St. Thomas More College has been around since 1936, offering its students a well-rounded liberal arts education with a focus on personal growth, leadership and the Catholic intellectual tradition. The college was founded to provide opportunities for students to grow intellectually as well as spiritually, and we have been turning out the future leaders in our community who are committed to social justice and the common good.
We are rightfully proud of our alumni.
We can't tell the story of every STM graduate, and we realize many are living rich, meaningful lives and making contributions for which they will never receive public recognition, but we invite you to learn the stories of some of our notable alumni!
The STM Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded annually to individuals whose life and commitment reflect the values and benefits of the education they received while interacting with the College. They exemplify Saint John Henry Newman’s motto as people whose “heart speaks to heart.” Up to four awards will be presented annually.
Characteristics of a nominee:
- makes a significant contribution to their community
- continues to celebrate their relationship with St. Thomas More College life resonates with the mission of the College
- courageously applies their gifts for the good of humanity
You can submit an STM Alum for consideration today.
Distinguished Alumna 2022
Louise Hudec Tessier was born in 1959 in Leader, Saskatchewan. A multidisciplinary artist, she initially studied accounting and then pursued a career in education, receiving a Bachelor of Education (Art and Music) from the University of Saskatchewan in 1982. She taught elementary school in Saskatoon and later moved to Regina.
A tile-making workshop in 1998 launched Louise into the world of clay. In her home studio, she creates ceramic art tiles using the processes of graphic design, linoleum stamp carving and printmaking. Louise’s designs, inspired by nature and the written word, evoke her Slovakian heritage with its folk-art tradition.
Inspired by music, poetry, gardens, her faith and travel, Louise is attracted to art in many forms. During a six-year sabbatical, Louise illustrated a book, created two large art pieces, and curated a touring group exhibition based on the life of Jesus (Moved by the Spirit). She has also expanded her artistic repertoire to include rug hooking, writing religious icons and, most recently, printmaking creating a work entitled, The Second Eve (Caligari Project Print Exchange & Exhibition, Saskatchewan Printmakers’ Association).
In 2013, Tessier published The Garden Way of the Cross (Novalis), using the text of Fr. Thomas A. Stanley’s 1993 work of the same title and illustrating the Stations of the Cross with her own botanical prints. Those prints were also rendered in clay and displayed in the St. Thomas More Art Gallery as part of the Moved by the Spirit exhibition. This set of fifteen framed tiles is now permanently installed in the College, thanks to the artist’s generosity and ongoing support of STM.
Tessier's work has been exhibited in galleries in various locations in the USA, Canada and particularly in Saskatchewan. In 2005, she won the Award for Excellence in Functional & Production Ware for the Saskatchewan Craft Council's Dimensions exhibition.
During her 23-year ceramics career, Tessier has been involved with several arts organizations, including the Saskatchewan Craft Council, the Alberta Craft Council, the Sundog Arts Society, Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) and the Canadian Society of Decorative Arts.
Louise Tessier lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she works from her home studio. She continues her art studies through workshops in a number of media and has found much spiritual fulfillment through participating in iconography workshops in Ohio taught by instructors from the Prosopon School of Iconology.
A complete listing of works and awards can be found at: www.louisetessier.com
Quote: “I graduated from the College of Education, taking as many classes as I could from STM and singing each Sunday with the STM choir all during my university years. I made friends in the STM choir that I still count as good friends today…being part of STM is a memorable part of my life on many levels.”
Distinguished Alumnus 2022
Dr. Thomas Deutscher (posthumous)
Dr. Thomas Brian Deutscher was born in Regina in 1949, spending his childhood there and in Saskatoon before moving to Humboldt, SK, with his family. He attended high school at St. Peter’s College in Muenster, where he was taught by the Benedictine monks. This began his life-long commitment to Catholic education. He completed his BA in History in 1969, having served as the President of the St. Thomas More Students’ Association that year. He went on to receive his MA in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 1971. In that same year, he and Marci married and moved to Toronto and later to Italy to pursue his PhD.
In 1977, he was hired as a sessional lecturer by St. Thomas More College (STM) to teach history, becoming an Assistant Professor in History the following year. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1990. During the course of his career, he took on the role of STMFU president twice in 1982-83 and again from 1996-1999. He was named Dean of STM in 1985, serving in that office for six years. He was also acting president of the College for a time. As a Catholic Church historian, Tom was committed to teaching and research; he completed many publications on the Catholic Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, and considered his book, Punishment and Penance (2013), to be the culmination of his life's work. Tom was the model of a Catholic scholar, demonstrating a faith seeking understanding and recognizing in all people their inherent human dignity. He did so with wit and hospitality.
He and Marci are dedicated to their family and community service. Together, they raised six children: Michael, Matthew, Tom Jr., Ben, Patrick, and Mary. As stated in his obituary, Tom was deeply involved as a parent, “taking time to coach baseball/fastball, chaperone swimming, lead cub-scout packs as Akela, listen to piano practice, watch action movies, provide research assistance, and devise overly complex plans for routine events that involved the entire family and multiple vehicles. Tom also served as the president of Alliance for Life and was a proud member of the Knights of Columbus degree team. Tom loved to cook and eat a good meal to go along with his excellent homemade wine. He was gentle, patient, honest and compassionate, and always had another witticism prepared for even life's most stressful moments. He was a loyal friend, and bravely fought to stay with his family for as long as he possibly could. His Catholic faith provided him with a true North that continues to serve as a guide for his friends and family.”
His life-long dedication to the Expos and the Riders is also worth mentioning, if only as one more example of loyal service to a cause!
Tom passed away on June 7, 2017, having made a lasting impact on us all.
Quote from Michael Deutscher (son): “When we think of Dad, it's hard not to think of STM.”
Distinguished Alumna 2021
Rita Gillies has been blessed with a happy disposition, a love of learning, and an adventurous spirit.
Born in Saskatoon to a French-Catholic mother and a Scot-Irish non-practising Protestant father, both French and religion were downplayed in the home. Nevertheless, at age 10, Rita was sent to Prud’homme to learn French. The problem there was that everyone wanted to speak English. Her resultant vocabulary came from prayers and reprimands.
As to religion, the air was saturated with a religious atmosphere. Sports and fair play were like a quasi-religion for her father, a natural-born athlete. With him as their speed skating coach, Rita and her brother were champions in their elementary years.
School was always a joy for Rita. Early schooling was with only other girls, and with nuns as teachers. Her horizons broadened when she came to co-ed STM with priests as professors. On the University of Saskatchewan campus she earned a BA, a BEd, and an MTS (Master of Theological Studies) through the Lutheran Seminary, due to its proximity.
Her path to STM was due to good fortune.
“A $100 STM bursary saved me from Teachers College, favoured by my cautious Dad, and aided my dream of the glamorous life at university,” Gillies said. “When I was in high school my family moved from Saskatoon to North Battleford. So, with a return to Saskatoon, I was on my own to live life on my own terms. STM truly became my ‘home away from home’ — daily Mass with free toast, jam and coffee, endless free coffee all day, Ulcers (co-op lunch), library, ping-pong, cameraderie, — all this and more till evening curfew. With graduation in 1955 I was hired as a social worker thanks to the background in liberal arts that STM provided. I went out to the wide world with anticipation, confidence, joy and gratitude to STM.
