Nearly 3,500 U of S students set to graduate

SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) invites media to cover spring convocation at TCU Place from June 5-8.

This spring, a total of 3,419 students are graduating from the U of S in seven convocation ceremonies. These new graduates will join a century-old community of more than 150,000 alumni worldwide whose contributions are helping to shape our world.

All ceremonies will be streamed live.


  • The U of S welcomes its 15th Chancellor, the Honorable Roy Romanow, P.C., O.C., S.O.M., Q.C., whose installation ceremony will kick off convocation on Monday, June 5 at 2 pm.
  • A total of 383 Indigenous students are graduating during spring convocation ceremonies.
  • The University of Saskatchewan’s Alumni Association is celebrating its 100-year anniversary.
  • Honorary degrees and awards will be presented to:
  • Kim Coates – Honorary Doctor of Letters
  • Earl Cook – Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Frederick Mulder – Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Herb Pinder – Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Hayley Wickenheiser – Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Bob Xu – Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Maud Ferrari – New Researcher Award
  • Hayley Hesseln – Master Teacher Award
  • Pamela Komonoski – President’s Service Award
  • Howard Wheater – Distinguished Researcher Award

To media who plan to attend convocation

  • Photographers may take photos from anywhere—except on the stage once the ceremonies begin.
  • Reserved space for media is located on the second floor to the left of the stage (all other seats are reserved for the graduating students and their guests).
  • The route graduates use as they proceed to the stage must be kept clear.


For the morning ceremonies, the academic procession begins at 8:45 am, speeches at 9 am and graduates start walking across the stage at 10 am. For the afternoon ceremony, the academic procession begins at 1:45 pm, speeches at 2 pm and graduates start walking across the stage at 3 pm. For the full convocation schedule, see:

CEREMONY 1: Monday, June 5, 2 pm

Graduating: Agriculture and Bioresources, Engineering.

Installation of the Chancellor

The honorable Roy Romanow, P.C., O.C., S.O.M., Q.C., has served in public office in Canada for more than 30 years, including as Premier of Saskatchewan from 1991 to 2001. Romanow is a Senior Fellow in Public Policy in the Department of Political Studies at the U of S. He received both his BA (1960, and LLB (1964) from the U of S.

Master Teacher Award: Hayley Hesseln

Since joining the College of Agriculture and Bioresources 15 years ago, associate professor Hayley Hesseln has developed a reputation as one of the most passionate and popular professors on campus. Her track record, enthusiasm and her commitment to students have made her a remarkable teacher. But her tireless efforts and continuous improvement of her teaching style, and her adoption of innovative methodologies, is what sets her apart. She was recently certified as an executive coach.

CEREMONY 2: Tuesday, June 6, 9 am

Graduating: Arts and Science, University Language Centre, School of Public Health.

Honorary Doctor of Letters: Kim Coates
(Media interview availability at 12:15 pm)

Actor and producer Kim Coates is best known for his portrayal of “Tig” on the FX hit series Sons of Anarchy. Since earning his BA from the U of S in 1981, he has has appeared in more than 100 movies and television series, including Academy Award-winning films like Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor. Coates was recently awarded the 2016 Actra Award of Excellence for his extensive body of work in acting and producing, his charitable commitments, and his ongoing support of the Canadian film industry.

CEREMONY 3: Tuesday, June 6, 2 pm

Graduating: Arts and Science, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, School of Environment and Sustainability.

Honorary Doctor of Laws: Frederick Mulder
(Media interview availability upon request)

Frederick Mulder is an internationally renowned expert in the printmaking of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. A native of Eston, Sask., he earned a Bachelor of Arts at the U of S and began a successful career as an art dealer in England in 1971. Mulder is well known for his charitable work, donating six original Picasso linocuts to the U of S art collection and 23 Picasso ceramics to Saskatoon’s Remai Modern Art Gallery.

CEREMONY 4: Wednesday, June 7, 9 am

Graduating: Edwards School of Business, Law.

