Image Credit: Lifetouch Canada
Image Credit: Lifetouch Canada

Merlis Belsher receives honorary diploma at Saskatoon Convocation

This year marks 15 years since Saskatchewan Polytechnic awarded its first honorary diploma. This annual tradition recognizes extraordinary individuals for their distinguished achievements and for modelling the institution’s vision and values.

The recipient of the Saskatoon campus honorary diploma is Merlis Belsher. Merlis 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, Merlis entered Luther College in Regina to complete grades 11 and 12. He attended the University of Saskatchewan earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He continued his education to become a Chartered Accountant. Merlis then returned to the U of S to earn a Bachelor of Law degree following which he was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

One year following admission to the Bar as a lawyer, with assistance from a friendly bank and the company vendors, Merlis was able to acquire ownership of a Saskatoon based concrete products manufacturing company. His entire career was in Saskatchewan. Together with diligent employees he grew this manufacturing operation to become one of the most diversified precast concrete plants in Western Canada. The business was sold in 2008. Attached to his roots, he continues to have farming interests at McCord.

Merlis has always been involved in his community in Saskatoon. This included years serving in non-profit, church, business, political organizations and years of involvement in sports as a coach and supporter.

His philanthropic endeavours include the University of Saskatchewan, Luther College of Regina, Royal University Hospital Foundation, St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation, and initiatives to improve health care, education and ongoing support of charities. He is most proud of two areas of support with special needs: an Access to Justice Fund that provides experiential learning opportunities for law students to serve the public, and the sponsorships of the Adult and Adolescence wing in the Irene and Leslie Dube Mental Health Centre in Saskatoon.

During his career Merlis has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctor of Law and Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Saskatchewan, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Senior Life Membership from the Law Society of Saskatchewan, designation as Fellow from the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Saskatchewan, the SABEX Hall of Fame Award by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, and the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Award.

Merlis has one daughter, four sons and three grandchildren.

Congratulations on your honorary diploma Merlis!

Since the first honorary diploma was awarded in 2003, Sask Polytech has been recognizing extraordinary individuals who model the institution's vision and values. The contributions made by the members of this elite group help cultivate an educational environment focused on applied learning and innovative research.

View past recipients online.

Published May 2019.