Prof. Ian McQuillan

“Professor Ian McQuillan was my PhD supervisor, and he was an amazing mentor, supervisor, and friend. What makes him particularly special is how he tailors his interactions with each student to give them what they need. For me this meant letting me run with the baseball and score a basket down (another successful sports metaphor, go me); however, he was always there to give guidance and help work a problem. Ian did a great job of tolerating my attempts at comedy. For example, I would call him "Dude!" when I got excited about something, and this never bothered him. I certainly have many stories about Ian. One time I was in his office explaining my latest algorithm (which he called the "Jason Entertainment Hour"). When I was done, he was just kind of looking at me strangely, and then he says, "I think I can prove that's a polynomial time algorithm." And I look at him and say "Uhhh... sure. You do that." And he did. And we published it. He's really talented to be able to just think of a proof like that in his head.  Ahh, good times. He's a great guy. A great father. A great professor. A great friend. Thanks for everything Professor Ian McQuillan!”

Dr. Jason Bernard (PhD’20)

Dr. Bob Besant

“While I learned successfully in Bob’s thermodynamics class, at the time I did not appreciate the lasting, constructive effect he would have on my subsequent engineering career, and in fact many other aspects of my life to this day. Bob’s most valuable teaching obsession was his highly structured approach to problem analysis. First, define the problem. Then define system boundaries.  Then, enumerate principles and definitions that apply. Then, about the time the bell rang to end the class, begin calculations to solve the problem. Being a rather goal-oriented type, I usually left his classes frustrated, because no answer had been produced. However, in all the years following, Bob’s structured approach has assisted me continuously in solving not only engineering, but also many of life’s other problems.” 

Bill Caswell (BE’72) 

Dr. Linda Wason-Ellam

“Dr. Linda Wason-Ellam took such wonderful care of all of her graduate students. Thirty years ago, in my M.Ed. context, she observed that my writing wasn't well organized in terms of paragraph structure, and she sat me down on her living room carpet with a paper copy of my thesis chapter and kitchen scissors. My task was to cut up all the sentences and put them into piles according to topic. Then, I was instructed to go through the piles and remove duplicated ideas. She then pointed out, through mentor texts, how other writers crafted introductory sentences and concluding sentences for a well-rounded paragraph. What a brilliant way of helping me see the kind of structure that was necessary! I am so grateful she was my supervisor. After my M.Ed., I went on to successfully complete a PhD and write 15 books, both academic and children's fiction. None of those books would ever have happened (or my PhD) without Linda. I am forever grateful to her for the difference she made to my writing.” 

Beverley Brenna (BEd’84, MEd’91, BA’02) 

Dr. Isabelle Mills

To me, in 1967, as a young 18-year-old from a small town, she was a role model and a comfort. She always had time to listen and often invited students to talk over a cup of tea in her office. She loved a discussion, no matter the topic, and we knew she taught music education, but for me she was an interested, experienced woman I could trust. She was my supervising teacher during one of my practice teaching stints and she enjoyed the children in my class as much as I did. I remember how she locked eyes with each child she spoke to, and I think she did that with her USask students too. We felt like she actually saw us. As time went on, we became friends. Over the decades we have managed to have tea together a few times a year. We had a 55-year friendship and I think of her often.”

Maureen Haddock (BEd’70) 

Prof. Colin Sargent

He was my materials professor in fourth year as well as instructor for our oral and written communications class. It was this latter class where his sense of humor and faith in my ability for public speaking (which I hated) came to lightWhen it was my turn to receive my paper, Dr. Sargent set the slip in front of me while someone else was talking at the front of the class and I read the subject on which I was to present. It read, “The Sex Life of a Water Buffalo.” Good lord!!  I hated public speaking as it was, and now I had to talk about the erotic practices of some aquatic bovine from southeast Asia. Just as I finished reading the words on the paper, it seemed the person currently talking immediately finished and I had no time to gather any thoughts, not that any amount of time would have helped. I don’t think I filled my two minutes, but Dr. Sargent understood and enjoyed the presentation as much as everyone else. My disdain for public speaking still exists to this day, but on the occasions in my career where it was unavoidable, I always found room to inject humour into my presentation. Dr. Sargent taught me that even the heaviest of subjects could be made a little lighter when sprinkled with humour. Sadly, I never saw Dr. Sargent again after graduation and I found out recently that he passed away in February of 2022. A great prof and we could have used a lot more like him leading university classes.” 

