of Indigenous culture, language and tradition in classrooms.

As a teacher, she was able to foster an affirming cultural identity for First Nations and Métis students. As coordinator of the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program and sessional lecturer at the U of S, she was able to teach, mentor and instill a strong cultural identity in those who would in turn be charged with the education of young Indigenous students. As an administrator, and in her current role as school principal, she is able to engage First Nations and Métis parents in their children’s education and be an advocate for curricula and policy changes that will meet the dynamic needs of Aboriginal students.

Sheila’s influence reaches beyond the classroom. She has served on the U of S Senate and on a number of professional committees through the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, the ministry of education and Saskatoon Public Schools. She has also served on several boards, including the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Station 20 West, Quint Development and SaskCulture.

Andrew Schmitz

Andrew Schmitz (BSA’63, MSc’65, DLitt’99) for his significant contributions to education, agriculture and economics.

As a world-renowned scholar specializing in international economics, marketing, and public and agricultural policies, Andrew has held four endowed chairs, including the Van Viet Chair in Agricultural Trade at the U of S and the Ben Hill Griffin Jr. Eminent Scholar and Professor of Food Resource Economics and the University of Florida, Gainsville, which he currently holds. He is also a research professor at the University of California, Berkley.

In addition to his U of S degrees, Andrew has a master of arts and PhD from The University of Wisconsin. Both his master of science thesis and his doctoral dissertation won agricultural economics awards.

He has authored or co-authored over 20 books and 200 professional journal articles that have won six research awards from the American Agricultural Economics Association.

Andrew is a consultant for hundreds of companies and agencies including the World Bank, the Economic Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the United States Department of Agriculture.

For over 20 years, Andrew heads an annual conference in Moose Jaw, providing a forum for policymakers, academics and farmers to discuss agricultural issues.

In 2013, Andrew was inducted a fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Association and was named the International Educator of the Year.

*Young alumni recipients are subject to the same criteria, and they must be under 35 years of age and have graduated from the U of S no more than 10 years ago.

Past Recipients

Alumni Achievement Award Recipients


Watch highlights of the 2013 awards reception
View the 2013 awards photo gallery

The Hon. Charles (Charlie) Mayer, P.C., BSA’64
Donald (Don) A. Mitchell, BA’69, MA’73
Dr. James Ogloff, MA’86
Prof. Emeritus Dufferin (Duff) Spafford, BA’59, MA’61

Young Alumni Achievement Award:
Dr. Farrah Mateen,


Watch videos from the 2012 awards reception
View the 2012 awards photo gallery

Austin Beggs, BA’74
Dr. Sasha Bernatsky, BSc’88
Dr. Anne Doig, MD’76
Elaine Golds, BA’64
Digvir Jayas, PhD’87
Prof. Emeritus Radhey Lal Kushwaha, PhD’67
Robert (Bob) McKercher, BA’50, LLB’52
Dr. Bruce McManus, BAPE’67, MD’77
Chancellor Emeritus Edward (Ted) Turner, D/Agric’48, honorary LLD’89
Garrett Wilson, BA’53, LLB’54

Young Alumni Achievement Awards:
Natasha Haskey, BSNutr’98, MSc’07
Karl Miller, BA’98, BComm’01


B. E. (Bev) Allen, BSP’73
Tony Dagnone,
L. David Dubé,
Rui Feng,
Edward Hudek,
Ken Linnen,
Terrence Veeman,

In 2011, the format of the awards changed, eliminating the previous categories of awards.

Alumni Award of Achievement
1979 Mr. W. Hugh Arscott, BComm’48
1980 Dr. J. Francis Leddy, BA’30, MA’31, PhD, LLD’65
1981 Dr. Howard T. Fredeen, BSA’43, MSc(Alta), PhD (Iowa)
1982 Mr. Henry J. Fast, BSc’40
1983 Dr. Clayton O. Person, BA’49, MS’51, PhD (Alta)
1984 Dr. Jack Shaw, BA’34
1985 Mr. Norman K. Rebin, BA’59
1986 Mr. Lyman R. Hill, BEd’68, P/G Dip Ed. Admin’70, MEd’79
1987 Dr. Neil S. Crawford, BA’51, LLB’54
1988 Dr. Robert G. Robertson, LLD’59, BA (Oxford), MSc (TOR)
1989 Professor Jack L. Summers, BSP’49, MSP’52 (Iowa)
1990 Mrs. M. Lorraine Hill, BSN’60, M/Cont. Ed’79
1991 Mrs. Marian A. Younger, BA’28, BComm’53
1992 Mrs. Ann L. Schulman, BSN’65
1993 Dr. V. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, BSHEc’66, MSc (Utah), LLD’94
1996 Dr. G.W. (Scotty) Cameron, BComm’55, LLD’97
1997 Mr. F.J. Hartley Fredeen, BSA’43, MSc’51
1997 Mrs. Margaret Fredeen, BSN’47
1998 Dr. Gwenna M. Moss, BSHEc’59, MSc (WIS)’68, PhD (WIS)’70
1999 Mr. Gordon A. Wilson, BSA'48
2000 Mr. Harold H. MacKay, BA'60, LLB'63 (DAL)
2001 Mr. William Thomas (Tom) Molloy, BA'64, LLB'64
2002 Dr. Vera R. Pezer, BA'62; MA'64; PhD'77
2003 Dr. Louise Forsyth, BA'55; MA'63 (UWO); PhD'66 (UWO)
2004 Dr. Ernest (Ernie) Walker, C.M., S.O.M., BEd'71, MA'78, PhD'80 (TEX)
2005 Dr. Bryan Harvey, BSA'60, MSc'61, PhD'64 (CAF)
2006 Dr. Glen Baker, BSP'70, MSc’72, PhD’74, DSc’00 
2007 Mr. W. Brett Wilson, BE'79
2008 Dr. Russ Kisby, BAPE'63, LLD'96
2009 Dr. Malcolm Wilson, MSc'77, PhD'81
2010 Dr. Ernest Olfert, BA'65, DVM'69, MSc'76

