About the 2019 C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence

On January 22, 2019, the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, in partnership with the host department, Chemical and Biological Engineering, will be celebrating the achievements of alumnus, Joe Deutscher (BE'85), at the 43rd C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence. Each year, the gala recognizes an alumnus who has achieved a position of eminence within their profession and honours their achievements by recognizing them as the evening’s Distinguished Lecturer and inducts them into the College of Engineering’s Alumni Wall of Distinction.

The College of Engineering looks forward to an evening with one of their most notable alumni, and fellow engineers, industry professionals, faculty, staff, and students as they gather to celebrate an evening of engineering excellence!

History of the C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence

The C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence is the college’s flagship annual event and has established a reputation as the leading engineering gathering in Saskatoon. The gala begins in the early evening with networking, followed by acknowledgments from dignitaries, a five-course, plated dinner and the distinguished lecture.

The College of Engineering’s annual Distinguished Lecture Series was started in 1976 to honour our alumni who have achieved positions of eminence in the profession. On its 10th anniversary, the event was renamed for Chalmers Jack Mackenzie, the first dean of the College of Engineering, to recognize the contribution he made to the college, the university and the engineering profession.

The evening provides an opportunity for the engineering community to celebrate one of its own and network with each other. Each year, discipline departments rotate as the host department, where one of their alumni are selected to be the Distinguished Lecturer. The 2019 C.J. Mackenzie Gala is proudly hosted by the Department of Chemical Engineering. Students, college faculty and staff, University of Saskatchewan representatives, industry professionals, government officials and friends of the engineering profession all find meaning and enjoyment at the gala.

About C.J. Mackenzie

CJM C.J. Mackenzie was the first Dean of the College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, a great Canadian and an eminent engineer. In honour of his contributions to the engineering profession and the college, the Mackenzie dress tartan has been adopted as the college tie of the Saskatoon Engineering Student Society.

The College of Engineering is proud to have been part of the life and career of Dr. Mackenzie. His many achievements in developing the college's engineering resources were a result of his technical excellence and his personal values.

Although his death in 1984 was mourned as a loss, we are thankful for the contributions he made to our college and our country. He remains an integral part of Canadian engineering and science history. His life as a great Canadian and great engineer is a model for all young engineers. 

Chalmers Jack Mackenzie was born in 1888 in New Brunswick and graduated from Dalhousie in 1909. He moved west, doing consulting work, and then joined the University of Saskatchewan in 1912 as a sessional lecturer. Following studies at Harvard in 1914-15 leading to a MSc degree, and a distinguished war career in which he was awarded the Military Cross, he was appointed the first Dean of Engineering in 1922, and remained with the college until 1939.

Dr. Mackenzie's zest and style were unique in Canadian academic and engineering circles. During the depression, he designed and oversaw the construction of the Broadway Bridge. His character is reflected in its innovative and unique design.

Dr. Mackenzie's long and varied career involved working with scientists, engineers, administrators, students and even Politicians. In 1939, Dr. Mackenzie left the College of Engineering to accept the position of Acting President of the National Research Council. Following the war, Dr. Mackenzie deferred plans to dissolve the National Research Council by convincing the Government of Canada of its importance in promoting technological advancement in Canada. In 1944 he was appointed President of the National Research Council. In 1948 Dr. Mackenzie spearheaded Canada's nuclear development by serving as President of the Atomic Energy Board.

The science and engineering community awarded Dr. Mackenzie more than 20 medals, awards, and university degrees. He was the first North American to receive the Kelvin Medal for Engineering from Britain in 1953. He received our country's highest honour when he was named Companion of the order of Canada.