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USask graduate supports classroom renovation project

Shannon Boklaschuk

University of Saskatchewan (USask) graduate Arthur (Art) Korpach (BComm’79) believes in the power of post-secondary education to help launch careers and to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to make a positive impact in the world.

Korpach first came to USask as an undergraduate student in the fall of 1975—pursuing a double major in accounting and finance—before pursuing a Chartered Accountant (CA) designation and subsequently embarking on a 27-year career in the investment banking sector. Decades later, he looks back on his time as an undergraduate student with fondness and appreciation.

“For many of us, it was our start,” he said. “When we came out of university, we had great opportunities.”

Korpach is now retired from his executive role and lives with his wife, Deborah (Deb), in Calgary, Alta. The Korpach family was recently inspired to give to USask through the Be What the World Needs Campaign—the most ambitious campaign in Saskatchewan’s history—with a gift of more than $420,000 to support the renovation of room 142 at the Edwards School of Business.

As a result of the family’s generous gift, renovations will begin this summer. The room will be named The Korpach Family Classroom and will provide a new seminar space for graduate students as well as undergraduate students in upper-year experiential learning courses. Expanding the number of seats from 20 to 36 and embedding computer stations within the seminar room will enable greater integration of technology into assignments and class discussions.

“The Korpach Family Classroom demonstrates our commitment to preparing learners the world needs,” said Edwards School of Business Dean Dr. Keith Willoughby (PhD). “Art and Deb Korpach, longtime supporters and friends of Edwards, have generously contributed to renovating an underutilized area of the school. Their investment reflects our shared commitment to student growth and success, enhancing learning, and developing socially conscious professionals.”

Korpach said universities should help learners grow and develop critical-thinking skills, and he believes USask is playing an important role in students’ development as future leaders. The university’s mission, vision, and values continue to resonate with him 45 years after his graduation.

“We think the university is doing well,” he said. “We think it’s great for the province and we think it’s on a good path.”

Korpach, who grew up on a farm in northern Saskatchewan, was encouraged to get an education and to attend university by his father. Korpach’s father didn’t have the opportunity to study at the post-secondary level, but he wanted that for his children.

“My dad—unfortunately in his era—had to leave school after Grade 8,” said Korpach. “He was the oldest of three brothers and he started working in the pulpwood camps in the winter and on the farm in the summer. He ultimately earned his Grade 12 certificate through a special program for mature adults 30 years later.”

Korpach’s father and mother instilled in him a strong work ethic and the desire to learn, leading Korpach to complete his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1979 at USask, graduating with great distinction, before attending Harvard University, where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree.

Since then, Korpach has had a long and successful career in business, serving as a vice-chair of CIBC World Markets and as head of its global oil and gas investment banking business. He has served in other roles as well, including as a member of the board of directors of Canadian Oil Sands Limited, Canexus Corporation, Freehold Royalties Ltd., Inter Pipeline Ltd., and HPC Energy Services Ltd. Korpach and his family are entrepreneurs at heart and built the Golfuture YYC business. He is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant, past chair of the Accounting Standards Board of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a Chartered Business Valuator, and holds the designation of ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Korpach has been an active member of his community, supporting philanthropy as a board member and past chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta and the United Way of Calgary and Area. He also served as a Jarislowsky Fellow in Business Management at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary and as a board member of Mount Royal University.

Korpach and his wife, Deb, have three adult sons. Their youngest son, Bennett, is studying chemical engineering at USask’s College of Engineering and recently moved to St. Paul, Alta., to begin a 16-month co-op term. The couple’s eldest son, Sean, studied software engineering at the University of British Columbia, while their middle son, Thomas, graduated from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario.

In 2004, Art and Deb Korpach created The Korpach Family Scholarship endowment fund at the Edwards School of Business, which now supports six students annually. The Korpach Family Scholarship is open to continuing USask undergraduate students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Students are selected based on their academic achievements and a written statement detailing their leadership activities and their determination to succeed.

The Be What the World Needs Campaign, which has an ambitious goal of $500 million, was the impetus for the Korpach family’s latest gift, which will be allocated to the classroom renovation.

“USask has meant so much to me and my family and we are very pleased to help create opportunities for others,” said Korpach.

Dr. Airini (PhD), USask’s provost and vice-president academic, said the university is grateful to the alumni and donors who support students in achieving their goals.

“Research into graduate outcomes shows those with a university degree enjoy better employment prospects and greater annual earnings. USask is a great choice for careers that make a difference,” said Airini.

“As our University Plan highlights, USask is committed to its important role in nurturing the courageous curiosity that imagines a brighter future. Impactful gifts to our university, such as the generous contribution from the Korpach family, will help our students be what the world needs.”

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