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Alumni Association recognizes two law alumni with achievement awards

Two College of Law alumni were honoured with University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association Achievement Awards at a special reception on Oct. 23 at Louis’ Loft.

Leanne Bellegarde (LLB’91) was honoured for her leadership in advancing Aboriginal partnership and Merlis Belsher (BComm’57, LLB’63) for his dedicated service and philanthropy to the University of Saskatchewan.

Read more about the two recipients below:

Leanne Bellegarde

Leanne BellegardeAfter being admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1993, Leanne has spent her career developing and advancing professional opportunities for the province’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

Leanne was part of the negotiation team with the Government of Canada on the Treaty Land Entitlement agreement and served as advisor for the Federation of Saskatchewan of Indian Nations (FSIN). She owned her own law firm and has worked for the City of Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, SaskTel and the University of Saskatchewan, where she led Aboriginal initiatives for the Edwards School of Business.

Currently serving as the director of Aboriginal strategy for PotashCorp, Leanne builds and maintains crucial relationships with First Nations and Métis communities, with an emphasis on developing economic prosperity  through employment and business opportunities directly with PotashCorp and as part of the local supply chain.

Her contributions and leadership have been recognized with the Business and Professional Women of Saskatoon’s Athena Award, FSIN’s Circle of Honour Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the United Way’s W.A. Milne Volunteer of the Year award.

Merlis Belsher

Merlis BelsherBorn in McCord Sask. and raised on the family farm, Merlis Belsher’s Saskatchewan roots run deep. 

He became a Chartered Accountant in 1960 and was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1964. In 1965, he purchased Weldon’s Concrete Products, a precast concrete manufacturing business in Saskatoon. He grew the company for 43 years, earning the reputation of a dedicated, honest and well-respected employer and business community member.

A volunteer on numerous Saskatoon-based non-profit, church, sport, political and business association boards, Merlis served on the College of Commerce Dean’s Advisory Council in the 1990s and currently serves on the College of Law Dean’s Advisory Council, providing valuable insight and guidance. He remains a board member of the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan.

Merlis supports many charitable organizations including Luther College in Regina (where he attended high school) and the three Saskatoon hospital foundations. He has generously supported University of Saskatchewan capital campaigns, scholarships, and established the Merlis Belsher Access to Justice Fund, providing experiential learning opportunities for law students.

Merlis has received numerous awards including recently the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a Senior Life Membership from the Benchers of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.