Gillies became a social worker for Weyburn and District, where she learned to drive, experiencing rural Saskatchewan’s four seasons, and hitting the ditch in snow and mud. Later she became a nurse through Kelsey Campus (now Saskatchewan Polytechnic).
However, like the Hound of Heaven, thoughts of religious life became overpowering. She gave in and became Sister Marie Camilla of Sion.
From 1960-1965 she taught French and Religion at Sion Academy and, in 1965, thanks to her French, was sent for a three-year assignment to the Sion Convent, Ecce Homo, in the Old City of Jerusalem.
At that time Jerusalem was a divided city: West under Israel and East under Jordan.
The Old City was located in the Arab world. Two years later, after months of tension, the 1967 “Six-Day War” broke out. Israel won, frontiers changed, and all Jerusalem came under Israeli control.
“The ramifications are momentous,” she said.
In 1968, Rita was sent to Montreal to help Sion’s efforts to found a Catholic Centre for Jewish Studies. While there, she studied Library Science at McGill University, left the congregation, and returned to Jerusalem as a librarian in the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies.
She studied Hebrew and began studies in the Guide School. One month into the course, the 1973 Yom Kippur War broke out. Some classmates were called up to serve in the military and remained on front lines for the rest of the year.
Gillies says the years of guiding tourists that followed were pure joy. However, in 1985 she returned to Saskatoon to give company to her widowed mother. Fr. Bernard de Margerie took her on staff at the Centre for Ecumenism to give life to the Vatican Document ‘Nostra Aetate” for interfaith relations.
She helped found Multi-Faith Saskatoon, and became a guide for schools to visit the multi-faith world of Saskatoon. Travel became a passion: her backpacking adventures became PowerPoint presentations at Public Libraries.
Today Rita is involved with refugees and immigrants. One of the newcomers had been a security guard in Baghdad, Iraq. To help him get licensed here, she took the course alongside him. The result: she also works as a security guard to this day.
Distinguished Alumnus 2021
Fr. Emile April
Fr. Emile April was born the third of four children to the April family of Peesane -- a hamlet on the road from Tisdale to Hudson Bay -- in northwest central Saskatchewan.
He moved with his family to Zenon Park, where he lived for nine years, and then to Saskatoon, where he attended St. Paul’s High School. Following Grade 12, he enrolled in St. Pius X Seminary and in 1964, he became an alumnus of St. Thomas More College, graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy.
“During the years at STM, I lived at St. Pius X Seminary, where, by rule, the seminarians were to have a very limited social connection with STM. So, my connection was during class time,” Fr. April said. “We seminarians had some very good teachers and counsellors in the Basilian priests -- mostly for philosophy but also political science and sociology. We also made lifelong friends with some STM students. Both the priests and the students made us feel very welcome and part of the Catholic presence on campus.”
Following graduate study in theology in Ottawa, Fr. April was ordained.
Between 1967 and 1972, he served in parishes in Saskatoon and Vonda and taught at Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon.
In 1973, Fr. April left Saskatchewan for Rio de Janeiro to learn Portuguese for his work in the mission of União dos Palmares in Brazil, where he was to spend the next 26 years serving the one city, five towns and 50 rural communities in the mission. Fr. April worked in the formation of Christian communities, evangelization, and baptism preparation, as well as part of a team to help small farmers. In 1989, massive floods swept through rural Brazil, causing destruction in 112 cities, leaving more than 300,000 homeless, and damaging or destroying nearly 7,000 homes. In addition to his pastoral duties, Fr. April spent most of the following three years as part of a team building houses for families who had lost theirs.
In 2001, Fr. April returned to Saskatoon to work as a parish priest in urban and rural parishes for the next 20 years, retiring in August of 2017 at age 75.
Thinking of Christ’s service to the people of God and the application of the STM ideals for the good of humanity, Fr. April is truly a distinguished alumnus of STM.
Distinguished Alumna 2020
by Art Battiste
Mary M. Donlevy-Konkin, Q.C., convocated in 1982, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree. This was followed by a Bachelor of Law in 1985. Mary has faithfully served St. Thomas More College in numerous roles, generously providing her valuable perspective on STM Corporation from 2002-2007 as a member at large; as a representative on Corporation from 2014 to the present, and on the Standing Committee for the Appointment of the President since 2014. From January 2005 to December 2007 Mary served on the STM Board of Governors and on the Negotiating Committee from 2005-2007 and then the Organization and Membership Committee in 2007.
Mary is Senior Counsel in the Saskatoon office of McKercher LLP with experience in estate administration as well as navigating areas of public advocacy and government relations. She returned to McKercher LLP after serving for more than seven years in the Government of Saskatchewan. She was honored with a Queen’s Counsel appointment in 2014.
In her past roles with the provincial government, she served as the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration, Minister of Labour, Minister responsible for SaskPower, Innovation Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation, Saskatchewan Research Council and the Status of Women Office. Mary also served as the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and the Minister responsible for SaskBuilds, Priority Saskatchewan and the Financial Consumer Affairs Authority. Her experience in government includes initiatives such as the development of the provincial Immigration strategy, the Global Food Institute, the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, establishment of Innovation Saskatchewan, construction of the Transition Shelter in Melfort, creation of the Office of Counsel for Children, changes to the Human Rights Code regarding transgender persons, and Kate’s Place, a supportive residence for women who are attending Regina Drug Treatment Court. Mary also assisted with the negotiations for Saskatchewan’s participation in the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System.
Building on her broad government experience, Mary provides her clients with assistance by advising them through public policy and regulatory design processes at different levels of government.
Mary provides leadership to an initiative at McKercher LLP aimed at entrepreneurs in our province, and which benefits women entrepreneurs, in particular. She is a founding member of Seeds for Dreams, an initiative that offers women-led businesses early stage financial support. Her personal experience as a member of a family of entrepreneurs provides guidance to a focused group of lawyers dedicated to assisting start-ups with some of the challenges they face.
Currently, Mary sits as vice-chair of Emmanuel Health, as a board member of Emmanuel Care (Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan) former vice-chair of the United Way of Saskatoon and as Director of Protein Industries Canada one of Canada’s 5 Innovation Superclusters. Mary has also served on the boards of Crossroads International and the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation.
Distinguished Alumnus 2020
by Jessie Mann
Richard (Rick) Lucas attended St Thomas More College from 1986 until he convocated in 1989. He was a member of the Newman Club and served as the Newman Social Director. He continued to spend time at STM as a Newman Member, and as an assistant librarian in the Shannon Library until the spring of 1990. Rick met his future wife Yvonne at STM and they have been married for 30 years and have been blessed with three children Francis, Veronica (Roni) and Regena (Regie). The couple are now grandparents and their daughter, Veronica, is currently a proud St. Thomas More College student, following in her parents’ footsteps.
