Importance of continued community support underscored at 4th State of the University address

By Dale Johnson Posted: January 25, 2018 4:30 p.m.

A passionate President Vianne Timmons asks the community to advocate on behalf of the University.
A passionate President Vianne Timmons asks the community to advocate on behalf of the University. Photo: U of R Photography

President Vianne Timmons is calling on the Regina community to continue to support the University of Regina in these difficult economic times.

In her fourth annual State of the University Address to the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, Timmons said, “Universities are one of the best things we can invest in.”

Timmons told the crowd of close to 300 that the community has always been there to contribute to the success of the University.

“We have relied on you in the past, and we need you now, more than ever,” she said.

In these uncertain economic times, she said support from the community is essential for the success of the University.

“We recognize the challenges the province has. Budget cuts have been deep; last year, seven million dollars were cut from our University budget. We have done our part by taking that deep cut. Now, we need your continued advocacy so we can continue to thrive and contribute. Advocate with government on our behalf – for now, and for the future. Help us build connections, both at home and abroad. And contribute financial support for our students,” she said.

“We want to continue to provide all of the programming and community benefits that we currently do. The Conservatory programming, the summer sports schools that develop hundreds of young athletes, the public lectures, the community programming – all of these things are hallmarks of a vibrant, thoughtful, and engaged community,” Timmons added.

For example, the President highlighted support for the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project, from individuals, the City, and businesses. She also shared how Indigenous communities support and challenge the University to make it better.

And, she recognized community leaders – including Mo Bundon, Murad Al-Katib, and Dr. Roberta Mackay and Elmer Brenner – who demonstrate their unfailing support for the U of R.

She also thanked the community for help in landing the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, to be held May 26 – June 1. Congress 2018 will be the largest conference ever held in Regina, with 7,000 delegates from across Canada. Timmons said Regina defied the odds and beat out the University of British Columbia because of the demonstrated community support of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Regina, Tourism Saskatchewan, the Hotels Association, and citizens.   

The newly-installed Chair of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, Michelle Hunter, said, “I think President Timmons’ call to action was very strong. I think it will be well received by the business community, and is very appropriate in these times.”

The theme of this year’s address was the inverse of last year’s, when President Timmons outlined how the University contributes to the community. She said then, that each year the University has an economic impact of more than half-a-billion dollars on Saskatchewan’s Gross Domestic Product.

In closing, Timmons joked that next year her State of the University Address would reflect what a typical day in the life of a university president is like.