 Alumni Honour Award
1998 Ms. Arlis McQuarrie, Dip PT'73; BPT (ALT)'77; BA'79
1999 Ms. Ruth Smillie, 1st year BFA, 1973-74
2000 Mr. William Thomas (Tom) Molloy, BA'64, LLB'64
2001 The Honorable Allen B. Sulatycky, BA'62, LLB'62
2002 Dr. Milkha Singh Aulakh, BSc'72 Guru Nanak Dev Univ (India), MSc'74 Punjab Agric Univ (India), PhD'83
2003 Dr. Sharon Butala, Bed'62; BA'63; PGD'73, LLD'00 (Regina)
2004 Dr. John Leonard (Len) Gusthart, BEd'69, BA'71, MEd'75
2005 Ms. Tania Miller, BMusEd'91
2006 Dr. William (Bill) Waiser, S.O.M., MA'76, PhD'83
2007 Mr. Don Bateman, BE'56

Alumni Excellence in Aboriginal Initiatives Award
2005 Mr. Orest Murawsky, BA'71, BEd'74, MEduc'75
2006 Ms. Marie (Sharon) LaFlamme, BEd'91, PGD'01
2007 Mr. Richard Dubé, BMUSED'94
2008 Mr. Gordon Martell, BEd'91, MEduc'98
2009 Mr. Cort Dogniez, BEd'79, PGD'92
2010 Dr. Cecil King, BEd'73, MEduc'75

Alumni Humanitarian Award
1998 Ms. Grace Davis Pine, BSc '30, Med. Cert. '31
1999 Mr. Gordon A. Wilson, BSA'48
2000 Mr. Ivan D. Yaholnitsky, BA'79, MA'86
2001 Mr. Douglas C. Hodson, Bcomm'81, LLB'84
2002 Mr. Norman Rebin, BA'59 Mrs. Delva Rebin, BA'58
2003 Mr. Peter Zakreski, BA'61
2004 Mr. David Rodney, BA'87, BEd'88
2005 Ms. Eileen Skinnider, LLB’87, Dr. Marie Skinnider, MD’87, & Ms. Kathleen Skinnider, BSN’91
2006 Dr. Ann McCaig, C.M.; A.O.E, BEd’61, LLD'01
2007 Ms. Sylvia Cholodnuik, BSHEC'85
2008 Mr. Levi Goertz, BE'04
2009 Mr. Lorne Gelowitz, S.V.M., BA'83
2010 Mr. Garth Herbert, Bcomm'91

Alumni Service Award
1998 Mr. Glenden (Glen) W. Hass, BSA’60; Ed Dip’65; BEd’66; MCEd’76
1999 Mr. Gordon A. Wilson, BSA'48
2000 FOCUS (Friends of the College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan) - Calgary Chapter
2001 Mr. Robert E. Brack, BSA'52, MSc'61 (WIS)
2002 Ms. Patricia (Pat) F. Currie, BA'59; MA'62
2003 Dr. Donald Stefiuk, BSC'73; MD'77
2004 Mr. Kenneth Ready, BSP'53
2005 Ms. Catherine Gryba, BSPE’84
2006 Dr. David Keegan, BA’60 (Cum Laude), MD’64
2007 Ms. Carrie Allen, BA'00
2008 Dr.
Don Hamilton, BSc'68, DVM'70, PHD'74
2009 Ms. Susan Milburn, Bcomm'78, MBA'80
2010 Ms.
Laurel Krause, BSHEc '75, BEd'77

Alumni Mentorship Award
1999 Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation
2000 Mr. Richard L. Johnson, BSN'70, BA'86
2001 Nutana Collegiate, Saskatoon
2002 Ms. Patricia (Pat) A. Thomas, BCOMM'89 (U os S), CA'80 (Sask), CACE'00 (UVic)
2003 Mr. Alan Thomarat, BA'95
2004 Mr. Jerold (Jerry) J. Peters, BA'87, BEd'88, MEd'96 (VIC)
2005 Professor Margaret Crossley, BA’82, MA’84, PhD’89
2006 Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, MA’87, PhD’91
2007 Mr. Brent Banda, MBA'01, BCOMM'97
2008 Dr. Jocelyne Martel, MD'90
2009 Ms. Betty-Ann Heggie, BEd'75
2010 Dr. William Frischke, DVM'76

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
2000 Dr. Aaron James Marshall, BSc'92, PhD'97 (TOR)
2001 Mr. Trent McConaghy, BSc'99, BE(EL)'99
2002 Mr. Christopher (Chris)D. Labrecque, BSc'99;BE(EP)'99
2003 Mr. Benjamin Voss, BE'99
2004 Ms. Garnette Weber, BSPT'96 and Mr. Daniel Weber, BSC'96
2005 Mr. Amit Gupta, BE(EE)’99, BSc’99
2006 Dr. Thomas Yu, DMD’03
2007 Mr. Andrew McCreath, BA'99
2008 Mr. Chad Hamre, BE'05
2009 Dr. Alika Lafontaine, MD'06
2010 Ms. Kelly-Anne Riess, BA'02