Rick moved to Lloydminster and joined the Lloydminster Catholic School Division in August of 1990 as an educator at Holy Rosary High School. Over the years Rick taught many subjects: History, Social Studies, English, Commercial Cooking and Christian Ethics, just to name a few. He was a part of the Lloydminster Catholic Faith Mentorship program, served as a teacher consultant in the Grade 9-12 Christian Ethics curriculum renewal and led many other Division initiatives. Rick’s top priorities are his family and his faith in God. This love and genuine drive to never stop learning led him to pursue a Master's in Religious Education in 2010. He convocated in 2014, completing the degree while working full time.
Rick spent countless hours with students in a variety of extracurricular activities. He was a teacher advisor/co-advisor for the Student Leadership Council and led the HRHS Key Club with passion. The Key Club is a social justice group that in recent years raised over $30,000 for the Our Village Uganda program in Africa, built and planted a community garden at Onion Lake Mission and often hosted a Senior’s Gala event in Lloydminster around Christmas. He could be found leading a kitchen crew to make a Christmas meal for hundreds and you could always pick his voice out of the choir at masses and prayer services. During Easter, Rick could often be found leading student groups through Europe and Asia, broadening student perspectives and showing them the wonders of our world.
It is safe to say that being at STM deeply impacted the course of Rick’s life. While Rick is now an officially retired teacher, he continues to live his passion on all he has worked toward over the last 30-plus years and we wish him all the best as a new chapter begins with his ordination to the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Prince Albert . Congratulations Rick.
Distinguished Alumna 2019
by Art Battiste
As a candidate for the 2019 STM Distinguished Alumna award, Ms. Duggleby met all the requirements while additionally it should be noted that she was also perhaps the youngest recipient in the award’s history. Jennifer Faye Duggleby is a woman who not only maintains an outstanding career as a teacher, actor, singer and committed Christian, but who also serves as a role model and an inspiration to her fellow alumni, to women who are now students at STM and the University of Saskatchewan, and to the Saskatoon community at large. Jennifer completed her university education in 2001 with a BSc in biology and a BEd. During her six years on campus, she spent much of her time at STM and she notes that it was here that she learned the true meaning and value of community. As a teacher at St. Joseph’s High School, Holy Cross High School, and Bishop James Mahoney High School, Jennifer excels in teaching Biology, Chemistry, Health Science, and Environmental Science. Truly committed to the benefits of Catholic intellectual tradition, Jennifer continues to bring her Grade 12 students to STM for an annual retreat and learning experience. In addition to teaching, Jennifer Duggleby is a stage star. She has been on stage for more than 30 years, co-directed two major stage productions, and choreographed and directed the musical, Godspell. A talented pianist, Jennifer has been very active in the life of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, especially in the music ministry. She and her husband have two children and considering Jennifer’s talents, it is not surprising that they too are especially talented both musically and academically.
Distinguished Alumnus 2019
by Madeleine Blais-Dahlem
Over the course of his 60-year career, Roger Trottier has been, a high school teacher, a curriculum developer, a college professor, a program administrator, a school consultant, a video producer, an illustrator, a long distance education specialist, a community arts teacher, and always, and throughout, an artist. As a teacher Roger leads students into a discovery of themselves, all the while instilling in them a belief in their own worth and potential. His lifelong friend, Photographer John Perret, who started out as a student of his at E. D. Feehan High School, describes Roger as a facilitator as his generous personality helps people find a direction and purpose. When talking to Roger nothing is beyond reach; his influence and contributions have gone beyond what a single person could do in the classroom because he was a curriculum developer and teacher trainer. For close to 20 years, he was the heart of the U of S - Indian Teacher Education Program which included the ITEP Distance Education program. The drive to create systems and programs so that First Nations students could get an education and become teachers in their own communities was a constant in Roger’s professional life. His expertise led to him being offered contracts in Alaska for project Sivunmun, the Alaska Native Education Program, where his responsibilities included designing the programme, coordinating stories from Elders, and then saving and integrating that cultural richness into curricular material, including illustrated books. Roger is also a talented artist and has been a painter for his entire adult life. It was always an element in his teaching and professional contracts, and his connection to and rendition of the natural world. In 2007, his painting career took a mighty leap forward when he joined a trio of friends and his son Roger, to become “Men Who Paint”. As a group of five, they are recording and recreating the rugged physical beauty of Canada. Included within that multifaceted vision, there is a consciousness of the presence of the First Nations and of their history. Everywhere and always, Roger has been fully present, fully engaged and his gifts continue to enrich all those whose lives he has touched.
Distinguished Alumna 2018
Rhonda Gough (nee Redl) was born in Wakaw, and lived there until 1964, when she moved to Saskatoon. After graduating from Holy Cross High School, she enrolled at St. Thomas More College in 1971 and went on to earn her B.A. She subsequently earned a B.Ed. and M.Ed. in psychology. Rhonda, along with husband Brent, raised four daughters (Rachel, Gillian, Hillary and Margot) while significantly contributing to the Saskatoon community and St. Thomas More College. Rhonda’s daughters share her values of being autonomous women who are well educated, engaged in service and justice for the community, and supportive of those less fortunate. Like their mother, these women show strong social consciences and willingness to engage in action as they emulate her example. Margot is a re - search officer at the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit; Hilary is the city councilor for Ward 2 for the City of Saskatoon; Gillian is a lawyer at Hnatyshyn Gough in Saskatoon and a lecturer in Law at the University of Saskatchewan and Rachel is a family physician at the Student Health Centre, at the University of Newfoundland. Ms. Gough has held leadership roles with Saskatoon Family Services, as well as the United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society, Saskatchewan Com - munities for Children and Canadian Counseling Association. Her commitment to social issues has immeasurably strengthened the Saskatoon Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Recognized as a person of honesty, candor, intelligence, insight and integrity and initiative, Rhonda Gough holds all of us, including herself, responsible for our individual and collective actions, and recognizes that for all individuals to experience a sense of worth and dignity - whether in education, the workplace, family, or sports and recreation - community is critical. She has matched that conviction with action, through her extensive and consistent engagement in our community as a leader, teacher, speaker, counsellor, volunteer and friend. In 2008, the YWCA of Saskatoon Women of Distinction Awards recognized Rhonda, along with 7 other women who were part of the Women 2000 initiative to call attention to inequities in the way women’s sports were funded at USask. Their actions lead to a settlement through the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. Deserving of the recognition as Distinguished Alumna for 2018, Rhonda Gough demonstrates in an exemplary way the values and actions for which STM stands - educating whole persons – both women and men - for service of others. Rhonda’s integration of roles of wife and mother, professional and leader, volunteer and friend, stand out, and has indeed made a difference.
