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Honorary Degree for retired diplomat Ken Sunquist

By Dale Johnson Posted: October 19, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Ken Sunquist says being named an honorary degree recipient is an acknowledgement of his “lifetime of commitment to this university.”
Ken Sunquist says being named an honorary degree recipient is an acknowledgement of his “lifetime of commitment to this university.” Photo - U of R Photography

The highest recognition the University of Regina can bestow is an honorary degree.

At Fall Convocation 2016, being held on October 21, the recipient is Ken Sunquist, an international strategic business advisor, management consultant and corporate director.

He says it’s “an unexpected honour and a total surprise.”

Sunquist graduated from the Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Administration degree in 1970.

“When I graduated, jobs in the international scope did not exist in Saskatchewan – unlike today. So it forced me to seek out opportunities elsewhere,” Sunquist explains.

After working as assistant clerk to the Executive Council of the Government of Saskatchewan and executive assistant to the premier, he moved to the federal civil service and had postings in Jamaica, Yugoslavia, the United States and Korea. He served as acting ambassador to China in the 1990s, and was ambassador to Indonesia from 1998 to 2001. Sunquist later was an assistant deputy minister in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the chief trade commissioner for Canada.

Sunquist credits his success to his studies at Regina Campus.

“The faculty challenged me to meet my goals. The quality of education at this campus is outstanding and made it possible for me to contribute on the larger stage,” he says.

Sunquist was named the U of R’s 2013 recipient of the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. He says this latest recognition by being named an Honorary Degree recipient is “an unanticipated acknowledgement of a lifetime of commitment to this university – as a student, as Student Union president, as an alumnus, and – most of all – as a friend of the university who helped market the campus and Canadian values, in Korea, China and Indonesia.”

Since retiring from the public service in 2011, he continues to work as a business advisor and management consultant with governments, universities and businesses. He has also accepted appointments to a number of boards, including CARE Canada, where he is board chair. CARE Canada is one of the country’s largest development and humanitarian relief non-governmental organizations.