Honorary Doctor of Laws: Bob Xu
(Media interview availability upon request)

Since graduating from the U of S with a master’s degree in music in 1992, Bob Xu has become a mentor for Chinese students studying abroad, and one of the world’s leading venture capitalists. He has also become a dedicated philanthropist and a proud proponent of the U of S, with Xu and wife Ling Chen donating $3-million in support of the university’s music program. The founder of ZhenFund, Xu’s investment strategies earned him a spot on Forbes Magazine’s Midas List of the world’s top 100 venture capitalists.

CEREMONY 5: Wednesday, June 7, 2 pm

Graduating: Education.

Honorary Doctor of Laws: Earl Cook
(Media interview availability upon request)

Earl Cook has spent a lifetime committed to creating educational opportunities for Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. Cook’s passion for education began 40 years ago at the U of S where he earned a Bachelor of Education (1980) and postgraduate diploma. Originally from Cumberland House, Cook went on to serve as an instructor and administrator in northern education and training programs and is considered a leading expert in Aboriginal culture and languages.

CEREMONY 6: Thursday, June 8, 9 am

Graduating: Kinesiology, Medicine, Pharmacy and Nutrition, School of Physical Therapy, Veterinary Medicine.

Honorary Doctor of Laws: Hayley Wickenheiser
(Media interview availability at 12:15 pm)

Widely regarded as the world’s greatest women’s hockey player, Hayley Wickenheiser is the all-time leader in scoring in the history of Canada’s national women’s team and an inspiration for generations of young female players. Originally from Shaunavon, Sask., she played 23 seasons with the national team, retiring in January as a five-time Olympic medallist (including four straight gold medals from 2002 to 2014). Chosen Canada’s female athlete of the year in 2007, Wickenheiser was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2011 and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2014.

New Research Award: Maud Ferrari

A behavioural and evolutionary ecologist, associate professor Maud Ferrari is a renowned researcher in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. Ferrari earned a BSc at Université Grenoble 1 and PhD at the U of S, followed by post-doctoral work at University of California-Davis. Ferrari won the NSERC Doctoral Prize for Best Canadian PhD Thesis in Natural Sciences and Governor General’s Gold Medal for Best PhD Thesis at U of S.

CEREMONY 7: Thursday, June 8, 2 pm

Graduating: Dentistry, Nursing.

Honorary Doctor of Laws: Herb Pinder Jr.
(Media interview availability upon request)

A successful entrepreneur, lawyer and former NHL player agent, Herb Pinder Jr. has served on the boards of more than 40 public and private businesses, crown corporations and non-profit organizations. Pinder, who earned a bachelor’s degree at the U of S, won a bronze medal playing hockey for Canada in the 1968 Winter Olympics. Pinder has served as president of Pinder’s Drugs, Goal Sports Corp., and the Regina Pats, and is currently president of the Saskatoon-based Goal Group, a private equity management firm.

President’s Service Award: Pamela Komonoski

Pam Komonoski has more than 30 years of health-care experience—the majority serving the campus community as a nurse practitioner at the U of S. After beginning her career at Royal University Hospital, she joined the U of S Student Health Centre in 1988. Komonoski’s technical expertise and compassion has greatly enhanced the work environment and patient experience at the campus clinic and she goes above and beyond clinical duties to collaborate with student groups and support student-run initiatives.

Distinguished Researcher Award: Howard Wheater

An internationally renowned researcher, Howard Wheater is a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Water Security and serves as the director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the U of S and the director of the Global Water Futures program. Wheater, a Distinguished Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Hydrology at Imperial College London, U.K., has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed journal papers, 33 books and book chapters, and has supervised 60 PhD and 100 master’s students.

For more information, contact:

Murray Lyons
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan

Kathy Munroe
Communications Officer, Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning
University of Saskatchewan
Office: 306-966-1255 Cell: 306-370-6305


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