Why the new Alumni Association president wants to engage alumni

By Dale Johnson Posted: September 19, 2017 10:30 a.m.

Bert Yakichuk wants to see alumni as “supporters and cheerleaders” of the U of R.
Bert Yakichuk wants to see alumni as “supporters and cheerleaders” of the U of R. Photo: U of R Photography

After a long career as a high school principal in Regina, Bert Yakichuk, the new president of the University of Regina Alumni Association, wants to do more to get alumni engaged.

“I was a high school principal for decades and enjoyed the interaction with young people. So this is a natural fit for me.”

Yakichuk wants to combine his experience in education with new approaches to get alumni interested and involved.

“Because I’m retired, I’m able to devote a tremendous amount of time and energy to the Alumni Association as its president. I’ll be at various events doing whatever I can to engage current and future alumni. I want to place a special emphasis on connecting more with international alumni,” he says.

He will have more time than his predecessors, because starting with Yakichuck, the Alumni president will sit for a two-year term; previous presidents served one-year terms. He welcomes this change, because he’s learned from experience on other boards that it often takes a few months for a new president to learn about the people and issues.

“I hope that with a two-year term, I will be able to be even more effective in my second year,” he explains.

Yakichuk grew up in Regina and earned his master’s degree in education from the U of R in 1977.  He’s noticed plenty of changes since he was a student.

“It’s gone from a small institution to a world-class institution. It’s got a much more international flavor.”

But, he says, some things are just like they were 40 years ago.

“The things that have not changed are the pride and the excitement students feel about being on campus.”

And Yakichuk wants to make sure those feelings continue after students graduate and move on to their careers.

“If you want people to be proud of the institution they’ve graduated from, they need to feel connected. Very often people are engaged when they’re on campus as students, but that level of engagement sometimes declines as they move on with their lives after university.”

He wants to improve and increase meaningful communication that resonates with graduates – no matter what year they convocated.

“The more aware of what’s going on at the University, the more connected they will feel. Alumni need to be supporters and cheerleaders for their University.”

As the new Alumni president, Yakichuk will be speaking at the Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards dinner on October 5, and you can visit with him at the Owl’s free 50th birthday bash on October 21.