In his wide-ranging installation speech, Stoicheff said that given the daunting challenges of today's rapidly changing world, universities are needed now more than ever.
"Universities like ours hold the expertise to make Canada a leader in addressing global challenges," he said. "We know at the U of S that our reach is global in selected areas, that we have the expertise to help solve global challenges, particularly around food and water security, infectious disease, and the environment."
Research partnerships with communities, governments and companies are critical to ensuring that discoveries and insights advance our ability to meet social, health and economic needs, he said.
"Although we do not know what the solutions are to the major global challenges, we do know thisâthat none of them will be solved by a single discipline or a single person, but by many people from many disciplines working together," Stoicheff said. "We are poised to help do that."
He said the university's global reach will entail more international partnerships in research, scholarly and artistic work, attracting more students and faculty here from other countries, and "all of us benefiting from the intellectual and cultural richness that such diversity brings."
The U of S must work with all its post-secondary partners in the province to collectively ensure access to and provide "the best training, education and research opportunities we possibly can to the people of Saskatchewan," he said.
Stoicheff added that the future of the U of S rests on its potential to inquire, to inform, to innovate and to indigenize.
"We must become the best place we possibly can be for Aboriginal students and their communities in this province and beyond it. That is a crucial role for the modern university, to respond to the most urgent issue of our time in this country, and in so doing to play a role in re-imagining Canada," he said.
What's needed now, he said, is "a concerted and co-operative effort to respect, expand and enrich the knowledge systems, ways of knowing, languages, traditions, heritages, and experience of Aboriginal peoples in tandem with the other knowledge systems of the great minds at the university."
"How can Canada do this if its universities cannot?" he asked. "The U of S has been working to achieve that, but it's not yet enough, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action make that crystal clear. I can tell you that other universities in this country look to us to make a difference in this regard. They're doing a lot as well, but they're also looking to us. And so I ask myself and I ask you, if not us, who?"
On Nov. 18-19 at the U of S, Stoicheff will co-host with Chancellor Favel a national forum, in partnership with Assembly of Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, which will bring together university and Aboriginal leaders to examine how universities can respond to the TRC's calls to action. Please see "Building Reconciliation: Universities Answering the TRC's Calls to Action": http://www.usask.ca/trc2015/
During the ceremony, the U of S Wind Orchestra and Aboriginal drummers, singers and fiddlers performed a piece written by the late composer David Kaplan, who led the music department for many years. The piece, entitled MEUWECHETUWIN (Mee Yu Wetcha Doo Win), was based on the Cree word Miyo-wÄ«cÄhtowin (Mee Yo Weh Sdough Win or "good relationship." It brings together many traditions, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, and was performed against a backdrop of images from the Courtney Milne Collection and other university archival collections. In Kaplan's words, the piece is "dedicated to encouraging understanding and respect among the cultures of Saskatchewan."
For more information about President Stoicheff, please see "A Conversation with Our New President" in On Campus News: http://words.usask.ca/news/2015/10/23/a-conversation-with-our-new-president
About the University of Saskatchewan
Located in Saskatoon, Sask., the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is a member of the U15, a group of the top research universities in Canada. The U of S hosts two unique national research facilitiesâthe Canadian Light Source, which is one of the world's leading synchrotron facilities, and VIDO-InterVac, a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to fight infectious diseases in humans and animals.
The campus is home to a full range of health science colleges, including medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy and nutrition, as well as graduate schools for public policy, public health, and environment and sustainability.Â Current U of S research strengths include: agriculture and food security; energy and mineral resources; synchrotron sciences; Aboriginal scholarship and engagement; water security; and "one health"âan integrated approach to human/animal/ecosystem health.
With one of the highest populations of Aboriginal students among Canadian post-secondary institutions, the university puts particular emphasis on fostering Aboriginal student success. More than 20,000 students from around the world study at the U of S, and our over 147,000 alumni are spread across the globe.
For more information, contact:
Student and Enrolment Services Division
University of Saskatchewan
Associate Vice-President Communications
Advancement and Community Engagement
University of Saskatchewan