Merlis Belsher
Merlis Belsher

Honourary degree for law alumnus

College of Law alumnus Merlis Belsher (LLB'63) received an honourary Doctor of Laws at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Spring Convocation on June 7.

Belsher is a successful businessman and philanthropist whose acts of generosity reflect a deep commitment to volunteerism and community.

Belsher grew up on his family's farm and attended elementary school at McCord, a small village in southwestern Saskatchewan named after his pioneer grandfather.

Tragically, when Belsher was just 15 years old, both of his parents died in a blizzard near their homestead. It was thanks to a caring group of community members, and two older siblings, that he was guided to his new home at Luther College in Regina, where he finished his high school education and his interest in pursuing a university education deepened.

Belsher attended the U of S, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, and was admitted to the Saskatchewan Institute of Chartered Accountants shortly after in 1960. After started an accounting practice to finance further education, he returned to the U of S to pursue a law degree, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1963. Following the Bar exams, he was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1964. He remains an active member in his professions of law and accounting.

A businessman by nature, and choosing to stay in his beloved Saskatchewan, in 1965, Belsher purchased a concrete products manufacturing business in Saskatoon. Over the next 43 years, using innovation, technology, and business acquisitions, he grew his business to become one of the most diversified precast concrete products manufacturers in Western Canada.

Belsher has always been involved in the Saskatoon community, including years of coaching minor and junior hockey, and minor baseball. He has served on boards and committees in many capacities in business, non-profit, church, sports, and political organizations, and on both 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, Belsher believes in giving back to his community. He has been donating to the U of S for decades, and the College of Law, Edwards School of Business and College of Medicine have all benefitted from his continuing philanthropy, as well as Luther College of Regina, Saskatoon Hospital Foundations, Leslie & Irene Dubé Centre for Mental Health, and many more charities.

In 2016, Belsher made the founding donation that is allowing the university to build a new multi-sport complex on campus. His visionary gift will serve generations of university and community athletes, and the university is proud to be opening “Merlis Belsher Place” later this year.