Honorary Degrees

N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may be available at the University Archives.


Honorary Degree recipient, Kisby, 1996 (University Secretary fonds)
Name: Russell Kisby, B.S.P.E., M.Ed.
Convocation date: May 22, 1996
Discipline / contribution: public health ; community service; health and wellness
Citation / biographical information:
Russ Kisby is a University of Saskatchewan graduate who has achieved considerable recognition throughout Canada and abroad. He is best known for his work as one of the founders of ParticipACTION, a non-profit organization that has made a very significant impact on health and health awareness of Canadians for the past 22 years. Mr. Kisby is currently President of ParticipACTiON, a position he has held since 1978.
Born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Russ received his Bachelors Degree in Physical Education from the University of Saskatchewan in 1963. In 1968, he earned a Masters Degree in Community Leadership and Development from Springfield College, Massachusetts.
Russ Kisby’s career exemplifies his commitment to promoting a healthier lifestyle for people of all ages. His career began as a high school health and physical education teacher in Prince Albert (1963-64). In 1964, he was appointed Director of Physical Education for the Montreal Central YMCA, and in 1968 he became National Director of Physical Education, National Council of YMCAs of Canada. When ParticipACTION was inaugurated in 1972, Mr. Kisby was named its National Programs Director. He became Vice-President in 1975, and President in 1978. In over twenty years with ParticipACTION, he has been an integral part of that organizations growth. It is worthwhile to note that Saskatoon was the original pilot community for ParticipACilON’s national program, and “ParticipACTION Challenge Day’ -- which has been adopted by 1000 communities in 35 countries and involves some 20 million people - was originally conceived and developed in Saskatoon.
His responsibilities with ParticipACTION have taken him across the nation and throughout the world as a speaker and ambassador of Canadian physical fitness. He has presented over 150 keynote addresses or workshops throughout North America and in fifteen European and Asian countries.
Internationally, Russ is serving in his seventh year as a member of the International Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Trim and Fitness International Sport for All Association (TAFISA), with representation from over 100 countries. In 1989, he served as Chair of the largest international gathering of this Association at a week-long conference in Toronto.
Nationally, he has been an active member of numerous health, fitness, sport and recreation associations, including The Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (CARPER), where he served as National President in 1982-83 and as Chair of CAHPER’s 50th Anniversary Conference in 1993, Russ Kisby is genuinely respected as a professional and welcomed as a friend by colleagues, business executives and community leaders in North America and abroad. He was honoured with the R. Tait McKenzie Honour Award in 1976, CAHPER’s highest professional award, “In recognition of distinguished service to the profession and unremitting zeal in promoting its aims and oblectives.” He has also received the Government of Ontario Provincial Sport Citation (1979), and the Canada 125 Medal from the Government of Canada in 1992. In 1991, he was the sole recipient of the National Ortho Award from the Canadian Public Health Association, “For outstanding contribution to Health in Canada.”
Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Degree presented by: Robert L. Mirwald, Dean of Physical Education

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