Chris Himsl (BE’82) 

Prof. Emeritus Don Kerr (BA’57)

“Prof. Emeritus Don Kerr, was my prof for Film Appreciation. That class was amazing. Don was the best professor. His depth of film knowledge was endless, and I spent many years trying to discover a venue to share my love of classic film in a similarly enlightening manner. He is the reason I got on board with Good Evening: An Alfred Hitchcock Podcast. Also, I spent many years working in TV production and was able to use creative devices learned in Kerr's classroom. His rogue teaching style drew the students in. He was funny, strict, knowledgeable and cared for his students.“ 

Tom Caldwell (BA’96) 

Prof. C.D. Smith

“Prof. C.D. Smith had a rather profound influence on my university days and, ultimately, my career path. His knowledge and practical manner have been strongly influential on my practice of engineering. Perhaps most significantly, after completing my MSc under his supervision, he encouraged me to go off into the profession and get about a decade of experience and then to return and pursue an academic appointment. While not my plan at the time, that is ultimately what took place, and I remain forever grateful for his guidance and encouragement in this regard.” 

Prof. Emeritus Jim Kells (BE’77, MSc’80, PhD’95) 

Dr. James Pooler

“I first met Dr. James Pooler when I took his Arts & Science classes on spatial and environmental statistics in the early 2000s. I had heard from other students at the time a catchphrase that proved to be true more than once: “Pooler is cooler!” Indeed, Dr. Pooler was interesting, intriguing, engaging and always excited. At the instant that he walked into the classroom, I found that he was charismatic, intelligent and willing to engage with students. James was a wonderful teacher who clearly communicated the science of spatial statistics, and he was willing to spend time to articulate and explain concepts.” 

Dr. Nicholas Kinar (BSc’05, MSc’07, PhD’14) 

David Parkinson

“David Parkinson (English Dept.): Mr. Parkinson (David) inspired me to enjoy reading and showed me that there were innovative teachers that understood how to get students to appreciate English education. We were free to think openly and were safe to express ourselves without "punishment" or negativity. But mostly David inspired me to enjoy reading books, something that I was negative about from earlier school experiences. I think of David's lifelong gift to me with every new book I open!” 

Wayne Matkoski (BSPE’88) 

Professors Stillborn, Fender, Fulton and Van Vleit

“Probably Professor Stillborn made the biggest impact on my direction in life. His parting words on Grad Day were "we have opened your eyes on where to look for answers". Professors Fender and Fulton gave me tools to stand up and take my place in the community and not shake in my boots while making myself heard. Probably Professor Van Vleit taught me there may be more than one way in life to make a living. The old vet in animal science lab (I've forgotten his name) gave me knowledge to take care of many of my animal health situations. The School of Agriculture with its well-rounded field of instructors made our lives very livable."

Allen Midgley (Agric’65)

Dr. Sean Maw

He gave me my first career experience in the sports engineering world as a student research assistant working on curling rock dynamics, and later recommended me for my first job after graduating as a contract researcher for Lululemon. He was also my design professor when a few of my classmates and I came up with an idea for a barefoot footwear product (just launched as the BareWear Binding) that allows for the use of custom foot supports during typically barefoot exercise. On top of this, Dr. Maw has been a mentor to me, giving encouragement, guidance and honest feedback when needed, which has kept me on a career and life trajectory I could only dream of before knocking on his office door. I am extremely grateful for the impact Dr. Maw has had on my life. 

Gillian Pinder (BE’17)  

Dr. Farouk Saleh and Dr. Tansu Barker

“If you were a Marketing major in the mid to late 80s, as I was, you really cannot have escaped the dynamic but somewhat contrasting personas of Dr. Farouk Saleh and Dr. Tansu Barker. 

