Meet Our Legacy Makers

A Lifetime of Giving Back

From his days as a high school Phys Ed teacher to his days as Dean of Student Services at Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Saskatoon campus—then known as Kelsey Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences—Allan McKenzie remained focused on student success.

Allan graduated with a degree in Physical Education, where he was a member of the Huskies Football and Junior Basketball teams. He carried his interest in sports and recreation forward into his career, starting as a physical education teacher in 1963. He married in 1965, and he and his wife Jan moved to Honolulu, where Jan nursed at Queen’s Medical Centre and Allan completed a master’s degree in Education at the University of Hawaii.

The couple returned to Saskatchewan in the summer of 1967. “We were planning to begin new jobs waiting for us in Edmonton, but once word got out that we were back in Saskatoon, we were pursued with great vigor to remain and work at Kelsey, me as the department head of Recreational Services and Jan as an instructor in the new diploma nursing program,” Allan says.

Allan spent the rest of his career at Sask Polytech, advancing from Recreational Director to Dean of Student Services before retiring as Senior Policy Advisor to the president and board of directors at Sask Polytech Head Office.

 “My passion was the students with whom I worked,” Allan says. As Dean of Student Services, he was responsible for student registration, recreation activities, student counselling and career services, housing, student wellness and community relations. “This broad mandate enabled me to develop strong relationships with members of the community as well as with the program heads and their departments.”

The 1980s and 90s were busy years. In addition to his day-to-day duties, he established and chaired a Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) branch at Kelsey, co-founded the Kelsey Alumni Association and was instrumental in establishing the Kelsey Institute Foundation. A non-profit charity, the Foundation helped increase student scholarships, equipment donations/purchases and program projects that provided student training opportunities while generating revenue for the institution.

“I always believed in the relevance of the ‘hands on’ education and training we provided, and I wanted to ensure a high standard of education for the future,” Allan says. “We had an excellent relationship with local businesses and industry, and I saw a great opportunity to strengthen these relationships and promote fundraising through the establishment of a foundation.”

After his decades-long investment in students, it seemed fitting when Allan made a legacy gift that will support future generations at Sask Polytech.

“As a donor, I prefer to give where I am convinced there is a real need and where I believe my donation will help make the world a better place,” Allan says. “My motivation in leaving a life insurance legacy was to contribute to the sustainability of the Saskatoon Campus as a centre of excellence. I believed my donation would ease the financial burden of future students, so they could successfully complete their chosen programs, and encourage others to apply for their education.”

“I also hoped my lead would influence other staff and community members to leave legacy gifts. Working at Kelsey Institute was a crucial part of my life and I felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to show my appreciation,” he says.

Looking back on a lifetime of giving back to his profession and his community, Allan has a simple message for others considering a planned gift to Sask Polytech. “Do not put it off,” he says. “The gift can be dedicated to an area one is passionate about and the contribution can be transformative and long lasting.”

An Ordinary Man - An Extraordinary Legacy

In a written tribute, Linda Hornung describes her uncle, Melvin Sloat, as an everyday man with a big heart. “Mel was one of 11 children born to a farm family that raised average good kids. He was taught to work hard, to be self-sufficient, to help others, to live a good life. And he did, without thinking much about it. It was just how he lived,” Linda says.

After Melvin passed away, his will revealed what his family and friends knew so well—Melvin’s down-to-earth kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity. Melvin left a gift to the future in his will, including a bequest to Sask Polytech to support future students in their career goals.

“Melvin believed in helping young people succeed,” Linda says. “He used his will to pass along his positive attitude toward the future, his zest for life and his willingness to work for things.”

Melvin understood that his legacy gift to Sask Polytech would have a lasting impact, not only on individual students but on Saskatchewan’s economic well-being and quality of life. Sask Polytech’s practical, hands-on approach to post-secondary education resonated with his practical nature.