Distinguished Alumnus 2018
Trevor Herriot has used the skills he developed while earning his undergraduate and honours degrees at STM to their best purpose, achieving success as a writer, naturalist, columnist, blogger, and radio commentator. He is an activist and advocate for the preservation of nature and the honouring of those who have made our prairie home what it is today. As an example, his first book, River in a Dry Land, laments modern society’s “severed union with nature” and recounts Cree and Metis legends span - ning generations along with recent experiences of Russians, Finns, Jews, Scots and English who settled along the Qu’Appelle River valley. Herriot has won numerous literary accolades and he is constantly in the public eye and has greatly influenced public conservation and preserva - tion policy. Trevor describes himself as a prairie naturalist, activist, and writer living on the northern edge of the Great Plains in Regina. His writing has appeared in the Globe & Mail and Canadian Geographic, as well as several anthologies. He has also written two radio documentaries for CBC Ideas and is a regular guest on CBC Radio Saskatchewan’s Blue Sky. River in a Dry Land: A Prairie Passage, won the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for Best FirstTime Author, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award and the Regina Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for English-language non-fiction in 2000 . His second book, Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award in the 2009. The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimage through Nature, Desire, and Soul was nominated for three Saskatchewan Book Awards, and Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds was a Globe & Mail Top 100 book, was listed by Quill and Quire on its 2009 list of 15 books that matter, and shortlisted for the Writer’s Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction, and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (non-fiction). Trevor and his wife, Karen, have four children. He posts regularly on his grassland blog, Grass Notes, at trevorherriot.blogspot.com. Still a prolific advocate for our prairie landscape, Trevor’s sixth book, Islands of Grass, was published in late 2017. It has won two 2018 Saskatche - wan Book Awards. The citation from the judges in its University of Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Award, ecogniz Trevor’s skills social initiative. “Trevor Herriot and Brani - mir Gjetvaj’s collaborative work is not only a lyrical exploration of the beauty of the Saskatchewan grasslands, but also a ridiculously-researched call to action.”
Distinguished Alumna 2017
Raised in Vanscoy, Eloise married her high school sweetheart, Ken Opheim. After both their sons had graduated high school, Eloise decided to further her own education, and she arrived on campus at St. Thomas More College in 1991. Returning to school at the age of 41 presented many challenges, but she soon excelled at her studies. She has many fond memories of her time at STM and especially treasures the support and guidance she received from Father Ron Griffin and Dr. John Thompson.
“In the beginning, I chose STM because it was a smaller college, a more intimate college and because of its support of social justice, caring for one another, and moral leadership.” Following her graduation from STM, Eloise received a scholarship from McGill University to pursue a Masters of Management degree.
Eloise developed a strong conviction for educating parents on the prevention of drug use among teens while raising her sons. Her passion for this important cause remained steadfast while studying at STM; she established a new organization, the “Parents’ Resource Institute for Drug Education”- a national non-profit organization for the prevention of teen drug use, which became known as PRIDE CANADA. PRIDE CANADA became a resource for youth, parents, educators, physicians, counsellors and other concerned citizens, providing them with information on commonly abused drugs, and helping them organize parent-peer groups, parent-school teams, and community action groups. Armed with a powerful message, an experienced board of directors, and honorary patrons such as Mr. Peter Mansbridge, Mr. Roy Romanow, and the Honorable Jean Chrétien (to name a few), PRIDE CANADA soon flourished, and Executive Director Eloise (still a full-time student at STM) travelled the world for “Teen Drug Prevention” speaking engagements. Referring to wide-spread impact of PRIDE CANADA, Eloise remarks, “Over the next 20 years, parents from Halifax to Vancouver to Iqaluit and the NWT, from small towns and big cities, came by the thousands to our annual national ‘Youth and Drug’ conferences, and returned home to start a Parent Movement in their own community.” For her passionate commitment to youth drug prevention, Eloise was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1991. Additionally, she has been honoured with the Saskatoon Citizen of the Year Award, the YWCA’s Woman of the Year Award, Saskatchewan’s Order of Merit Award, and the Queen’s Jubilee Award and she was also featured in Flare Magazine as one of 10 Canadian women who have contributed to making the world a better place! More recently, Eloise co-founded the organization “Drug Free Kids Canada,” a registered charity whose goal is to inspire and support parents to ensure that all young people are able to live their lives free of alcohol or drug abuse.
Reflecting now on her life path, Eloise notes, “I am so grateful to be a graduate of St. Thomas More College, whose faculty helped to equip me with the intellectual and personal tools that I needed for achievement of my future goals, which was to mobilize a parent movement across Canada to prevent drug use among Canadian teens.” One could say that her educational journey came full circle, when many years into her career she was invited back to the College to deliver the convocation address at an STM graduation event. Eloise’s 25 years of dedicated commitment to the prevention of drug use among teens has profoundly impacted our local, national and international communities.The STMNAA proudly recognizes Eloise Opheim as the 2017 St. Thomas More College Distinguished Alumna!
Distinguished Alumnus 2017
Dr. Michael Duggan
Dr. Michael Duggan is Professor of Religious Studies and the Catholic Women’s League Chair for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University in Calgary. He is a native of Calgary and alumnus of St. Thomas More College who has devoted his life to education in the tradition of Vatican II with particular concern for social justice and interfaith dialogue. Dr. Duggan’s academic credentials include a B.A. with a major in Philosophy, magna cum laude from the University of Saskatchewan, a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, magna cum laude, from the Pontifical Gregorian University, a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture, magna cum laude from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and a PhD in biblical studies, with distinction, from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. St. Thomas More College provided a foundation for his education. He arrived here in the fall of 1966, less than a year after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. He had just graduated from St. Mary’s Boys High School, Calgary, which was located across the street from a synagogue. The Hebrew inscriptions on the building and gathering of the community for morning prayers there tweaked his desire to someday learn the language and understand Judaism.
STM introduced him to formal studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences and afforded him the opportunity to process his life experiences in dialogue with the likes of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Here he learned to think critically in a world that was awakening to the great movements on behalf of civil rights, feminism, justice, peace and liberation across the globe. STM prepared him to venture further into that world by moving to Rome, learning the various ancient and modern languages required for biblical studies, and in the process, becoming aware both of how little he understood and also of how rich was the heritage of humanism in the diverse cultures of East and West. Working in a brewery and in a federal prison at this time encouraged his appreciation of the new humanism that was becoming a focus of Catholic social teaching. In successive decades, while teaching and studying full time, he engaged life on the margins by working with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Washington, D.C., Mexico, Cuba and Haiti. He travelled to Sierra Leone to learn from social workers caring for widows in refugee camps and repatriating child soldiers to their villages in Sierra Leone.
At home, he served on the board of Fresh Start, an addiction recovery centre in Calgary. At St. Mary’s University, Dr. Michael Duggan has taught the full range of courses in religious studies including biblical exegesis, Christian theology and world religions. In the field of biblical research, Dr. Duggan specializes in early Judaism and Christian origins, with particular interests in the Jewish roots of Christianity and social justice in the bible. He continues to write and lecture widely on the Second Vatican Council, Catholic Social Teaching and interfaith dialogue in the wake of Nostra Aetate, now with a focus on Pope Francis. Dr. Duggan is known for his commitment to interfaith collaboration both among the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and also dialogue between these and the great traditions of the East, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. He partners with the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews and is an active member of the newly formed Calgary Interfaith Council. He works closely with Rabbi Shaul Osadchey of the Beth Tzedec congregation to provide opportunities for Christians and Jews to study Scripture together. Dr. Duggan is an active member of five learned societies: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, theSociety of Biblical Literature, the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, the Society for the Study of the Old Testament, and the Society for the Study of Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature. Currently, he is an associate editor of the Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook (De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston). From 2007 until 2017, he served as an associate editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. In the Lent term (January to March) of 2017, Dr. Duggan was elected as a Lady Margaret Beaufort visiting scholar at St. John’s College in the University of Cambridge where he furthered his research on Jewish studies of the Persian, Greek and Roman eras. Dr. Michael Duggan is a superb scholar, an exceptional teacher and renowned social justice advocate. His record of outstanding contributions to Catholic higher education in this country and well beyond, and his remarkably diverse contributions to the Catholic community and society are an inspiration; he is a worthy recipient indeed of the St. Thomas More College Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2017.
