The University of Saskatchewan is no stranger to the community spirit that this province embodies. One could say that this institution was built with the intention of being a unifying link between learning and community. Our first president, Walter Murray, understood the importance a university has in serving its people. Saskatoon was chosen as the location for the U of S in 1909 with the purpose of having it “in close touch with the life of the province.”
As such, the U of S became a place to gather, to grow, to learn and to enlighten the next generation of community builders.
Our partnership with the City of Saskatoon is just one example of how we serve our greater community. I feel strongly that universities deserve great cities and cities deserve great universities. The U of S will continue to focus on inspiring communities here at home and beyond the province. Now more than ever, we must be the university the world needs.
Of course, our alumni are a big part of this ambition. We see them constantly using their talents locally, provincially, nationally and even virtually. U of S alumni exemplify what it means to be community- minded individuals, building channels for community involvement and going to great lengths to serve. That is the mindset our alumni take with them when they leave the U of S campus.
There is still work to do in building community. In particular, continuing to strengthen our relationships with and elevate the voices of Indigenous people and their communities is of utmost importance.
A major step towards building and strengthening our community, whether on one of our campuses or in the places our alumni call home, will come to light in the coming months as we finalize our next university plan. This plan, looking out to 2025, will set our direction and strategic priorities. It will signal to our community a shared purpose to become the university the world needs.
One important pillar of our plan will be to embrace manacihitowin, which means to “lead with respect,” as we continue our work in Indigenization and reconciliation. We have made progress towards this goal; however, we know there is much more to be done and reconciliation can only occur if everyone participates.
I look forward to sharing our university plan with our alumni in the very near future. But until then, I encourage you to think about your community-building efforts and share that back with your university.
President and vice-chancellor
University of Saskatchewan