Born in 1927 and raised on the farm, Melvin spent almost all his working life at the STC bus garage in Regina. He was married to Claire Remacle for over 60 years. Although they did not have children of their own, they enjoyed regaling nieces and nephews with stories about their camping, hunting and fishing adventures. There was the time a bear reached a paw through the camper window or the time they watched a mother fox raise a litter of playful cubs. Even Melvin’s ongoing rivalry with his neighbour to grow the season’s biggest potato became a popular part of family lore.

Melvin and Claire were fundamentally prairie people. They bought only what they could afford. Their house was just the right size for them, their camper was homey but not large, and their boat and motorcycle were fun but not flashy. “They weren’t wealthy but shared what they had,” Linda says.

This connection to community inspired Melvin’s legacy gift to Sask Polytech. Legacy makers like Melvin often choose a bequest by will because they understand life’s challenges and want to do something to help future generations. Melvin wanted his legacy to help young people get the education they needed to build a successful career. His gift reflects the values he embraced in life, while empowering future generations.

“Melvin was a very special everyday man, who was loved dearly by everyone he met,” Linda says. “His legacy is not only the help he gave others, but also what a helping hand, a smile, a belief in others and a positive attitude can do to build a better world.”

Giving Back to Future Generations

When Karl Nelson decided to go back to school at age 40, he was a little nervous. At Sask Polytech, he remembers being supported through the process of becoming a student again. “Staff and faculty made it simple, they made all the difference for me,” he says.

Karl’s experience inspired him to dedicate a portion of his estate to Sask Polytech for program development. “It was an opportunity to do something for the future, for people who haven’t even been born yet.”


Legacy Makers Hope to Inspire Future Chefs

R Campbell & P Ottman“Changing lives one meal at a time.” So reads the first line of Sask Polytech alumnus Reg Campbell’s resume. Campbell is an award-winning Red Seal Interprovincial chef with 20 plus years’ experience managing food service quality and delivery for provincial government institutions. Since retiring in September 2020, he and husband Paul Ottmann have been thinking a lot about the future—what they want to do next and what legacy they want to leave. As a result, Reg and Paul have become Legacy Makers at Sask Polytech.

“We’ve made a legacy gift in our will for students who are passionate about food and excel academically in the Culinary Arts diploma program at Sask Polytech,” Reg says. “Not every family can afford to send their kids to post-secondary. We thought a legacy gift would be a great way to help someone fulfill their dreams of becoming a chef.”

“It just takes one person to plant the seed,” Paul adds, “then you hope that one day they will pay it forward.”


“The smallest gift can make the biggest impact”  ~ Reg Campbell


Reg found his passion for cooking early in life. “I grew up on a mixed farm, there was always lots of work to be done, and lots of cooking. When I was in public school I helped my mom prepare meals to take to the field during planting and harvest.  That’s where my passion started,” Reg says.

After high school he decided to enrol in what was then the commercial cooking program at Kelsey Institute, the predecessor to the Culinary Arts program at Sask Polytech’s Saskatoon campus.

“My time at Sask Polytech was probably one of the best years of my learning experience. It was a family-like environment where the instructors and staff cared enough about students to create a safe environment for everyone, and I hear it’s still like that,” Reg says. “I still keep in touch with some of my classmates—I’ve even hired some of them over the years.”

As graduation drew near, Reg was offered a job as a cook at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.

Reg started part-time and before long found himself actually running the food service department. Over the course of a 37-year career, he moved on to supervisory and management roles at the Red Willow Centre and Community Training Centre in Saskatoon.

Paul grew up on a farm near Cambridge, Ontario. He earned a Business Administration Accounting diploma from Conestoga College. He spent the first 15 years of his career in various business roles with Imperial Tobacco before advancing his career into leadership roles.  Since moving to Saskatoon in 2011, Paul has led digital and cultural strategic transformations for the public and private sector.

He is currently working with a potash logistics company while also completing his executive MBA through the University of Regina.

The future is full of possibilities for Reg and Paul, including a shared vision for a spiritual bed & breakfast experience focused on yoga, meditation, mediumship readings. Reiki, wholistic foods and more. It’s this same sense of possibility that they hope their legacy gift will support in tomorrow’s Culinary Arts students.


