Distinguished Alumni Award
The STM Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded annually each November to each a female and a male graduate of St. Thomas More College whose lifetime accomplishments and achievements have been outstanding, who have made a significant contribution to their community, and who have continued to celebrate their relationship with St. Thomas More College since their graduation.
Distinguished Alumna 2015
Sister Irene Poelzer
Sister Irene Poelzer, raised on a family farm in the Humboldt area, was the oldest of 12 children. She arrived on the University of Saskatchewan campus in 1947. After graduating from St. Thomas More College (STM), she received her BEd in 1964. She then went on to complete her MA through the College of Education in 1969; her thesis entitled, “Henry Carr C.S.B., 1880-1963 Canadian Educator”. From Saskatoon, her academic pursuits took her to the University of Oregon to pursue a PhD.
The majority of Sister Irene’s career was served as a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Education. For her incredible work in Women and Gender studies, she is considered by many as a pioneer in the field of feminist scholarship in Western Canada. Along the way, she and her good friend Margaret Dutli, also co-founded “Friends of Sophia”, an interdenominational group of women dedicated to nurturing Christian feminist spirituality.
Over the years, Sister Irene’s commitment to STM College has remained strong. She was involved in the very first STM Newman Alumni Association (STMNAA) during the late '70s. She took a strong leadership role in the STM “For all Seasons Campaign” and has also supported the College through personal donation. In 1991, she travelled to Alberta with her dear friend Dr. John Thompson, (then president of STM College), to gain support for the campaign from STM Alumni living in Edmonton and Calgary.
Dr. Thompson has provided comments on his many fond memories of their time together, and his great admiration of Sister Irene’s career accomplishments, life’s intention, and character: “Irene always had something worthwhile to say. She called you on things you said. As I met students Irene taught, they told me how Irene evoked life in them. Irene’s presence, laughter, straight look, and hard questions had a way of waking us all up. She was proudly, gratefully Father Henry Carr’s student and friend. Fr. Carr was the person, she said, who taught her to think, really think. In Irenaeus’ words, Irene is “the human person [who] is the glory of God fully alive.”
In 1992 Sister Irene wrote about the research she had done in the 1960s on Father Carr and Federation. The article, “Fr. Henry Carr and the Federated Model for Catholic Higher Education in Canada”, for the first time revealed a highly intriguing image of STM that she had privately nurtured for over 40 years. The picture of STM as a prairie bush creates a powerful metaphor. Sister Irene noted, “I realized that like a prairie bush which started from seed, spreading its roots below ground and its branches above, St. Thomas More College had flourished”.
During the research on her thesis in the '60s, Father Carr had compared his concept of education to the extraordinary experience of Moses being drawn to a fire in a bush, while tending flock in the wilderness. It was a typical day working as a shepherd, and he was intrigued by something out of the ordinary. It was an ordinary burning bush that was blazing but not burning up. He was in wonder and awe at the extraordinary site. God called to him from the bush and it changed his life.
Upon re-reading her thesis for the 1992 article, Sister Irene came to realize that her metaphor was incredibly accurate. She considers STM, as an academic “bush”, clustered among other bushes, making up the university, “…doing what it is supposed to do, educating with excellence, is called to be the ordinary vehicle for the extraordinary vision of its students….the ‘burning bush’ of post-secondary education within the University of Saskatchewan. This is the heart of Federation.”
Few Alumnae are as distinguished as Sister Irene. As a faculty member, and leader on the University of Saskatchewan campus, she has commanded great influence, and her support and commitment to the College remains steadfast over many years.
No stranger to STM accolades, Sister Irene received the St. Thomas More Medal in 1994. The award titled after its namesake, recognizes combined qualities of care, integrity and faith with meaningful contributions to the community and public life.
St. Thomas More College proudly recognizes Sister Irene Poelzer with the 2015 Distinguished Alumna Award!
Distinguished Alumnus 2015
Dr. James Dosman
Dr. Dosman was raised in Anaheim SK. He married Susan McKay Dosman, and is the father of 5 children.
He attended St. Peter’s College, and began his relationship with STM College in 1957. He promptly became actively involved in the College and was elected President of the STM student body in 1958.
He was admitted into the U of S College of Medicine in the fall of 1959, and graduated with his MD in 1963. He completed his internship at St. Paul’s Hospital and then established a very successful family practice in Saskatoon.
