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Season's Greetings from Peter Stoicheff

As the holiday season approaches, the USask president reflects on the past year.

USask Alumni and Friends,

With the holiday season fast approaching, I would like to reflect on the challenges we have overcome together and to thank you for your commitment and contributions to the University of Saskatchewan in 2021. Our alumni and donors have been steadfast in their support of the university, despite the challenges of this past year. You have stepped up within your communities, you have supported our students and given generously of your time and resources, and you have contributed to finding solutions that the world needs. To all the members of our extended USask family, here in Saskatchewan and around the world, thank you.
 
As we look ahead to 2022, we know that our campus community is better prepared than ever to deal with whatever comes next. I am reminded daily of the resilience and responsiveness of our entire campus community that have helped minimize transmission of COVID-19. With fall vaccination rates for faculty, staff and students exceeding 95 per cent, the overwhelming cross-campus support for having a fully vaccinated campus has opened the door to more in-person activity in the 2022 winter term—subject of course to whatever the Omicron variant might have in store for us.
 
From addressing pandemic priorities and the challenges of climate change, to training the next generation of professionals and leaders in all fields, USask is making a difference in our community, our nation, and our world. The pandemic has reaffirmed our reputation as a research leader nationally and internationally, especially with new funding and support to position our VIDO facility as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research. And despite the pandemic, our university is on track for another year of record enrolment, and our students continue to graduate in record numbers, joining our family of 165,000 alumni worldwide to help make a difference around the globe.
 
In so many ways, the challenges of the past two years have brought out the best in our USask community – both on and off campus - a community that is more open to new opportunities and new possibilities than ever before. As our Post-Pandemic Shift Project has confirmed, the pandemic pushed us apart, but it also reaffirmed just how connected we all are. This new respect for working together and staying more connected is reflected in the accomplishments of three major campus initiatives in 2021—the first Indigenous Strategy solely created by Indigenous peoples at a U15 research university; our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan; and our new Sustainability Strategy.

As 2021 comes to a close, please take a moment to reflect on all that you have accomplished and all that you have overcome in a year that we will never forget. I hope you have an opportunity to refresh and to refocus on the year ahead and on the opportunities that await.

Most importantly, I hope you take the time to safely re-connect with those who matter most, and cherish special moments with friends and family, as well as former colleagues and fellow alumni.

I wish you a happy holiday season and all the best in the new year.
 
Peter Stoicheff
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Saskatchewan

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