2019 Gift Announcements



 Joseph A. Remai School of Construction | Spartan ControlsYellow Friendship Benches 

Local businessman-philanthropist donates $5M to Saskatchewan Polytechnic

School of Construction renamed Joseph A. Remai School of Construction

December 11, 2019 – Saskatchewan Polytechnic has received the largest gift in its history - $5 million from Saskatoon businessman-philanthropist, Joseph A. Remai. In recognition of his gift, the School of Construction has been renamed the Joseph A. Remai School of Construction.

“I am passionate about education, Saskatchewan’s construction industry and our wonderful community,” says Mr. Remai. “It is my many years of hard work in construction that allows me to give today. Many Saskatchewan Polytechnic graduates, including those from the School of Construction, have been employed by my company. The hands-on experience, skills and strong work-ethic they learn as students makes them great employees.”

“This is an important event in the history of our institution. Thank you Mr. Remai for your generous donation to Saskatchewan Polytechnic.” says Dr. Larry Rosia. “This significant contribution will enable Saskatchewan Polytechnic to support our students and industry partners to meet their education and business goals. Your commitment, dedication and passion for education will help Joseph A. Remai School of Construction graduates be equipped for the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

In a career that has spanned six decades, Remai has built thousands of multi-residential condominium and rental units, as well as commercial and hotel properties, primarily in Saskatchewan. Throughout this time, Remai’s companies have hired many Sask Polytech graduates and apprentices to complete these projects. Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Joseph A. Remai School of Construction includes applied certificates, certificates, degrees, diplomas and apprenticeship training in several industries including architectural technologies, bricklayer, carpentry, electrician, plumbing and other trades.

Remai was one of ten children growing up on a farm near Carrot River, Saskatchewan. He completed an engineering degree before starting his construction career alongside his brothers Frank and John. Since that time, he has continued to be involved in construction and real estate in Saskatchewan.

Remai is well-known for his numerous philanthropic contributions throughout Saskatoon including health care, arts and culture and cause-based social agencies.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.

Spartan Controls $1.015M donation supports students, strengthens Saskatchewan Polytechnic engineering programs

Generous donation enhances Instrumentation Engineering Technology and Power Engineering Technology programs

September 17, 2019 – Spartan Controls’ $1.015 million donation to Saskatchewan Polytechnic will support student success. Over the next 10 years, new equipment will be provided to continuously update the Instrumentation Engineering Technology and Power Engineering Technology training labs with leading edge technology.

“Spartan Controls is a long-standing partner of Saskatchewan Polytechnic and our Instrumentation Engineering Technology program,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “We are proud of this relationship and are delighted Spartan Controls has expanded their support into the Power Engineering Technology program. Thank you to Spartan Controls for your generosity and continued investment in our students.”

Spartan’s donation includes servicing and supports for the new equipment and training services at Moose Jaw and Saskatoon campuses to ensure students, faculty and staff are up to date on the newest technology and trends that are happening in industry.

A portion of the gift is designated to continue to support student awards. The Spartan Controls student awards program will provide recognition and support to students who are leaders in the Instrumentation Engineering Technology program, are achieving academic success and have a financial need.

“Spartan Controls is extremely proud to have the opportunity to continue our support of Sask Polytech. We have had a strong relationship with Sask Polytech for many years and look forward to the future,” says Grant Wilde, Spartan Controls president and CEO. “In the Industrial Automation sector, the technologies and trends change very rapidly. Our commitment will help to ensure that students, faculty and staff are exposed and trained on the latest technologies, products, and solutions. Having this exposure helps to ensure graduates are ready to significantly contribute to their future employers success. Our support also provides Spartan with the opportunity to work with future leaders and even future Spartans.”

Spartan Controls began supporting Instrumentation Engineering Technology student awards in 1972. The partnership evolved over the years and in 2007 the Instrumentation Engineering Technology lab was renamed the Spartan Controls Centre for Instrumentation Technology. Like many Sask Polytech industry partners, Spartan Controls is part of a Program Advisory Committee (PAC). PACs provide constant input into current opportunities and challenges faced by industry and help ensure curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of employers.

Today’s donation from Spartan Controls will ensure future students in the Instrumentation and Power Engineering programs have access to the most up to date industry equipment to enhance their applied learning opportunities.

About Spartan Controls: Spartan Controls is the recognized leading provider of industrial automation, valves, measurement and process control solutions and services for process industries in Western Canada. For over 55 years, Spartan has provided Customers with high performance automation solutions, industry expertise, lifecycle support, and technical training – delivering value our Customers want. Our automation solutions are used in all process industries including oil and gas, oil sands, mining, pulp and paper, power, pipeline, and municipal. With our employees (referred to as Spartans!) living and working in 14 communities across Western Canada, we are dedicated to providing exceptional Customer experiences where expertise and collaboration come together.


Friendship Benches at Saskatchewan Polytechnic promotes conversations about wellness

Yellow Friendship Benches have been installed at Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon campuses to encourage conversations about mental health

January 29, 2019 – Bright and yellow, these benches have a very specific purpose – to encourage conversations about mental health. Through a special gift provided by the Annie's Friends Foundation established by Dr. Anne Neufeld, former provost and vice-president, Academic for Sask Polytech, Friendships Benches have been installed at Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Prince Albert campuses.

Tragically, Sam Fiorella was inspired to found The Friendship Bench initiative after the loss of his son, Lucas. At the time, Lucas was a university student and Fiorella and his family were unaware he was suffering with depression. The Friendship Bench was created to help others open up before it’s too late. Regina campus received a Friendship Bench in May 2017.

The Friendship Bench initiative, has set out to install the yellow benches across the country to:

  • Encourage peer-to-peer conversation about mental health among students in order to drive greater awareness of the disease and greater recognition of the symptoms, knowledge of prevention and support services available.
  • Connect students to available on-campus and in-community mental health resources.
  • Educate students and parents about the causes and signs of the various forms of mental illness so students may be more aware of their own mental health and that of their friends.

“The curtain around the stigma of mental health is now being lifted because of events like this and because of the generosity and courage of people like Dr. Anne Neufeld and Sam Fiorella,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “At Sask Polytech we believe in the importance of health and wellness supports to assist our students and employees in reaching their full potential. Thank you Dr. Neufeld for your generous donation and Mr. Fiorella for your tireless advocacy efforts.”

“I’ve always been passionate about health and wellness,” says Dr. Anne Neufeld, founder of Annie's Friends Foundation. “Initiatives such as the Friendship Bench encourage students, faculty and staff to find the support they need to be successful in achieving their educational, career and life goals.”

The Friendship Benches are being installed in advance of Bell Let’s Talk day on January 30 to support and encourage students to engage in conversations about mental health.

Annie’s Friends Foundation, founded by Canadian entrepreneur Dr. Anne Neufeld, supports initiatives in health and wellness, education and the arts. The foundation does not accept unsolicited applications. Annie’s Friends Foundation is affiliated with the TD Private Giving Foundation.

The Friendship Bench hopes to end the stigma about mental health and encourages student-to-student conversations about mental health, facilitates peer-to-peer support networks, and funds on-campus mental health programs with the installation of yellow Friendship Bench. To learn more about The Friendship Bench, visit www.thefriendshipbench.org.