“I would encourage anyone thinking of leaving a gift in their will to Sask Polytech; Life is about experiences; we hope our gift will allow several people the opportunity to realize their dreams.’ Paul Ottmann


Helping students realize their dreams

Growing up on the family farm in Paswegin (east of Saskatoon near Quill Lakes), Edward learned the value of hard work and education early on. His parents immigrated to Canada from Poland after the Second World War. They came with nothing but a dream—a dream to make a better life for their children.

Edward followed his parents’ example. While working alongside his father on the family farm, Edward attended the Agricultural Mechanics program at the Sask Polytech, Saskatoon campus, to improve his skills. He kept learning lifelong, earning a pilot’s license, serving on Co-op and Wheat Pool boards and volunteering at the Western Development Museum. He was also a passionate musician who loved to play at local dances.

Edward wanted to provide an opportunity for young people to succeed, despite the obstacles they might face in life, so he left a gift in his will to Saskatchewan Polytechnic to establish the Kwasnik Education Trust Awards. The Kwasnik Awards support students in Sask Polytech’s Agricultural Equipment Technician, Machinist and Welding programs in Saskatoon.

Keli was one of the first recipients of the Kwasnik Education Trust Award. After working at a desk for several years, Keli decided a sedentary job was not the right fit. She began exploring other types of work and discovered Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Women in Trades and Technology course. “I was most excited about the welding aspect,” she says. “After the course, I decided to take a leap of faith and apply for the Welding program.”

Keli’s biggest fear in going back to school was dealing with the financial impact of not being able to work full time, yet still having expenses to cover. “The costs of tuition, equipment, housing, groceries, etc. is quite intimidating, but receiving the Kwasnik Education Trust Award helps take some of the financial burden off of my shoulders.”

Receiving the Kwasnik Award has made a big difference to Keli. “I’m very grateful. The fact that someone was willing to leave a gift in their will to help students pursue their chosen career with education is very admirable. Receiving the Kwasnik Education Trust Award definitely encouraged me to do the best that I possibly could throughout the program knowing that someone else believed in me enough to assist and aid my educational future.”

Edward would be pleased to know his legacy is making a difference. He chose to leave a gift to Saskatchewan Polytechnic because he wanted to help young people realize their dreams. His legacy lives on through the Kwasnik Award recipients, who are using their Sask Polytech education to build better lives for themselves and their families.


Supporting Students From Single Parent Homes

After her husband died in 2007, Diane established an awards program in his honour: the Mel J. Aide Bursary and Mel J. Aide Scholarship for Architectural Technology students (Mel was an alumnus, class of ‘74). Her husband was raised in a single parent home and understood the struggle involved, so Diane directed the awards towards students who were either raised by single parents or are single parents raising children.

“My husband’s death at the very young age of 55, added to the fact that we had no children, made me decide to leave something in his name so he would be remembered long after his passing,” Diane says. Since my whole lifestyle pretty much is a result of the education he received at SIAST back in the 70s, I thought Sask Polytech would be a good place to start.”

Diane recently decided to leave a gift in her will to ensure the Mel J. Aide awards continue to benefit students from single parent homes well into the future. "I think Sask Polytech is a remarkable place, and I'm hoping to help young people with financial burdens get the education they desire."

For anyone thinking of making a planned gift to Sask Polytech, Diane shares some encouraging words. "Any amount of money will help people applying for bursaries or scholarships. In my case, with no children to inherit, I think Sask Polytech is a great place to name as a beneficiary."


Trades Programs Need Our Support, Too!

 As a university grad with a BA in both Social Work and English, Jerry has always valued education. That’s why he’s supported several educational institutions in his will - including Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Though he never attended himself, he’s left a portion of his estate to Sask Polytech to establish the Jerry Deshaye Entrance Bursary for students enrolled in a full-time trades related program.

 “I feel that trades programs are not given the same support as university programs,” Jerry says. “When you’re looking for a qualified plumber or carpenter to do some work for you, you don’t care whether they have a degree in English, you just care how well they were trained in their trade!”