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From Left, Gordon Beach, Tenille Campbell, Aaron Genest and Pat Atkinson are this year's Alumni of Influence recipients. (Photos submitted)

College of Arts and Science Alumni of Influence recipients recognized for outstanding achievements

Gordon Beach, Tenille Campbell, Aaron Genest and Pat Atkinson have been selected as recipients of this year’s awards


Four remarkable individuals have been chosen as recipients of the 2024 College of Arts and Science Alumni of Influence (AOI) Awards.

This year’s AOI recipients include philanthropist and geologist Gordon Beach (BSc’74), author and photographer Tenille Campbell (BA’07), technology sector leader and mentor Aaron Genest (BSc’07, PhD’13) and Saskatchewan politician and educator Pat Atkinson (BA’73, BEd’77).

The AOI Awards celebrate and recognize outstanding alumni from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Arts and Science. The recipients’ remarkable achievements and contributions have an impact on their respective fields, communities, and the university.

“The College of Arts and Science is thrilled to recognize and celebrate the four recipients of this year’s Alumni of Influence Awards: Gordon Beach, Aaron Genest, Tenille Campbell, and Pat Atkinson,” said Dr. Brooke Milne (PhD), dean of the College of Arts and Science.

“Upon graduating from the college, each of these individuals have built pathways to success through their achievements, leadership, and mentorship of others in their respective workplaces, communities, and beyond. They are exemplars of what the world needs. On behalf of the college, I want to express how proud I am to recognize these esteemed Arts and Science alumni, and I look forward to celebrating this recognition with them.”

The four 2024 AOI recipients join the ranks of more than 150 members who have been inducted since 2009. This is a special tradition and the highest honour for alumni at the college level. This is the first time the awards have been presented since the program was paused in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Award recipients will connect with current students, graduates and faculty in the coming weeks as they continue to be ambassadors for their departments, the college and the university.

If there is a College of Arts and Science graduate who is making an impact in their community, submit a recommendation. Recommendations can be submitted at any time during the year.

About the 2024 Alumni of Influence recipients

Gordon Beach
Gordon Beach (BSc'74)

Gordon Beach (BSc’74)

Gordon Beach is a geologist and philanthropist from Midale, Sask. He grew up and attended school in the Weyburn area. Beach graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, high honours, from USask in 1974. During his career, he was an employee, then an independent consultant, in the oil and gas industry until his retirement in 2012. Beach said he retired to go to the ski hills and bicycle while vacationing with his wife, Helen. The pair have two daughters and four grandchildren.

While at USask, Beach joined a student society in the Department of Geological Sciences called the Ore Gangue. Based on his experience, he created the Ore Gangue Alumni Bursary Fund. He has encouraged other alumni to donate to the fund, which has helped financially support more than 35 students in the department. His philanthropy, leadership and enthusiasm has encouraged others to “pay it forward.”

Tenille Campbell
Tenille Campbell (BA'07)

Tenille Campbell (BA’07)

Tenille K. Campbell is a Dene and Métis author and photographer from English River First Nation, Sask. She is a PhD candidate in the USask Department of English, since completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, and a BA Honours in English from USask.

She is an award-winning poet with two published collections: #IndianLovePoems and Nedi Nezu. Her work currently focuses on themes of joy, desire, and matriarchy. She is also the artist behind sweetmoon photography, having spent more than 10 years capturing the complexities of Indigenous life and love from behind the lens.

Campbell was named a CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 recipient in 2017. She is currently the USask Indigenous Storyteller-In-Residence. Her work is an ode to culture, to community, to connection.

Aaron Genest
Aaron Genest (BSc'07, PhD'13)

Aaron Genest (BSc’07, PhD’13)

Dr. Aaron Genest holds a BSc and PhD in Computer Science from USask. He is a member of the technology community, who helps leaders of start-ups navigate technical, governance, talent acquisition and sales challenges.

He is a manager of a team of engineers at Siemens, and is the president of SaskTech, an industry advisory organization to government and education stakeholders.

Genest is involved in various aspects of USask, including being part of the Senate and the Dean’s Advisory Committee in Engineering. He is a mentor through USask’s SIGMA entrepreneurship program, the USask Connects graduate mentorship program, and is an advisor, advocate, and speaker for the OPUS deep tech incubator at USask.

Pat Atkinson
Pat Atkinson (BA'73, BEd'77)

Pat Atkinson (BA’73, BEd’77)

Pat Atkinson is an educator and Saskatchewan politician from Biggar, Sask. She attended high school in Saskatoon before going to USask to earn a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in 1973 and an education degree in 1977. Atkinson worked as a teacher, union organizer and principal until 1986 when she was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature.

For 25 years, she served as an MLA as part of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the Saskatoon Nutana and Saskatoon Broadway constituencies. Between 1986-2011, Atkinson held many Cabinet positions in the provincial government, including Social Services, Post-Secondary Education, Health, Education, Finance and Deputy Leader of the Opposition. She is the longest serving woman parliamentarian in Saskatchewan history.

Since 2011, Atkinson has worked internationally and nationally with parliamentarians, public servants, political party activists and candidates. She has received many notable recognitions over the years, including the USask College of Education Alumni Wall of Honour, Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation Medal and Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Golden Jubilee Medals.

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