USask President Peter Stoicheff is proud to announce that the university will present Poilièvre with an honorary degree – the university’s highest award – for his lifetime of contributions to the community.
“We are honoured to have the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary impact Father Poilièvre has made over the years to the communities he has served,” Stoicheff said. “The University of Saskatchewan recognizes his passion for helping others throughout his distinguished career by bestowing our highest honour, the honorary degree, upon him.”
Poilièvre will be celebrated for his contributions to society during USask’s afternoon convocation ceremony at Merlis Belsher Place on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 2 pm.
Poilièvre was named to the Order of Canada in 2008 for his lifelong contributions as an educator, counsellor and chaplain, and for his remarkable work in helping more than 500 individuals leave street gangs and start new lives. The Order of Canada is one of a number of honours that Poilièvre earned through a career of contributions to the community, including the Saskatoon YMCA Peace Medal Award in 2007, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, and the St. Thomas More College Recognition Award in 2015.
The youngest of three siblings, Poilièvre was born and raised in Prud'homme, Sask. After graduating high school, he went on to earn a baccalaureate in theology, and later completed adult education courses in Paris and Toronto. Poilièvre went on to spend six years with Arctic Cooperatives Ltd., in the former Northwest Territories (now Nunavut), where he developed and implemented training programs for Inuit and Dene management trainees in Indigenous-owned co-operative enterprises. Poilièvre moved to Saskatoon and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1962, taught at St. Paul’s and Joe Duquette (now Oskāyak) high schools, and also served as a chaplain at Saskatoon City Hospital and the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
In 2002, Poilièvre and two former gang members he met during his time with the correctional centre co-founded STR8 UP, the inspiration for his life’s work for the next 20 years. The support centre continues to help street gang members – many Indigenous – and their families escape from the clutches of gang life and get a fresh start. STR8 UP is the embodiment of Poilièvre’s lifelong commitment to serving Indigenous peoples, training community co-operatives, and supporting quality education for all children.
Honorary degrees are awarded to recipients for worthy and unique contributions made to their community and to the world. USask recognizes individuals who have outstanding accomplishments in research, scholarly and artistic works; performed exceptional public service; contributed greatly through their professional or philanthropic activity; and demonstrated extraordinary athletic prowess. To view past recipients, visit: https://library.usask.ca/uasc/campus-history-databases/honorary-degrees
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