Distinguished Alumna 2016
Madeleine was born in the Francophone community of Delmas, Saskatchewan. She attended St. Thomas More College where she obtained a B.A. Honors in French Literature in 1968. During her time at STM she actively participated in college life. She received the STM Frosh Award, performed with the Newman Singers, was an Ulcers “Kitchen Queen” and she helped organize both Newman Sunday breakfasts and Sunday night socials. Her peers and friends greatly appreciated her passionate service
to the College.
Madeleine completed a M.A. in French Literature at the University of Saskatchewan in 1971. She began her high school teaching career in 1969 at ED Feehan High School, obtaining a B.Ed. in 1985. Most of her 35-year career was dedicated to French immersion, including program development in Saskatoon’s Catholic high schools.
Madeleine began to prepare for her second career as a playwright in 1991, studying with Maria Campbell and David Carpenter at the University of Saskatchewan. She followed this by three summers at Sage Hill Writing Experience in playwriting.
Madeleine found herself compelled to write in French, her first language, and as such has added to the corpus of minority language literature in Saskatchewan. As a playwright, Madeleine became involved with La Troupe du Jour which produced several of her plays, including La maculée/sTain for which she received the Outstanding Playwright Award from the Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards (SATA) in 2012. Madeleine’s plays have been workshopped from Quebec City to Vancouver and she has won public recognition for her contribution to the arts and Francophone heritage. Her work has been commissioned by the University of Saskatchewan, la Société historique de la Saskatchewan and la Fédération des Ainés Fransaskois. She has served on juries with the Conseil des Arts du Canada, Saskatchewan Arts Board and Conseil culturel Fransaskois. Her various publications, productions, articles for literary journals, and commissioned works have touched the lives of many, including senior citizens, cancer survivors and history buffs.
Actively engaged in her community, she was a longtime Board member with La Troupe du Jour, taking the Presidency in 2009 and spearheading their lobbying and fund raising campaign for the purchase and renovation of their production centre: Studio 914. During her 35 year career teaching secondary school, Madeleine was committed to making French a living language for Immersion students through extra-curricular activities which included the writing of original drama in French with and for her high school drama group and coaching debate at a provincial and national level. As a playwright, her plays explore the extra-ordinary challenges of ordinary people: how to balance hope and faith, how to meet death with grace.
Madeleine is a caring and compassionate person with a passionate commitment to French culture and the French speaking community. She is a community builder and a visionary whose outstanding work has motivated many students to pursue literary interests. For this the STM Alumni Association proudly recognizes Madeleine Blais-Dahlem as the 2016 STM Distinguished Alumna.
Distinguished Alumnus 2016
Dennis was raised in St. Benedict, Saskatchewan, a small farming community near Humboldt. He attended boarding school at St. Peter’s College in Muenster for three years prior to enrolling at the University of Saskatchewan. In the late ‘60s during his pursuit of an Honours degree in English literature he received credit for many of his classes through courses offered at St. Thomas More College. He became actively engaged at STM and served for two years as STM’s representative on the U of S Students’ Representative Council. In 1996 Dennis earned his Master’s degree in journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Over the course of his career Dennis worked as a newspaper reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, and later as a features writer for the Windsor Star. Upon returning to Saskatchewan, he worked in Regina for the CBC and was co-host of CBC
Radio’s morning radio show heard throughout the province.
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 Sister Irene's 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.
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.
2011 – Dr. Mary Jo Leddy & Justice Peter Dielschneider
2010 – Art Battiste & Barbara Berscheid
2009 – Dr. Douglas A. Schmeiser & MJ DeCoteau
2008 – Bill Zerebesky & Sr. Kay MacDonald, NDS
2007 – No recipients
2006 – Peter Zakreski & Elaine Shein
2005 – Dr. Walter Podiluk & Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald
2004 – Joseph Bellefleur & Lois Brockman
2003 – Henry Kloppenburg & Kay Feehan
2002 – Dr. Michael Krochak & Betty Farrell
2001 – Dr. Tom Molloy and Mildred Kerr
2000 – Records incomplete
1999 – Kenneth Schmitz & Margaret Dutli
1998 – Kevin & Dorothy Murphy (presented posthumously)
1997 – Margaret Mahoney & Herman Rolfes
1996 – Ted & Danielle Fortosky
1995 – Grant & Vivian Maxwell
1994 – Bernard Daly & Mae Daly
1993 – Alphonse Gerwing (d. Nov. 9, 2007) & Marikay Falby
1992 – J. Frank Roy & Mary Louis Long (d. June 30, 2000)
The St. Thomas More medal has been established to recognize and honour persons, groups of persons, and organizations which have combined personal qualities of care, integrity and faith with significant contributions to community and public life. The award is named after St. Thomas More whose extraordinary example of faithful virtue and public service remains an inspiration ‘for all seasons.’
2017 Recipient The Prairie Messenger Team
The St. Thomas More Medal has been established to recognize and honour persons, groups of persons, and organizations who combine personal qualities of care, integrity and faith with significant contributions to community and public life. The award is named after St. Thomas More, whose extraordinary example of faithful virtue and public service remains an inspiration to all.
This year, the recipient of the St. Thomas More Medal is The Prairie Messenger. Founded in 1923 by the Benedictine monks of St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, this weekly paper has been one of the key voices for Catholicism on the Canadian prairies for the better part of a century. It has been many things to many people. In its pages, The Prairie Messenger has given equal column inches to the local lives of parishes across the western provinces and to the struggles and victories of a universal church. One of the things that has defined The Prairie Messenger, especially in the last half century, is its constant outward reach. The editors and writers of this paper have rarely been content to simply report on doctrine or theology, but have consistently asked what these things mean in the context of a diverse and rapidly changing world. Confident in the Church’s teachings, The Prairie Messenger has not retreated from secular culture, but instead has sought to engage with and understand it. Perhaps most importantly, The Prairie Messenger has never shied away from calling out the Church’s clay feet: a voice of loyal dissent that loves the sacramental church but is willing to recognize its corporeal flaws. The decision to be a voice in the wilderness has not come without its risks, challenges, and probably mistakes, as well, but as an institution of Catholic Higher Learning, we at St. Thomas More College know that if the pursuit of Truth is not messy, and contentious, and complicated, then it is not brave, and it is not honest. The Prairie Messenger has always been brave.