Dr. Dosman’s interest in Medicine then took him to McGill University where he completed his residency in Internal Medicine, as well as Respiratory Medicine. Returning to Saskatoon in 1975, he became the founding Head of the Division of Respiratory Medicine, College of Medicine, at University of Saskatchewan.
He developed a special interest in the health of those employed in the agricultural sector, which lead him to become the founding Director of the Centre for Agricultural Medicine, at the University of Saskatchewan, in 1986.
From there his keen interest and expertise in Agricultural Medicine resulted in many appointments at the University of Saskatchewan including: Director of the Institute of Agricultural Rural and Environmental Health, Acting Head, Department of Medicine, and Director of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture
Currently he holds a Distinguished Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2008, he became the President and CEO of Agrivita Canada Inc. He founded this not-for-profit company which promotes research, public health, and safety in the field of agriculture.
Dr. Dosman, a devoted, accomplished and world-renowned pioneer in Agricultural Medicine, is widely considered to be the “Father of Agricultural Medicine”. Over the course of his distinguished career in Saskatchewan he has received over $18 million in research grants, as well as $5 million in private sector funding. As a result of his expertise, he has been called upon to spearhead many international symposia helping to define the scope of agriculture and rural public health around the globe.
His many degrees include Officer of the Order of Canada, as well as Saskatchewan Order of Merit. A life-long learner, Dr. Dosman also earned a Master of Arts degree in Political Economy. Most recently his interests lean toward sleep medicine and he has passed American Board Certification exams in this field.
His contribution to our community through his commitment to: respiratory medicine, research, public health of rural populations, agricultural and rural environmental exposures, community development, and mentorship has had a profound impact within Saskatchewan and around the world. For this we proudly recognize Dr. Jim Dosman as our 2015 Distinguished Alumnus.
Distinguished Alumna 2014
Born in Winnipeg, Margaret Frances Sanche (née Shannon) grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and married there, moving with her husband Robert and their children to Regina, Saskatchewan and, following Robert’s doctoral studies in Illinois, moved with her family to Saskatoon where Robert served as a professor in the College of Education at the U of S from 1972 to 2000.
Margaret Sanche completed a BA Honours (English and History) in 1981 and an MA (History) in 1989 at the University of Saskatchewan. She returned to St. Thomas More College in 1990, in a professional role, serving as archivist/historian of the College until 2010.
There is no doubt Margaret Sanche knows this College. Her published works related to STM include: Heartwood: A History of St. Thomas More College and Newman Centre at the University of Saskatchewan (1986), her Master’s thesis, "Tree of Eden, Tower of Babel: The Controversy Over the Establishment of St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan 1913-1936,” other articles and talks on the history of STM, and work on the Anglin Collection of Canadian Catholic History, a special collection of the College’s Shannon Library.
Margaret’s positive role in ensuring documentation of the legacy of this College and the Roman Catholic diocese is reflective of her commitment to the work of St. Thomas More College and her ongoing interest in Catholic higher education and Canadian Catholic history.
Over the years, Margaret has held several positions on the Canadian Catholic Historical Association Executive, contributed to the annual journal CCHA Historical Studies, is an active member of Holy Spirit Parish in Saskatoon, was a founding member of L’Arche Saskatoon and, since 1993, has served on the Brazil Mission Awareness Committee of the Diocese of Saskatoon. In 2013 she authored, with photographer Daniel Classen, Building the Church, Living the Gospel: The Cathedrals and Parish Churches of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
At present, Margaret serves as archivist/historian of both the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (St. Mary’s Province). She and her husband Robert have four grown children – all of whom were STM students -- and twelve grandchildren.
Thank you Margaret for all these accomplishments, which not only celebrate and advance the spirit of STM, but also ensure that our legacy and that of the Catholic community will be shared for years to come.
Distinguished Alumnus 2014
Honourable Otto Lang
BA (1951 ) LLB ( 1953) B.C.L. (1955)
Born in Handel, SK, the Hon. Otto Lang was raised and educated in the Humboldt area. After graduation he enrolled in Arts and Sciences at the U of S – and began his relationship with St. Thomas More College and the Newman Club. Otto went on to earn his B.A. with Distinction (1951) and LL.B. with great Distinction (1953) from the University of Saskatchewan, before attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1953. There he completed his Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) in 1955. A life-long learner, he later attended the University of Manitoba where he received his degree of Doctor of Laws in 1987. In 2013, the University of Saskatchewan also presented Otto Lang with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Best known for his role representing Saskatchewan in the Canadian political arena, Otto Lang first served as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Saskatoon-Humboldt from 1968 to 1979. He was a productive cabinet minister, serving in numerous portfolios and introducing many pieces of important legislation. As a member of cabinet, he served as Acting Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Minister of Manpower and Immigration, Minister of Justice, Minister of Transport, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board. He was named Queen’s Counsel in 1972.
