A man speaking at a podium on stage with an audience in the foreground.
USask launched the Be What the World Needs campaign at Merlis Belsher Place in April 2023. (Campaign launch photos by Dave Stobbe)

Reaching our full potential

FROM THOROUGH MAGAZINE: The University of Saskatchewan’s newly launched fundraising campaign is an opportunity to achieve critical renewal at the College of Engineering.

By Donella Hoffman

It is described as one of the most ambitious initiatives in the history of the University of Saskatchewan (USask). In fact, the Be What the World Needs Campaign is the largest fundraising initiative Saskatchewan has ever seen.

USask is seeking to raise $500-million, a goal recently announced by USask President Peter Stoicheff at a gala event at Merlis Belsher Place, the twin-ice multi-sport facility located on the USask campus.

“We hope that you will join us and help support our vision to inspire the next generation of learners and leaders, and with your help, we will contribute to changing the world for future generations,” Stoicheff said.

USask donors Jane and Ron Graham speak at the campaign launch event.

He also announced that nearly $323 million has been raised during the multi-year “quiet phase” leading up to the campaign launch, with one in seven alumni already contributing.

One of the key campaign priorities is renewing the Engineering Building, Stoicheff has noted. “We . . . have a lot of demand on the part of potential students to take our engineering degrees, but we need more space and we need upgraded research and classroom facilities.”

Suzanne Kresta, dean of the USask College of Engineering, knows that the college’s resourceful, hard-working grads are the engineers the world needs to solve today’s problems. Adapting the teaching and learning spaces in the Engineering Building will help students build their technical, inter-personal and inter-disciplinary skills, she said.

“We need to help our students become creative and socially innovative engineers. We know our graduates can thrive as our profession evolves, if we equip them with the right skills while they’re in university. We need more spaces that inspire collaboration and creativity.”

Myron Stadnyk

“If we do it right, our building will become a magnet for the rest of campus so that the larger community can see what engineering really is,” she added.

Ensuring that USask students are ready to succeed when they graduate has been a priority for USask Engineering alumnus Ron Graham (BE’62 Civil) and his partner Jane Graham, who holds an education degree from USask.

“For us, it has been an imperative to ensure the university, and more importantly, the students have the skills and experience they need to have an opportunity to compete in the future,” Ron Graham told the 500-plus people gathered at the campaign launch. The Grahams have donated more than $30 million to USask, the highest cumulative total of any USask donors.

Myron Stadnyk (BE’85 Mechanical), a member of the volunteer cabinet for the Be What the World Needs Campaign, also spoke at the launch and described the impact alumni can have when supporting a common goal. He is a longtime member of the Engineering Advancement Trust, an alumni-directed group that gathers donations from USask Engineering grads at all stages of their careers to fund state-of-the-art equipment in the college’s laboratories.

Libby Epoch

"I’ve seen first-hand the commitment of our alumni and how important it is to support the faculty and the students,” Stadnyk said. “And I’ve learned that it creates a U of S family.”

The USask Engineering community was well-represented at the launch, as civil engineering student Libby Epoch brought the student voice to the event. She explained how scholarships helped her reach her full potential as a student-athlete while she was a member of the Huskie women’s basketball team.

“Scholarships allowed me to focus my time and energy on my studies,” she said. “I am forever grateful to have received donor support.”

Fueling student success is incredible motivation as the campaign gets under way, said Kresta.

“There is passion to tackle what’s on the road ahead because we know how much it will mean to our students.”

Explore our fundraising priorities

Arliss Sidloski, President, University of Saskatchewan Space Team

All donations make a powerful difference in the lives of our students, researchers, and community members.

Design Visionary Spaces

A transformation of the College of Engineering will introduce the Innovation, Design, Engineering and Applied Sciences (IDEAS) Building.

Strategic renovations will include a transformation of the Hardy Lab to create the Engineering Design Hub. Targeted expansions will optimize space to reflect the communities we serve as educators and engineers and respond with new learning communities in areas of importance. 


Inspire students to succeed

We encourage and support current and future students on their journeys to become engineers the world needs. 

We need to establish:

  • Strong, relevant academic programs
  • Learning experiences that build knowledge and core competencies through real-world practice
  • Holistic supports that inspire growth and development


Support Indigenous achievement

We are committed to mutual learning, Indigenization and reconciliation. 

We can play a pivotal role in uplifting Indigenization by building respectful learning communities, inspiring Indigenous success, and co-creating value with Indigenous communities through collaborative partnerships.


Lead critical research

Our ground-breaking research addresses humanity's greatest needs. 

As leaders in engineering for health, agriculture, mining, energy and environment, USask Engineering is globally recognized for pivotal research, contributing to industry, our economy and community. We know that one idea, discovery or connection has the power to provoke radical change.


With your support, USask engineers will change our world.

Explore our fundraising priorities.