Jane (L) and Ron Graham are the largest cumulative alumni donors in USask’s history.

Alumni Ron and Jane Graham’s $5.9-million gift assists vaccine research, Huskie Athletics, engineering and education students at USask

The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) most generous alumni, Ron (BE'62, DCL'13) and Jane (BEd'62) Graham, are supporting Huskie Athletics, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), the College of Education, and the College of Engineering with a multimillion-dollar donation.

By Sean Conroy

The Grahams’ donation includes contributions of $3 million to Huskie Athletics, $1 million to VIDO, $1 million to the College of Education and $900,000 to the College of Engineering.

“Ron and Jane Graham have set an exceptionally high standard of giving to the University of Saskatchewan and we are deeply grateful for their ongoing support,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. “Their gifts elevate teaching, learning and the student experience at USask. The impact of their several donations through the years spans generations of students. By investing in critical research and visionary spaces, the Grahams continue to support our university’s response to global issues.”

Jane and Ron Graham are the largest cumulative alumni donors in USask’s history.

“Jane and I have always had a passion for helping students and signature areas at USask,” said Ron Graham. “Giving to Huskie athletes, funding innovative research, and enhancing teaching and career prospects is something we are proud to support.”

“We have been fortunate to help establish scholarships, facilities, and programming at the University of Saskatchewan for decades,” said Jane Graham. “With this latest commitment, we want to ensure USask continues to be what the world needs, in a variety of disciplines.”

The $3-million donation to Huskie Athletics will be comprised of gifts of $1 million each to the Huskie football team, and men’s and women’s basketball teams. In addition to scholarships, the funding for each team will be used to acquire innovative equipment and technology, fund coaching support, and explore new travel opportunities for international competitions and skill development.

The $1 million portion of the gift allocated to VIDO will help establish VIDO as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research—a national centre that will support the response to future human and animal infectious diseases. This includes building a new animal housing facility, and upgrading key areas of its facility to Level 4 containment, which would allow researchers to study all existing and emerging infectious diseases.

The College of Education is a recipient of $1 million to support the Jane and Ron Graham Centre for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Established with the couple’s $1-million donation in 2019, the centre supports applied research in the area of teaching and learning in higher education. Unique in North America, the centre now offers the first graduate degree in the scholarship of teaching and learning in Canada. The donation will further support the development and application of innovative education practices that will impact and transform multiple academic disciplines.

The $5.9-million donation also includes $900,000 to the College of Engineering. A $500,000 gift supported development of the college’s newly launched RE-ENGINEERED program for first-year students, featuring completely redesigned course content and class scheduling, as well as grading that prioritizes helping students gain key skills. The college’s Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development (SoPD) will use a $400,000 contribution from the Grahams to support a project co-ordinator who will monitor and evaluate initial outcomes of the RE-ENGINEERED program and help develop a suite of professional development opportunities for engineering students, alumni and other professionals. Founded in 2012, the SoPD offers courses and certificates in areas such as communication, tech entrepreneurship and leadership.

Other notable projects the Grahams have funded include the addition of the dedicated training basketball courts to Merlis Belsher Place, development of the Ron and Jane Graham Sport Science and Health Centre at Merlis Belsher Place, and expansion of the Graham Huskie Clubhouse at Griffiths Stadium.

In 2018, the gymnasium floor at the Physical Activity Complex on campus at USask was redesigned and named “Ron and Jane Graham Centre Court” in recognition of their contributions.