award recipient Linda Nemeth accepts award from Clement's family
Linda Nemeth (second from left) accepts her award from CGPS Dean Debby Burshtyn (right) and members of Kelly Clement's family. Supplied photo.

WCVM employee honoured for dedication to USask graduate students

When University of Saskatchewan (USask) graduate students first enter the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s (WCVM) Department of Veterinary Microbiology, one of the first to greet them is Linda Nemeth — the department’s graduate programs co-ordinator and assistant.

By Kassidy Guy | WCVM Today

Throughout the months and years of their studies, Nemeth is a constant, reassuring presence in the students’ lives. Known to many international graduate students as their “Canadian mom,” Nemeth listens to their successes and challenges. Plus, she’s often the last person that students say goodbye to once they graduate.

On January 18, Nemeth’s commitment to her role and to her department’s graduate students earned her a USask College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) Clement Employee Service Award, named in honour of the late Kelly Clement.

“We are a small department, and it takes a whole village to raise a grad student,” wrote WCVM professor Dr. Emily Jenkins in support of Nemeth’s nomination. “At the heart of our village is Linda.”

Nemeth and Susan Mason, graduate programs advisor at CGPS, are the inaugural recipients of this new award. It was established in memory of Clement, a former CGPS staff member, who was known for her dedication to helping graduate student succeed, her enthusiastic support to coworkers and students, and her ability to bring much-needed clarity to administering graduate studies at USask.

Nemeth and Mason were chosen for the award because they exemplify CGPS’s three 2025 aspirational areas: achieving inclusive academic excellence by mobilizing exceptional graduate student experiences, creating knowledge and skills that supports graduate students beyond traditional degree outcomes, and emboldening USask’s internal and external graduate community.

“This is very meaningful as it is an award in honour of Kelly. She was so dedicated to her work, to CGPS and most especially to the student experience,” said Nemeth. “To be considered to possess some of the characteristics she embodied is very humbling.”

In Nemeth’s role, she’s in contact with graduate students from the time they contact a potential supervisor through to the defence of their thesis. She schedules thesis advisory committee meetings and updates students regularly on their program progress. And sometimes, she’s just there to listen.

“As an international student, I was lucky to have Linda at the department,” wrote one former student in support of Nemeth’s nomination. “She was sometimes a mom, friend and sister to everyone in the department.”

“Early on, as any new grad student, I had a million questions about the program and Saskatoon in general,” stated another student. “All of them were answered by Linda on time and in the nicest way possible, explaining the whole first year to me and reassuring me that everything will work out despite the [COVID] pandemic.”

Nemeth was nominated by colleagues and graduate students — past and present — in the college’s Department of Veterinary Microbiology.

“The vast majority of letters submitted in support of my nomination were from current and former students of mine,” said Nemeth. “One rarely understands the impact you have on the lives of others, but when they put that impact into words, it warms my heart to know that I’ve made a difference.”

Nemeth thanks the members of her department, particularly former department head Dr. Vikram Misra, Dr. Janet Hill (current department head) and graduate chair Dr. Joe Rubin for their dedication to creating a positive student experience and for all she has learned from them. Nemeth is also grateful to her WCVM colleague Lana Abrey for her support and encouragement.

“I am grateful to ‘my’ students, both past and present, who have made my experience as a grad admin such a joy!” said Nemeth.

Read a CGPS story about the award.