When the paper closes its doors in May 2018, that brave voice will be quieter across the Prairie Provinces, and the rest of us will have to begin to speak a little louder. As a member of the Catholic community and the STM faculty, as well as a regular columnist for The Prairie Messenger for more than a decade, I am honoured to pay tribute to this paper, and the profound contribution The Prairie Messenger has made to Catholic and community life. Please join me in congratulating editors Abbot Peter Novecosky OSB, Donald Ward, and Maureen Weber, as they receive the St. Thomas More Medal on behalf of The Prairie Messenger.
2016 Recipient Office of the Treaty Commissioner
The Thomas More medal recognizes and honours persons, groups of persons, and organizations which have combined personal qualities of care, integrity and spirituality with significant contributions to community and public life. This year, it is our distinct pleasure to present this medal to the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner, or OTC, was founded by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and the Government of Canada in 1989. Since that time it has been involved in the signing of Treaty land entitlement agreements between 28 First Nations and the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, has been instrumental in adding Treaty education to the Saskatchewan curriculum and has consistently demonstrated us how “we are all Treaty people.” As articulated on their website, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner works to “promote respect and understanding of Treaties and to help support the Treaty parties in maintaining and enhancing the Treaty relationship through dialogue, neutral support, assistance with resolving disputes and commitment to the Treaty principles” (www.otc.ca). Its mission continues to be two-fold: “first, to support the bi-lateral Treaty Table process between the Government of Canada and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and, second, to advocate for and build a strong relationship between First Nations and non First Nations people in Saskatchewan to ensure an effective
response among Saskatchewan citizens to support a shared destiny.”
All this work and all these accomplishments, however, are based on a profoundly spiritual worldview, one that, from my perspective, resonates with the scriptural tradition upon which this College is based. The OTC reminds us that Treaties are Sacred Covenants signed before the Creator. These covenants call us to live in right relationship with each other, with the land and with our Creator. The OTC helps us imagine how to live covenant more faithfully, celebrating our diversity and inviting us into the ongoing process of reconciliation. St. Thomas More College has benefitted greatly from the leadership, work and guidance of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and, in particular, the support of its Executive Director and current acting Treaty Commissioner, Mr. Harry Lafond. Harry is known as a consummate bridge builder between all Treaty peoples. He has supported our work to transform St. Thomas More College into a place where all feel welcome and at home. He, and the OTC as a whole, has helped educate us, build relationships with First Nations Elders and communities, and, all the while, has modeled what respectful relationships built upon mutual dialogue and trust can look like. Most recently, as part of our Advisory Circle, he has helped us create the Chair for Indigenous Spirituality and Reconciliation at STM. Harry and the OTC, as a whole, have spent countless hours working with us but we also know that what the OTC has done to support our work as a College they have also repeated again and again in their work with other groups and organizations across the province. At a recent gathering of journalists reflecting on how they report on Indigenous issues, TRC Indian Residential School Survivor Committee member Eugene Arcand said that ‘reconciliation cannot be delegated’. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner has certainly not delegated the work of reconciliation! It has taken the lead and helped us all imagine how we can together build a stronger community that celebrates the distinct gifts of all peoples and recognizes the covenant that binds us together in this time and place. We, St. Thomas More College, look forward to our continued journey together with the OTC. We are grateful to the OTC for helping us imagine a different future as an institution and for supporting our work to meet the needs of all students who walk through our doors. It is therefore our pleasure and honour to recognize the Office of the Treaty Commissioner by presenting it with the 2016 St. Thomas More Medal.
2015 Recipient Fr. André Poilievré
In 2014 he retired from his role of priest moderator at Sts-Martyrs-Canadiens Parish in Saskatoon.
2014 Recipient Fr. Bernard de Margerie
Working for Christian unity has been the lifelong passion for Bernard de Margerie’s priestly mission. Rev. Bernard de Margerie was a young priest, newly ordained, when Pope John XXIII put out the call for Vatican II in 1959. Inspired by what the Pope had said, Father de Margerie yearned to play an integral role. “That night it dawned on me that his call to work on Christian unity was the call of the gospel for me,”
de Margerie said.
He was instrumental in the establishment of the Council of Churches in Saskatoon, organizing interdenominational sunrise services, and carrying out, to this point, unheard of dialogues with various other denominations.
In 1984, the Centre for Ecumenism became a reality, governed by a "devoted band of 12 people, six of them Catholic, and other six from the Council of Churches." The Centre’s ecumenical sponsorship expanded to include Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Church of Canada, Ukrainian Catholic and Mennonite churches. The result is a centre that is unique in Canada.
Fr. de Margerie was the founder of the Centre back in 1984, and served as the executive director until 1994.
From the outset, it was a Catholic agency for the service of all denominations. In 1988, however, the Centre became jointly owned. A new constitution was drawn up for the Saskatoon Centre for Ecumenism (later renamed Prairie Centre for Ecumenism), an exclusively
interdenominational agency. House of Abraham was also established as a sub-office of the Centre to develop relations with other world religions. This, in part, also gave birth to Multifaith Saskatoon.
In recognition of his work in ecumenism, Fr. de Margerie has received honorary doctor of divinity degrees from St. Andrew's College, and the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad. De Margerie was also awarded the first Canadian Ecumenical Leadership Award by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism in Montreal in 1985.
In 2009, Fr. De Margerie retired from active ministry after over 50 years. During these years he had served in parish ministry across the RC Diocese of Saskatoon, and in a number of specialized ministries, including serving as chaplain at City Hospital and ecumenical officer for the Saskatoon Roman Catholic diocese.
Although ‘retired’ he has continued to have an active role in ecumenism in Saskatoon and across the diocese, and is currently priest-moderator at the Francophone Roman Catholic parish of Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens in Saskatoon.
STM has developed a series of lectures and workshops named the de Margerie Series on Christian Unity and Reconciliation in honour of Fr. de Margerie’s known ecumenical ministry spanning over five decades. This January, the guest speaker for this series is Dr. Westerfield, Professor of Worship from Boston University.
Fr. de Margerie’s lifelong dedication to bring Christians together is an inspiration to STM, as we embrace inclusivity in our own College community, welcoming all persons. As reflected in our Mission statement. Thank you Bernard for all that you have done – we are proud to present you with the St. Thomas More Medal.
2013 Recipient Sr. Callista Arnold OSU
Born in Prelate, Saskatchewan, Callista Arnold was one of 10 children born to Romanian immigrant parents. Family has always remained a vital part of her life.
Although Callista grew up poor, her parents always instilled in their children a lot of faith, trust & belief in prayer. She has always had a great appreciation of nature – water and the skies; with these elements often serving as motivation for her paintings as a gifted artist.
After attending a one-room country school until Gr. X, Sr. Callista went to St. Angela’s Convent in Prelate. She became a sister at 17 and was officially accepted into the Ursuline Order at 21.
Sister Callista acquired her teaching certificate in 1954, spent 25 years in the teaching profession, came to the U of S to enrich her teaching and then pursued a Theology degree in Ottawa in 1971.