Professor Saleh’s soft and warm side probably surprised those of us who first heard his voice boom across the lecture theatre in the Arts Building during Intro to Marketing with no need of a microphone. Yet the special hints that came with his beaming smile and his signature, “What that means is…” taught us clearly what we should be sure to remember and focus on. 

Professor Barker’s voice boomed too… but in much smaller rooms and most often with the heavy-handed tough love approach that really just masked that he expected more of us – like the time he sent home the whole Marketing Research class after it was clear we hadn’t done the chapter pre-reading. Behind the stern visage, he had a sense of humour too, and any Accounting and Finance majors at that time can finally be let in on the inside joke of why all of us Marketing types were asking them to go over our surveys back then … because Prof. Barker had reminded us before making 100s of copies (pre Survey Monkey and digital Google Forms days!) to “Ask your three dumbest friends to check it!” Now as a volunteer editor, reviewer, and proofreader recalling that little anecdote always puts a smile on my face. The support extending beyond the classroom from both of these professors provided some of the most significant learning experiences and pivotal boosts of confidence for me.

Because of professors Saleh and Barker, I can really offer a most heartfelt “arigatou gozaimashita!” 

Gregory Rouault (BComm’94) 

Dr. Keith Crocker (BA’46, MED’46)

“Dr. Keith Crocker was a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, College of Medicine and University Hospital, Saskatoon through the 1970s/80s. He was a true mentor to many students and residents, and I was certainly one of them whose career was shaped by his example and advice. He cared for his patients and his students with enthusiasm, but even more so, he cared about them. He was a man of many accomplishments, particularly his work outside of Canada as he practiced his craft in helping Third World locations including Nigeria, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Indigenous Reservation in Arizona, women’s correctional institution in Kentucky, and volunteer for the underprivileged in South Carolina.  His hobbies were as diverse as his medical practice, including running Hawaii marathon, swimming daily at his cottage, and cross-country skiing with his beloved dogs, – all this despite not being blessed with their athletic build. Finally, his humility and abilities to let his family and his students mature and take responsibility made him a remarkable mentor. We still miss him.” 

Dr. Charles Simpson (MD’71) 

Prof. Dr. Janet Hill

“Professor Dr. Janet Hill, Department Head, Veterinary Microbiology. She was my PhD advisor. I would not have been a scientist today if not for her extraordinary mentoring. As an international student, it’s never easy to get accustomed to a new culture. However, she never made me feel that I was in a new environment. She not only taught me how to do science, but she also helped me navigate through the challenges of academia. She would provide detailed feedback on my writings, would poke my brain to think scientifically, and would encourage me to communicate my thoughts loudly and clearly. She is so passionate about teaching science that even though she always has tons to do on her plate, she would smilingly answer any question. Her love for science and teaching inspired me to remain in academia. She calls the scheduled meeting with her students “quality time”. As the name sounds, it is quality time indeed! I not only discussed science, but she allowed me to share my personal experiences with her so that she could help. I am currently a postdoc at McMaster. She helped me with suggestions and guidance in finding an appropriate postdoctoral position. As her student, I would love to see her contribution to shaping her students' careers in a magazine.” 

Dr. Salah Uddin Khan (PhD’21) 

Prof. Jack Coggins (BA’72, MA’74, BEd’83, PhD)

“Prof. Jack Coggins was my incredible 1st year history teacher, who taught classes not only in Saskatoon but made the weekly drive to Yorkton to teach classes through the Parkland Regional College where I was attending. When I first entered university in 2003, I'd planned to go on to Regina for journalism but taking Jack's classes in European history and experiencing his passion and energy for the course material made me completely fall in love with the History program and change course to go on to Saskatoon to continue taking history classes with him. We had many passionate conversations around the course material as well life advice, juggling work, living alone for the first time - he truly was a mentor that fostered my lifetime love of learning.  Moving to Saskatoon and completing my history degree, I went on to meet my (now) husband and build my life here while continuing with subsequent university programs and I can't thank him enough for being so genuinely interesting, passionate and kind. Definitely a solid gold soul.” 

Rebecca Taylor (BA’08, CertBusAdm’12)