The Friend of the College award is presented annually to recognize an individual, group of individuals or an organization that has made a noteworthy contribution to advance the College of Kinesiology such as;
- Impacted students or participants in the program,
- Increased engagement of alumni, friends or donors,
- Improved the curriculum or program offering,
- Provided support to the program
- And/or acted as an advocate for the College and its programs.
This year, the college is excited to present the award to Mr. Derek Rope.
Derek Rope is a member of Pasqua First Nation and makes his home with his family in Saskatoon. Derek graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Education through ITEP and is a proud Huskie Track and Field Alumni.
Derek’s personal and professional journey has afforded him the opportunity to work in a variety of sectors from education to mining and technology. In 2015, Derek followed his entrepreneurial spirit and is currently the owner of three Saskatoon-based companies that share his passion for youth sport and community building.
No matter how busy he may be, he has continued to be a supporter of Huskie Athletics and the college for several years.
Over the last three years, he has volunteered his expertise in advising organizations in Indigenous engagement, consultation, and awareness to Huskie Athletics administration.
His knowledge has guided Huskie Athletics towards Indigenous inclusion in countless ways and hours. He has been a part of an Indigenous Strategy Focus Group, a working group dedicated to the development and exploration of Indigenous engagement strategies supporting the vision and priorities of the University of Saskatchewan. Derek is an incredibly creative individual, whose passion is bringing people together.
In 2022, Derek Rope took on the role of volunteer chair for Huskie Athletics host committee for the 2023 USPORT Track and Field Championships. His leadership, guidance, assistance, hard work, and passion for this event was beyond exceptional and much of the success of the event goes to his contribution, collaborative leadership, and encouragement to “trust the process”.
The best example during the preparations of this event was his idea of beaded lanyards for all participants. Imagine, someone saying we can hand bead 800 lanyards, in just a few short months, to gift every participant at a USPORT National Championship.
Most working with Derek thought he was crazy but from initiating conversations within the community, helping with procurement of supplies, working through payments, finding sponsorship for the program, coordinating the creation of the project’s highlight video, Derek’s leadership and connection made it happen.
In addition to his contributions to Huskie Athletics, Derek has meaningfully enhanced the College’s undergraduate program. Derek contributed, both formally and informally, to the development and implementation of KIN 306: Introduction to Indigenous Wellness, which is now a required course in our undergraduate program. Through his close relationships with faculty in the College, Derek provided invaluable input on the initial direction of the course, regularly consulting with faculty on course content, guest speakers, and student experiences. He often served as a liaison with faculty to provide community-based opportunities for students’ course assignments, and larger community involvement beyond course credit.
During the first four years of the course offering, Derek graciously provided multiple guest lectures whereby students had the opportunity to learn with and from Derek. Derek humbly brought his knowledge to the class, often oscillating between sharing personal stories, demonstrating ongoing systemic injustices for Indigenous peoples, and amplifying community strengths. Derek’s guest lectures were always eye-opening for students and often identified on class evaluations as a highlight in the course. As a perfect extension of his significant and ongoing contributions to KIN 306, Derek has journeyed into serving as co-instructor of the course.
Derek has impacted hundreds of undergraduate students and student-athletes, enhanced our curriculum, and supported the undergraduate program by offering his time, energy, and expertise. We a proud to present this year’s Friend of the College Award to Derek Rope.