Former University of Regina Chancellor Art Wakabayashi to receive Honorary Degree

By Justin Waldrop Posted: October 17, 2019 11:55 a.m.

Art Wakabayashi served two terms as Chancellor of the University of Regina from 2001 to 2007.
Art Wakabayashi served two terms as Chancellor of the University of Regina from 2001 to 2007. Photos by U of R Photography Department

At the University of Regina’s 46th annual Fall Convocation being held tomorrow at the Conexus Arts Centre, Art Wakabayashi, CM, SOM will receive the highest recognition the University can bestow – an honorary degree – for his lifelong commitment to public service.

Born in Regina, Art Wakabayashi had a long and respected career in the public service. Following his retirement, he has continued to be a great contributor to the province, the Japanese-Canadian community, and the University of Regina.

Mr. Wakabayashi attended the University of Saskatchewan where he earned a BA in Economics and a Bachelor of Commerce with Great Distinction. In 1960-1961, he earned a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University School of Public Administration.

He began his public service career with the Province of Saskatchewan where he served in the departments of Social Welfare and Finance. After five years as Deputy Provincial Treasurer, he held several senior positions with the federal government in Ottawa. He returned to Saskatchewan in 1986 and served in various roles, including Saskatchewan Trade Negotiations Representative, Deputy Minister of Finance, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance, and Provincial Negotiator for the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Settlement.

One of Mr. Wakabayashi’s career highlights was his involvement in the negotiations for the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in the late 1980s. Another high point was his role as a provincial negotiator for the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Settlement and the finalization of agreements with 25 First Nations.

He has held numerous corporate and community memberships and appointments. He served as Vice-Chair of the Saskatchewan Securities Commission, Honorary Consul-General of Japan in Regina, and Dean of the Consular Corps of Regina, and Treasurer of the Ranch Ehrlo Society. He is a member of the Regina Rotary Club, National Association of Federal Retirees, and Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

Mr. Wakabayashi served as Chancellor from 2001 to 2007 supporting notable advancements in the areas of academic programming and research at the University of Regina. This pursuit of excellence enhanced the University’s accessibility of programs and addressed research relevant to the communities it serves, cementing a leadership position.

Among the honours and awards he has received are the: Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2013); Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays (2012); Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, (2012); Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005); Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002); 125th Canada Anniversary Medal (1992); Lieutenant Governor Medal; IPAC Saskatchewan (1967); Harvard’s Littauer Fellowship (1960); and Governor General’s Medal at the University of Saskatchewan (1953). He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2000.

Mr. Wakabayashi lives in Regina with Marjorie, his wife of 60 years. They have two children, Joanne (Richard Pomalis) and Douglas (Nadine Wrubleski), and a grandson, Damon.

The Fall Convocation ceremony starts at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow in the main theatre of the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.

For information on Convocation, please see fall convocation details. If you can't make it to Convocation, the ceremonies are being live-streamed on Access 7.