In 1979, Otto Lang redirected his energies and skills to the business world. He was appointed Executive Vice-President of Pioneer Grain Company, Ltd., and has served on the Board of a number of other companies and industry organizations.
Otto Lang has also been busy serving his community. He was Campaign Chairman for the United Way of Winnipeg and served as a Member of the Board of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. He has also shared his talents and wisdom with a number of other organizations.
After a busy career in law and politics, the Hon. Otto Lang officially retired in 2008.
Lang is married to Madame Justice Deborah McCawley of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba. They currently reside in Manitoba. Lang is the father of seven children.
His life work has reflected his commitment to serving his community and family through public, business, and academic worlds always working towards making Canada a better place to live.
We are proud to have you Otto, as an STM Alumni.
Nominate a deserving STM Alumni today for the 2016 Awards
If you know of a special STM Alumni you'd like to nominate, please fill out the nomination form.
or contact Karen Massett to have a form mailed to you.
For more information on selection criteria , please review the nomination form or contact Karen Massett, Development Officer at 306.966.8918 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone may nominate an STM alumnus for the award and there is no limit to the number of times a candidate may be nominated. You many not nominate someone for a posthumous award.
Successful recipients will be hosted at the Corporation Dinner in November, where alumni, staff and faculty, friends and colleagues will pay tribute to their achievements and call to the public’s attention the vital role that STM graduates play in the social and economic lives of their communities.
Nomination deadline is June 30 yearly.
Distinguished Alumnus Award 2013
Professor Emeritus William Earle DeCoteau
(BA 1960) Doctor of Medicine (1964)
Dr. Earle DeCoteau’s roots are deep in the province of Saskatchewan with his family first settling here in 1892.
Earle was very involved with STM college as a student and became active with STM’s Newman Club as well. After receiving his BA from STM in 1960, he became a medical student completing the four year medical school program with the U of S College of Medicine. He graduated with an MD in 1964 and spent 6 years studying out of province, but always stayed interested in what was happening at the medical school.
Earle returned to the University of Saskatchewan as a faculty member in the Department of Medicine in 1972 and by 1980 became a full professor. He was head of the Immunology and Rheumatology program from 1974 to 1988. In 1988 he took a study leave to pursue the field of Geriatrics at McMaster University. From 1989 to 2004 he was head of the section of Geriatrics in the College of Medicine.
Dr. DeCoteau has remained active in the Geriatric Program at City Hospital and also runs a huge dementia clinic at Providence Place in Moose Jaw, where he also serves as Medical Director. He is still active in research, focusing on the often under-diagnosed vascular disease of the brain.
Reflecting his concern and commitment to the future, as President of the College of Medicine Alumni Association, Earle DeCoteau was involved with the establishment of the Medical Student Bursary program, while here at STM, Dr. DeCoteau established a student bursary in memory of his late wife Anne Phelan DeCoteau.
Earle has four children , 3 of whom are STM Alumni. His daughter Mary Jo DeCoteau was the recipient of the STM Distinguished Alumae award in 2009.
Congratulations Dr. DeCoteau!
Distinguished Alumna 2013
Geralyn (Geri) Hall (ME 1993)
In 1976 Geri was a St. Thomas More student. Her special talent in art and positive work ethic did not go unnoticed by the Basilian Fathers. Geri was asked to volunteer her time to work with William Kurelek (artist) to assist in painting the murals in our chapel today.
Geri was very involved with STM while a student - she was a member of Newman, STMSU, and STM Choir and even produced a Newman play.
A graduate of St. Ursuline’s Academy in Bruno and then with a BA from STM, Geri went on to complete a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in education. She has served as principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School in Prince Albert and still serves in an administrative role in Catholic education. She is the mother of three children, with two sons having graduated from STM.
Currently Geri is the Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division in Moose Jaw, SK.
Congratulations Geri Hall!
