Jacqui Shumiatcher (left) with vice president of university relations, Debra Pozega Osburn (right), at the 16th annual AFP National Philanthropy Day luncheon. Photo by U of S Communications.
Jacqui Shumiatcher (left) with vice president of university relations, Debra Pozega Osburn (right), at the 16th annual AFP National Philanthropy Day luncheon. Photo by U of S Communications.

WCVM donor receives philanthropy award

As part of National Philanthropy Day celebrations, the Saskatoon chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals awarded Jacqui Shumiatcher for her decades of generosity to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and its students.

At a National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Nov. 15, Jacqui was recognized with an Honoured Supporter Award—one of 23 awards presented by the association to individuals, families and organizations who have made a positive difference in our community.

Jacqui has always followed her heart with her charitable initiatives, and her support of the U of S began the same way.

Many years ago, Jacqui's beloved pet poodle—Mr. Pickwick—escaped, ran out onto a busy street and was hit by a vehicle. After rushing the wounded pup to a clinic in Regina with a broken leg, she was referred to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) as she was told the college had better resources to treat him. Before long, Mr. Pickwick was properly healed and back at home with Jacqui.

"I am forever grateful for what they did for him," Jacqui said of the WCVM. "I was very impressed at how the students took care of not only Mr. Pickwick, but the horses and all the other animals."

Since then, Jacqui has been supporting the Companion Animal Health Fund, which supports pet health research studies and contributes to specialized training of graduate students. The fund also purchases vital equipment that enhances animal health care and veterinary training at the WCVM.

Jacqui and her late husband, Morris, have also been champions for the College of Law. The Shumiatchers established the Morris and Jacqui Shumiatcher Scholarship in Law, which supports students who are entering the program.

Morris was one of Canada's most successful lawyers; His most notable achievement was drafting the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights, which subsequently served as the model for Canada's Bill of Rights.

Jacqui and Morris were very impressed with the U of S law grads they encountered and wanted to make sure that other students throughout the province could benefit from the program.

"We knew several young people who wanted to study law, but didn't have the means," said Jacqui. "By creating this scholarship, we wanted to help out aspiring lawyers and make sure they had an opportunity to pursue their interest."

One of the most recent recipients of the scholarship is Jacob Tolton-Morley, who says he will always be grateful for the generous contribution. "I was honoured to receive this award from one of Saskatchewan's most distinguished philanthropists," said Tolton-Morley. "It has allowed me to focus more of my time on academics and get the most out of my experience at the U of S."

In addition to supporting scholarships for the WCVM and the College of Law, Jacqui has been a long-time member of the Greystone Circle, a U of S society that honours donors who have made pledged estate gifts to the university and its students.

Previously receiving such honours as the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and Regina's Citizen of the Year in 2004, Jacqui is delighted and humbled that the Honoured Supporter Award celebrates her deep commitment to the U of S. "It's a surprise to get recognized because, to me, giving back feels natural and feels like what I should be doing. But I'm thrilled!"

For National Philanthropy Day, Jacqui encourages everyone to find their passionate causes and find ways to support them. "I appreciate anyone who gives back," she said. "When you donate to worthy causes and you see the results, it gives you an amazing feeling knowing you can help somebody. It doesn't matter how much you can give because a little bit to some people can be a lot."

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