Harold Chapman

U of S to pay tribute to icon of the co-operative movement

Harold Chapman has spent a lifetime committed to the co-operative movement as a builder and educator, widely regarded as a national leader in the field.

On Saturday, October 28, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will celebrate his contributions and decades of dedication and development by awarding the U of S alumnus an Honorary Doctor of Laws during Fall Convocation at TCU Place. The honorary doctorate will be the latest in a long list of accolades for Chapman, who also celebrated his 100th birthday this year by being inducted into the Order of Canada—the country’s highest civilian honour.

Chapman, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the U of S and a Master of Science in Co-operative Extension Education at the University of Wisconsin, said he is proud to join the distinguished list of honorary degree recipients at the university that has been part of his life for more than 70 years.

“It’s a great honour for me,” said Chapman. “I graduated in agriculture in the spring of 1943 and I’ve been a member of the alumni (association) ever since and I’ve been associated with the U of S for all those years. So it’s a great honour and a great surprise to be receiving this. It has certainly been an amazing year, in a number of ways.”

Born in Saskatoon in 1917, Chapman grew up on a farm and studied agriculture and co-operatives in university, before training as an officer in the armed forces upon graduation in 1943. After being discharged in 1945, he was hired by the province to help develop farming, fishing, trapping and housing co-operatives. Among his early achievements was establishing co-op farms for Canadian veterans returning from the Second World War, as well as helping organize the Saskatoon Community Clinic in 1962 and being a founding member of the international organization, Association of Cooperative Educators, in 1965.

Named the first director of the Co-operative Institute in Saskatoon in 1955, Chapman spent two decades as an educator before joining Federated Co-operatives Limited. While he retired in 1982, he has remained involved with community organizations and with the co-operative movement, including the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, located at the U of S. The centre helped sponsor and co-publish his 2012 memoir Sharing my Life: Building the Co-operative Movement, his account of the history and legacy of co-operatives in Saskatchewan.

“Harold Chapman has been a leader in the development of co-operatives for more than 70 years and there are few Canadians who have played a more significant role in the field,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. “His long involvement with the University of Saskatchewan began as a student in the 1940s and continues to this day, as a devoted participant in conferences and workshops organized by the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. We are extremely proud to call this distinguished Order of Canada recipient one of our own.”

One of two honorary degree recipients at this year’s U of S Fall Convocation, Chapman will be recognized for his lifetime of achievement during the 2 pm ceremony on Oct. 28 at TCU Place. For the full convocation schedule, go to: https://students.usask.ca/events/fall-convocation.php

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