2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award
Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, OMI (STM BA 70)
Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie was born on April 22, 1947 in Delmas, Saskatchewan. He was ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1974. He later became Provincial Superior and Consultor of his religious community and worked in a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, which includes the northern parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In addition, Archbishop Lavoie served as a member of the Episcopal Commission for the Evangelization of Peoples of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. On July 11, 2005, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Keewatin – Le Pas and then succeeded Most Reverend Peter Sutton, O.M.I., as Archbishop on March 25, 2006. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation from this ministry.
In 2009, Archbishop Sylvain published Drumming from Within, a collection of stories and reflections upon his many years of ministry in the north. According to the CCCB Publications web-site:This collection of Lavoie's memories will inspire both smiles and tears. Some reveal faith meeting life in heartwarming and humourous situations. Others deal with the trauma of substance abuse, family violence, poverty, and hardship. Here Lavoie shows how faith and the human spirit can overcome even the most tragic circumstances. Still others are gentle slices of life among God's "salt of the earth," as the author stickhandles the vagaries of Church and village life in the north. (www.cccbpublications.ca)
2012 Distinguished Alumna
Dr. Teresita Rose-Marie Kambeitz, OSU (STM BA 69), PhD
Sr. Teresita Rose-Marie Kambeitz, OSU, BA'69, BEd'69, MEd'86 (TOR), PhD'88 (TOR), is a member of the Ursulines of St. Angela’s Convent (Prelate) and currently lives in Saskatoon. Herself a graduate of St. Angela’s Academy in Prelate, Sr. Teresita continued her studies at Saskatoon Teacher’s College, St. Thomas More College (BA in Eng/History), University of Saskatchewan (B.Ed.), St. Paul University; St. Michael’s University College (MRE) and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (M.Ed. and Ph.D). Her doctoral studies included a thesis entitled: “Critical Consciousness in Religious Education: A Catholic Perspective.”
Sr. Teresita’s professional life found her teaching elementary and high school across Saskatchewan. Perhaps she is best known in Saskatoon for her time teaching at Holy Cross High School. At the post-secondary level, she has been most involved as faculty at Newman Theological College in Edmonton. She continues her affiliation with Newman today as the director and instructor for the Graduate Diploma in Religious Education (GDRE) program for Newman’s Saskatoon Campus. She also serves here at St. Thomas More College as a sessional lecturer in the area of Catholic Studies and does retreat work at Queen's House of Retreats. Combining scripture, contemporary experience, fine arts and humour, she gives talks and parish missions across the prairies. She has taught summer courses for teachers in the British Virgin Islands, Barbados, Latvia and South Africa. She has a profound love of the arts and continually gifts the STM community with her musical talent and leadership.
Past Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award:
Distinguished Alumni Awards
"The STM Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded annually to a female and a male graduate of St. Thomas More College whose lifetime accomplishments and achievements have been outstanding, who have made a significant contribution to their community, and who have continued to celebrate their relationship with St. Thomas More College since their graduation.
1992 – J. Frank Roy & Mary Louis Long (d. June 30, 2000)
1993 – Alphonse Gerwing (d. Nov. 9, 2007) & Marikay Falby
1994 – Bernard (d. Jan. 2, 2009) & Mae Daly
1995 – Grant & Vivian Maxwell
1996 – Ted & Danielle Fortosky
1997 – Margaret Mahoney & Herman Rolfes
1998 – Kevin & Dorothy Murphy (presented posthumously)
1999 – Kenneth Schmitz & Margaret Dutli
2000 – no records yet found
2001 – Dr. Tom Molloy and Mildred Kerr
2002 – Dr. Michael Krochak & Betty Farrell
2003 – Henry Kloppenburg & Kay Feehan
2004 – Joseph Bellefleur & Lois Brockman
2005 – Dr. Walter Podiluk & Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald
2006 – Peter Zakreski & Elaine Shein
2007 – No recognition
2008 – Bill Zerebesky & Sr. Kay MacDonald, NDS
2009 – Dr. Douglas A. Schmeiser & MJ DeCoteau
2010 – Art Battiste & Barbara Berscheid
2011 – Dr. Mary Jo Leddy & Justice Peter Dielschneider
2013 - Dr. W (Earle) DeCoteau & Geralyn (Geri) Hall
2014 - Honourable Otto Lang & Margaret Sanche
2015 - Dr. James Dosman & Sr. Irene Poelzer