A work of art titled mîkisak ikwa asiniyak | Beads and Stone | Lii rasaad aykwa lii rosh was created by Ruth Cuthand (BFA’83, MFA’92) and Vanessa Hyggen (BA’17). Christopher Putnam

Alumni notes

Updates on College of Arts and Science graduates

Arts&Science wants your news! Send your updates and photos to alumni.artsandscience@usask.ca

FRANSASKOIS ARTIST ALASDAIR REES (BA’15), a former Saskatoon individual poetry slam champion, is the province’s first-ever youth poet laureate. The announcement was made by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. Rees’ term began on April 1, 2019, and will run until March 31, 2020. He is fully bilingual and publishes and performs in both French and English.

Two College of Arts and Science alumni were among a group of individuals recognized by CBC Saskatchewan for making the province a better place.  Kayla Brien (BA’12, BA’13) is an advocate for greater opportunities for marginalized people and a devoted volunteer for organizations such as The Princess Shop and the Canadian Red Cross.  Stephanie Yong (BA’01, MBA’10) is the principal at Stephanie Yong Consulting, a firm that helps to generate ideas and solve strategic problems for community and social impact projects. She sits on the boards of several local organizations and is a co-founder of the Seeds for Dreams program. Forty Saskatchewan residents under the age of 40 were honoured on Nov. 15, 2018, at CBC’s Future 40 Gala. Future 40 winners are nominated by members of the community and chosen by CBC Saskatchewan.

Alana Pancyr (BFA’13) played the character Ofwyatt in the first episode of the second season of  The Handmaid’s Tale. The episode was originally released on April 25, 2018.  The Handmaid’s Tale is a highly acclaimed Hulu television series based on the best-selling dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

In late 2018,  Jefferson (Jeff) Mooney (BA’66) was appointed to the Order of Canada—one of the country’s highest civilian honours. The Order recognizes Canadians for their outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Mooney was also one of the first 100 individuals to be honoured with a College of Arts and Science Alumni of Influence Award in 2009. He is chair and controlling shareholder of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. and served as president and CEO of the company from 1991 to 2005.

Two College of Arts and Science alumni were among those honoured by the Saskatchewan Arts Board at its annual awards ceremony on Oct. 25, 2018.  Ken Mitchell (BA’65, MA’67) received the Lieutenant Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A graduate of the former Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan (USask), Mitchell is an acclaimed playwright, novelist and poet who has been inducted into the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit for his efforts as a “literary ambassador.”  Felicia Gay (BA’04, MA’11) was presented with the Leadership (Individual) Award. Gay has served as the curator of the galleries at Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon, the only gallery in the region that exclusively features Indigenous contemporary art. She has been a sessional lecturer in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Art and Art History since 2008.

Left to right: Alana Pancyr (BFA’13) played the character Ofwyatt in the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale ( supplied); Sister Teresita Kambeitz OSU (BA’69) received the Justice James D. Higgins Award ( supplied); Jefferson (Jeff) Mooney (BA’66) was appointed to the Order of Canada ( David Stobbe).

Plains Cree artist Ruth Cuthand (BFA’83, MFA’92) began a residency on campus in June 2018 as part of a new University of Saskatchewan Art Galleries program. During her residency, which wrapped up in April 2019, Cuthand offered beading instruction to students, faculty, staff and others. In 2016, Cuthand was recognized as one of the College of Arts and Science’s Alumni of Influence. An exhibition called Ruth Cuthand: Artist in Focus, drawn mainly from Remai Modern’s permanent collection, is currently on view at Saskatoon’s new modern art museum until July 14, 2019.

Cuthand and Woodland Cree artist Vanessa Hyggen (BA’17) collaborated on an innovative art piece during Indigenous Achievement Week, which was held at USask from Feb. 4–8, 2019. The project was called mîkisak ikwa asiniyak | Beads and Stone | Lii rasaad aykwa lii rosh (written in Cree, English and Michif). Broken pieces of a slab of Tyndall stone were integrated with beadwork as a performative and visual step toward Reconciliation at USask. The artwork was officially unveiled during a ceremony on April 18 and mounted in the Arts Building.

Dr. Bill Waiser (MA’76, PhD’83), distinguished professor emeritus of the University of Saskatchewan, was named the 2018 recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award. It is considered the top Canadian honour in the field of history and heritage. The award followed another prestigious honour for Waiser; he received the J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in September 2018 for outstanding contributions to the field of Canadian history. Waiser, a specialist in western and northern Canadian history, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2016 for his book A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905.

Dennis Gruending (BA’70, Arts’84), a journalist and former member of parliament, released his new book Speeches That Changed Canada. The book presents and analyzes important speeches from 11 of Canada’s greatest political orators. Gruending is also the author of Great Canadian Speeches, a previous bestseller.