In 1988, Sister Callista stepped into the Pastoral Associate position at St. Anne’s parish in Saskatoon. By 1995 she felt a calling to become involved as a compassionate presence with Persons Living With Aids(PLWA). PLWA is a volunteer, non-profit organization whose aim is to build a network providing support and social activities for persons diagnosed with HIV disease. Her role would include visiting these people in their homes, in hospitals and within palliative care homes.
Sister Callista has stated that this ministry is “walking with people made in the image and likeness of God.” She has worked, laughed and cried alongside the people of our city who live with being HIV infected or who have full-blown aids. She reflects that attending to those dying of AIDS can be very difficult because of the physical, emotional, psychological pain and spiritual struggle of these people.
As is very evident in this brief recount of Sister Callista’s faith and public service, we see she is a wonderful example of the qualities we seek for the STM Medal recipient.
She has been quoted as saying her hope is that “all Christians will be gifted with faith that is deeply rooted in the Gospel – a Gospel of hope, acceptance and commitment.” And ultimately that she can give someone strength for life’s journey.
We know that accomplishment to be true.
Thank you Sister Callista for sharing your energy and love with so many.
2012 L'Arche Saskatoon
(Excerpts from the L’Arche Saskatoon web-site: www.larchesaskatoon.ca)
In 1998 a number of people who felt a desire and a call to bring L’Arche to Saskatoon formed a group called “Led by the Spirit”. At the request of L’Arche Canada, they began to hold monthly gatherings for adults with intellectual disabilities and their friends and families. The aim of the gatherings was to create a welcoming social setting where adults with intellectual disabilities could enjoy the company of others, and to support parents with sons or daughters living at home, by providing a place where they could step out of their isolation, share their stories of daily living, and give and receive support from friends.
The gatherings have now grown to have a regular attendance of 60 to 90 people—about half of them men and women with intellectual disabilities. At each gathering—now called “Friends of L’Arche Gatherings”—there is a time at the beginning to socialize with others, followed by a sit-down meal. After the meal, there is a group activity in which everyone is invited to participate, music and singing, a time to remember and pray for those who are ill or in need of support, and then a final song before clean-up and good-byes. A wonderfully vibrant community life has developed at the Friends of L’Arche Gatherings.
Opening the first L’Arche home in Saskatoon
When the Led by the Spirit group first contacted L’Arche Canada to express their desire to open a L’Arche home in Saskatoon, they were asked to begin, not by buying a house, but by building community with people with intellectual disabilities. It is community life—mutual relationships, people sharing life together with other people—that is at heart of all L’Arche communities around the world. A strong community has developed around the Friends of L’Arche Gatherings, and the L’Arche Saskatoon Project is now a reality.
In February, 2007, L’Arche Saskatoon purchased a house in the Lakeview area of Saskatoon that became the first L’Arche home in Saskatoon. This home has since become known as Christopher House.
The L’Arche Saskatoon Project offers residential support to adults with a developmental disability. The staffing model consists primarily of live-in assistants who share their lives with the core members of the community.
The L’Arche Saskatoon Project joins the 27 other communities that make up L’Arche Canada; and it will strengthen its ties with the other L’Arche communities in the Western Canada Region in Comox, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Winnipeg.
L’Arche Saskatoon is an ecumenical Christian community. Each community member is encouraged to deepen in his or her spiritual life according to his or her particular faith tradition. Those who have no religious affiliation are also welcomed. Together, we are working to build a community of hope and love.
2008 - Dr. Ken Smith
2003 - Dr. John Thompson
2002 - Brent Gough and Dennis Dorgan
2001 - Newman Centre
2000 - The Catholic Women's League of Saskatchewan
1999 - The Basilian Fathers
1999 - The Prairie Messenger
1998 - Mr. Roland Muir
1998 - Brazil Missionaries of the Abbacy, Eparchy, and Diocese of Saskatoon
1997 - Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus
1996 - Congregations of Women Religious of the Saskatoon Diocese
1994 - Mr. Howard Stensrud
1994 - Sister Irene Poelzer
1994 - Mr. Leslie Dubé
1994 - Mr. Urban Donlevy, Sr.
1993 - Mr. Justice Emmett Hall
The distinguished careers and accomplishments of a significant number of STM’s former students, award recipients, former and current faculty members have been recognized by appointment to the Order of Canada. To date 19 Order of Canada recipients have been identified as listed below; this is as remarkable record for STM. We invite our alumni to submit names of other Order of Canada recipients that may have been overlooked. STM is proud to display a plaque recognizing all of the College's Order of Canada recipients.
Order of Canada Recipients at St. Thomas More College:
- Thomas Courchene, OC
- Edgar Dosman, CM
- James Dosman, OC
- Irene Dubé, CM
- Leslie Dubé, CM
- Alphonse Mathias Gerwing, CM
- Frederick Hill, CM
- Daniel Ish, OC
- Henry Kloppenburg, CM
- Otto Lang, OC
- Francis Leddy, OC
- Mary-Jo Leddy, OC
- W. Thomas Molloy, OC
- Edmund J. McCorkell, CSB, CM
- Eloise Opheim, CM
- Walter Podiluk, CM
- Andre Poilievre, CM
- Guy C. Vanderhaeghe, OC
- Peter E. Zakreski, CM
The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest (first awarded in 1902) and perhaps most prestigious international scholarship programme, enabling outstanding young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford.
According to the Rhodes Trust, the scholarship is not just a financial bursary, it is a life-changing opportunity for exceptional young people with the potential to make a difference for good in the world. Rhodes Scholars are people who have a vision of how the world could be better and the energy to make a difference – whatever their sphere of interest.
Anne Kelly – 2012
Anne Kelly is the most recent STM student to be named a Rhodes Scholar. After convocating, Anne begin her studies Oxford’s Merton College! Having attended L’École canadienne-française high school, she then came to St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan to pursue her studies in English. She recently completed her M.A. thesis entitled, Towards an Aesthetic of Retreat: neo-Stoicism, Recusant Culture and Gardens in Seventeenth-Century Scotland.
Her graduate supervisor, Dr. David Parkinson, says of Kelly: “Anne’s capacity for leadership arises from her extremely good eye for character and talent. She is very interested in the ways people work, and work together. She seems to take delight in encouraging and guiding others to combine their complementary talents. She earns respect and loyalty by her commitment to the success of others.” (On Campus News, Nov. 21, 2011)
Aside from her academic success, Anne is an accomplished athlete. For example, she was named Softball Saskatchewan’s “Female Athlete of the Year” in 2008. She has also volunteered her time with Ten Thousand Villages and Disability Student Services at the University of Saskatchewan.
JanaLee Cherneski – 2004
JanaLee Cherneski recently completed her doctoral studies at Brasenose College, Oxford, in the Department of Politics and International Relations. Her thesis title was: Three Dimensional Democracy: Minimalism, Deliberation, and Beyond. Prior to being named a Rhodes Scholar, she completed her B.A. High Honours in Literature and Philosophy at STM and an M.A. in English Literature and Cultural Social and Political Thought at the University of Victoria.
