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.

Name: Merlis Belsher
Convocation date: June 6, 2018
Discipline / contribution: philanthropy ; business and industry; sports
Citation / biographical information:
Merlis Belsher is a successful businessman and philanthropist whose acts of generosity reflect a deep commitment to volunteerism and community. Mr. Belsher grew up on the family farm and attended elementary school at McCord, a small village in southwestern Saskatchewan named after his pioneer grandfather. Following the accidental death of his parents at age 15 Merlis entered Luther College in Regina to complete grades 11 and 12. He attended the University of Saskatchewan to obtain a Bachelor of Commerce degree and thereafter was admitted to the Saskatchewan Institute of Chartered Accountants. Mr. Belsher started an accounting practice to finance further education. He returned to the U of S to graduate with a Bachelor of Law degree and following the Bar exams was admitted in 1964 to the Law Society of Saskatchewan. Belsher remains an active member in his professions of law and accounting. Choosing to remain in the province that he loves, in 1965 with assistance from a friendly bank and the business owners, he acquired ownership in a manufacturing business in Saskatoon. Over the next 43 years using innovation, technology, and business acquisitions, he grew this business to become one of the most diversified precast concrete products manufacturers in Western Canada. This Saskatoon manufacturing business was sold in 2008 to a Vancouver/Chicago based private equity firm. Belsher is currently a limited partner with this firm. Mr. Belsher has always been involved in his community in Saskatoon. This included years of coaching minor/junior hockey and minor baseball. He has served on boards and committees in many capacities in business, non-profit, church, sports, and political organizations. Currently, he serves on one committee in each profession. He has served on the College of Commerce (now Edwards School of Business) and the College of Law’s Deans Advisory Counsel. Influenced by his parents at a young age, Mr. Belsher believes in giving back to his community. The University of Saskatchewan, including the College of Law, Edwards School of Business and College of Medicine, Luther College of Regina, Saskatoon Hospital Foundations, Leslie & Irene Dubé Centre for Mental Health, and many charities are benefactors of Mr. Belsher's ongoing philanthropic endeavours. Over his career he has received numerous major awards including a U of S Alumni Achievement Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Senior Life Membership from the Law Society of Saskatchewan, the Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant designation from CPA Saskatchewan and was named the 2018 recipient of the Sabex Hall of Fame Award by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Belsher remains connected “to his roots” with farming interests at McCord. He has four sons, one daughter and three grandchildren.
Degree received: Doctor of Laws

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