Numerous College of Arts and Science alumni were recognized at the 26th Saskatchewan Book Awards. English professor emeritus Dr. Robert (Bob) Calder (BA’63, MA’65) was shortlisted for three awards for his book A Hero for the Americasand won the Saskatoon Public Library and City of Saskatoon Book Award. Randy Lundy (BA’94, MA’00) was shortlisted in four categories for his book of poetry Blackbird Song, winning the Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award. College of Arts and Science Alumni of Influence recipient Arthur Slade (BA’89) received the Murray and Edna Forbes Young Adult Literature Award for his book Crimson. Several additional alumni were shortlisted for Saskatchewan Book Awards. J.F. Conway (BA’66, MA’68) was shortlisted in three categories for The Prairie Populist. Alumni of Influence recipient Sharon Butala (BEd’62, BA’63, PGD’73, DLitt’04) was shortlisted in a publishing category for Zara’s Dead. Former Saskatchewan poet laureate Robert (Bob) Currie (BSP’61, BA’64, EDUC’66, BEd’66) was shortlisted for the poetry award for his book One-Way Ticket. The book Never Rub Noses With a Narwhal, written by Ruth Wellborn and illustrated by Morgan Wellborn (BA’09), was shortlisted for the First Book Award. In Another Air, by gillian harding-russell (PhD’86), was shortlisted for the City of Regina Book Award. The Saskatchewan Book Awards ceremony was held in Regina on April 27, 2019. 

Dr. Doris Bergen (BA’82), Dr. Douglas Chivers (PhD’95) and Dr. John Pomeroy (BSc’83, PhD’88) have been named fellows of the Royal Society of Canada—one of the highest honours a scholar can achieve. They were inducted at a special ceremony on Nov. 16, 2018, in Halifax. Bergen, from the University of Toronto’s Department of History, is an internationally recognized Holocaust historian. Chivers, a distinguished professor in the College of Arts and Science’s biology department, is a world-leading researcher in animal behaviour and an expert in predator-prey interactions. Pomeroy—Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, director of the USask-led Global Water Futures program and distinguished professor in the geography and planning department of the College of Arts and Science—is the world’s most-cited snow hydrologist. 

Left to right: Kevin Lewis (BA’01, BEd’03, CERTEE’03) translated the first-ever speech delivered by a member of parliament entirely in an Indigenous language ( Chelsea Laskowski); Dr. Douglas Chivers (PhD’95) was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada ( Daniel Hallen); Randy Lundy (BA’94, MA’00) won a Saskatchewan Book Award for his book of poetry Blackbird Song ( supplied).

Dr. James Dosman (BA’59, MD’63, MA’69) is a 2019 inductee into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Known as the “father of agricultural medicine” in Canada, throughout his career Dosman has been devoted to improving and protecting the health of agricultural workers in Canada and the world.

Erin Layton (BA’95, LLB’00) was among those recognized with the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Public Service for 2018. The award is given in three categories: emerging leader, individual and teams. Layton was honoured in the individual category.

Award-winning author Elizabeth Philips (BA’85) is the 38th writer-in-residence for the Saskatoon Public Library. Philips has published four collections of poetry and one novel, The Afterlife of Birds, which won the City of Saskatoon Book Award and was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award.  

Sister Teresita Kambeitz OSU (BA’69) received the Justice James D. Higgins Award from the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association on June 9, 2018, “in recognition of her outstanding contribution, enthusiasm and dedication to Catholic education in Saskatchewan and across Canada.” She has spent 60 years in the classroom at the high school and university levels and presently serves as director of the Saskatoon extension site of Newman Theological College, Edmonton, through which Saskatchewan teachers are able to pursue their Master of Religious Education degree.

Kim Coates (BA’81) received a best actor trophy at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto in June 2018. Coates starred in the play Jerusalem, written by English playwright Jez Butterworth, marking Coates’ first stage role in almost three decades. Coates—who was honoured as one of the College of Arts and Science’s first 100 Alumni of Influence in 2009—is best known for his roles in the television shows Sons of Anarchy and Bad Blood.

Four College of Arts and Science graduates were among the eight influential USask alumni to be recognized with Alumni Achievement Awards in 2018. As a student-athlete, Patricia Lawson (BA’50, BEd’53) represented the university on 13 teams over four years, including basketball, swimming, tennis, and track and field. In 1956, she joined USask’s Physical Education faculty, where she was a teacher, coach and administrator until her retirement in 1990. In April 2019, Lawson was also inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Suzanne Yip (BA’58, MD’60) and Dr. Ivan Jen (BA’57, MD’60) are an exceptional couple who have made outstanding contributions to the medical profession, the artistic community and more broadly as generous philanthropists. They met while attending medical school and were the first two Chinese-born immigrants to graduate from the College of Medicine in their specialties of dermatology and radiology. Kathryn Ford (BA’71) has practiced law in Saskatoon for more than 40 years, specializing in family law and mediation. She was a founding member of the Collaborative Lawyers Association of Saskatchewan and also worked to help establish the practice of collaborative law in the local bar.

Cree scholar Kevin Lewis (BA’01, BEd’03, CERTEE’03) contributed to a historic day in the House of Commons of Canada by being the first to translate a speech delivered by a member of parliament entirely in an Indigenous language. The speech was given by Manitoba MP Robert Falcon-Ouellette on Jan. 28, 2019. Lewis, who teaches Cree within USask’s College of Education, translated Falcon-Ouellette’s 10-minute contribution to the debate.

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