University of Saskatchewan - Royal Connections

Royal Connections

Further information: Crown in Saskatoon

The University of Saskatchewan has numerous royal and vice-regal connections. Lieutenant Governor Archibald McNab is credited with bringing the institution to Saskatoon. Its campuses have been venues for royal and vice-regal visits, including visits by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who lodged at the President's Residence in 1978. A handful of University alumni were invited to a reception for Canadians at Buckingham Palace ahead of that visit to Saskatoon. The main campus is home to Saskatoon's only royally designated institution, the Royal University Hospital. The Diefenbaker Canada Centre, also on campus, houses original correspondence between the Queen and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, and has staged such exhibits as Happy and Glorious: The Royal Presence in Canada, opened by Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock in 2004. The campus was the first in Western Canada to host the Vanier Cup, named for Governor General Georges Vanier, in 2006. Fifteen fellows of the Royal Society of Canada are affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan's Lieutenant Governors have filled the office of Visitor to the University of Saskatchewan since its establishment. Former Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Lake was famously called upon to assume the visitor's role in the so-called Crisis of 1919. Four senior members of the Board of Governors had been dismissed after three among them abstained from a vote of confidence in university president Walter Murray. Murray was under scrutiny for his maintenance of University finances. The public and press clamoured for an explanation, and, in accordance with provincial law, Lake held a series of hearings through the office of the King’s Bench. His findings, delivered in April 1920, vindicated the dismissals, saying they were “regular, proper and in the best interest of the university.” In other words, their acts of disloyalty were enough to cost them their jobs.

Certain vice-regal representatives have held teaching and governance positions on campus. Before becoming Lieutenant Governor, Gordon Barnhart was university secretary and professor in Canadian politics. Sylvia Fedoruk was university chancellor, professor in oncology and associate member in physics. Grant MacEwan, before becoming Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, was director of the School of Agriculture and professor of animal husbandry at the University of Saskatchewan. Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees have been conferred by the university on vice-regal representatives. Recipient Lieutenant Governors include William Patterson in 1955, Robert Hanbidge in 1968, Stephen Worobetz in 1984 and Sylvia Fedoruk in 2006. Recipient Governors General include Vincent Massey in 1955 and Ramon Hnatyshyn in 1990.

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