Proud alumnus of the University of Saskatchewan (USask), Donald Johnson understands the value of philanthropy and getting involved. “I like to get out and participate in the community. It’s important to help out and volunteer in any way I can,” said Donald.

Demonstrating devotion to community

For Donald Johnson, DMD 1972, giving back is more than a responsibility—it's second nature.

Donald's drive to give back has kept him involved with his alma mater; serving on the USask Alumni Association as the first representative from the College of Dentistry and being a part of the Greystone Circle because of his commitment to improve the student experience. His gift of life insurance is designated to the Class of 1972 Donor Advised Fund, which provides necessary dentistry teaching and learning equipment as medical practices continue to advance. It also supports programming and research in the college and enables more scholarship and bursary support for deserving dental students.

Growing up, Donald had many goals and aspirations. "I wanted to be involved in a medical area. I looked at all the different areas such as medicine, pharmacy and veterinary sciences, but dentistry seemed to have a big draw for me," he said.

A believer in the power of post-secondary education, Donald spent the first two years after high school at the University of Regina then moved to Saskatoon to attend the first dentistry program at the University of Saskatchewan.

"I was accepted into the College of Dentistry in 1968. I was in the first class of graduates in the new dental school at that time," he said of graduating in 1972 with nine other students to become the University of Saskatchewan's first Doctor of Dental Medicine graduates.

For 40 years, Donald practised as a general practitioner in dentistry and also taught in the College of Dentistry as a clinical supervisor. After his retirement, he continued to share his passion by teaching students at the University of Saskatchewan for another nine years.

"I loved being on campus. It's such a beautiful environment, and I love meeting new students and helping them and getting to know them. And it's really a pleasure to be involved with the school for many years and be able to help out and meet all those wonderful young people," he noted.

With the success he earned over the years, he said he couldn't forget the university's generosity for allowing him to find his lifetime career, meet long-standing friends, and experience post-secondary education. He said he is proud of his roots and that is what prompted him to make a gift of life insurance to support future student experience in his college.

"I really appreciate what the university did for me as far as having a great career. I was able to take dentistry at a time when there were programs in place to allow me to graduate with no major debt. The cost of training for students today is so much higher. So, the least I can do is give back in a small way with this life insurance gift", said Donald. 

Donald said he hopes that his planned gift will further advance the future of the University of Saskatchewan and its students. He also wants to inspire others to think about philanthropy and be involved in the community. "I think that it's really essential that as we get older, we should help others and participate."

Share this story