Ms. Cherneski has served as a Senior Editor for the Oxonian Review of Books (Oxford’s graduate journal), edited a number of smaller publications, and has been a contributor to Saskatoon's StarPhoenix. According to her profile on “Rhodes Scholarship in Canada”, she has recently “delved into the tradition of hand-printing, compositing and designing books of poetry printed on a 19th century printing press. She is interested in community libraries, journalism, creative writing, social movements, and post-secondary educational policy and practice.” (www.canadianrhodes.org)
Donald Bobiash – 1984
Donald Bobiash, B.A., M.Sc., D.Phil., is a Canadian diplomat who was born in Zelma, SK. After graduating from Young McClellan Highschool in 1977, he went on to complete his B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1980. It is during that time that he was associated with St. Thomas More College. He then continued his education at the London School of Economics, Université Laval, l’École Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature in Dakar, Senegal, and, finally, Balliol College, Oxford. At Oxford, he earned his doctorate in International Relations.
Dr. Bobiash is currently a senior advisor with the Africa Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Since joining DFAIT in 1989 he has been part of diplomatic missions to Islamabad, Ghana, Togo, and Japan as well as heading a variety of DFAIT divisions in Ottawa. He is the author of South-South Aid: How Developing Countries Help Each Other (1992).
Erik Pioro – 1980
Dr. Pioro is the Director of the Section of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Related Disorders at the Cleveland Clinic. He completed his undergraduate degree in Anatomy at the U. of S. in 1977 then enrolled in Medicine at the University of Calgary, completing that course of study in 1981. He earned his doctorate as a Rhodes Scholar at the Oxford University Medical School in 1983. He pursued his internship at the University of Western Ontario (1984), residencies at the University of Calgary (1985), the Mayo Clinic (1986), and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (1992). He then took on a fellowship at the latter before moving to the Cleveland Clinic in 1995.
Dr. Pioro “specializes in the care of patients with ALS and other complex neurodegenerative motor neuron disorders and runs clinical trials to find effective treatments for these diseases. His primary research focus is using magnetic resonance imaging to identify and monitor the progression of motor neuron degeneration in the brains of patients with ALS and related conditions, and the correlation of imaging changes with human and mouse ALS brain tissue.” (www.myclevelandclinic.org)
Henry Kloppenburg CM, QC – 1968
Henry Kloppenburg was born in Humboldt, SK, where he attended St. Augustine School and the Humboldt Collegiate Institute. He earned his B.A. as an STM student in 1965. He continued onto the College of Law and received is LL.B. in 1968. That same year, he was named a Rhodes Scholar and enrolled in Exeter College, Oxford. By 1970, he had completed his B.C.L. He was subsequently called to the Bars of Saskatchewan (1971), NWT (1977), Alberta (1980) and Manitoba (1986) and created Queen’s Counsel (Saskatchewan) in 1993.
He was clerk to the Hon. Mr. Justice Emmet M. Hall, Supreme Court of Canada, then joined the practice of Goldenburg, Taylor and Tallis before establishing his own practice along with his wife, Cheryl, in 1977.
The list of Mr. Kloppenburg’s community service is extensive. To name a few examples, he has lectured in the Faculties of Law and Commerce at the U of S, served as the director of the Kidney Foundation of Canada (SK branch), and been Board Chair of the Mendel Art Gallery. He has been a key supporter of education in Saskatchewan, endowing several prizes in the College of Medicine, supporting students at Humboldt Collegiate and Rosthern Junior College, and establishing the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Literary Excellence Award. He has served for almost 20 years on the U of S Biomedical Research Ethics Committee.
Mr. Kloppenburg has also received numerous awards, including: Admission to the Order of Malta (1984), President’s Award for Service from the Kidney Foundation of Canada (1991), Award of Merit from the Saskatchewan Action Foundation for the Environment (1992), Certificate for Distinguished Public Service from the City of Saskatoon (1994), and The Financial Post National Award for support of the arts (with Cheryl, 1994). In 2004, St. Thomas More College presented him with our Distinguished Alumni Award. Mr. Kloppenburg is known for his generosity of spirit and willingness to share his time, talent and treasure with the wider Saskatoon community.
Jerome Atrens – 1960
Born in Esterhazy, SK, Jerome Atrens attended Bedford Road Collegiate, graduating from high school in 1955. He was a student at St. Thomas More College from 1955 to 1958. Named Rhodes Scholar in 1960, he attended Exeter College at Oxford, earning a degree in Jurisprudence 1st cl. (1962), Bachelor of Civil Law 2nd cl. (1963) and an M.A. (1966). Returning to Saskatoon in 1963, he articled for Gauley and Co. and practiced there for a year. From 1965 until his retirement in 1996, he was a professor at the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia.
Bernard M. Wolfe D.Sc (Honoris Causa), Western - 1958
Bernard M. Wolfe is a physician and researcher born in Killdeer, SK. He is best known for his work in the area of Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Dr. Wolfe attended high school in Killdeer then attended Campion College, Saskatchewan Teacher’s College, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Munich. He earned his B.A. in 1956. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 1958, he attended Exeter College at Oxford from 1958-61, focusing in the area of physiology.
He went on to study and serve at Guy’s Hospital in London from 1960-63. He won the Lubbock Clinical Pathology Prize in 1961 and earned a Bachelor of Medicine in 1963. He then returned to Canada, completing his M.Sc. in Experimental Medicine in 1967. He was named a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1968. He has taught Medicine at the University of Western Ontario and served as Chief of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University Hospital in London, ON.
Hon. Otto Lang PC, OC, QC – 1953
Born in Handel, SK, the Hon. Otto Lang graduated high school from the Humboldt Collegiate Institute. He went on to earn his B.A. (1951) and LL.B. (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 LL.D. in 1987.
Otto Lang is best known for his role in Canadian political life. He was first elected to the House of Commons (Saskatoon-Humboldt) in the 1968 general election. As a member of cabinet, he served as Acting Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (1969), Minister of Manpower and Immigration (1970-72), Minister of Justice (1972-75), Minister of Transport (1975-79), and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board (1969-1979). He was named Queen’s Counsel in 1972.
After a busy career in law and politics, the Hon. Otto Lang retired in 2008.
J. Francis Leddy OC (professor) – 1933
John Francis Leddy is best known in Canada for his time as President of the University of Windsor (1964-1978). More important to St. Thomas More College, however, is the fact that he taught STM’s very first class - an 8:30 a.m. Latin class taught to two students in the Fall of 1936! (Heartwood, 69)
Dr. Leddy was born in Ottawa, but moved to Saskatoon with his family in 1912. He had completed both a B.A. (Latin and French) and an M.A. (Latin) at the University of Saskatchewan by 1931. He later attended the University of Chicago, studying Latin and Greek. In 1933, he was named a Rhodes Scholar, electing to attend Exeter College at Oxford. There he focused on Ancient History and received his doctorate in 1938.
After his short stint teaching at STM, Dr. Leddy continued to teach Classics at the University of Saskatchewan. He also served the U of S as Dean of the College of Arts and Science (1949-64) and Vice President Academic (1961-64). As mentioned earlier, he then took on the position of President of the University of Windsor until he retired in 1978.
In 1961, Dr. Leddy, along with three others, established Canadian University Students Overseas (CUSO).
He passed away on September 17, 1998, at the age of 87.