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Posted: June 6, 2018 11:45 a.m.

Roberta McKay and Elmer Brenner’s contributions to community have been recognized in many ways over the years. Now, you can add U of R honorary degrees to the list.
Roberta McKay and Elmer Brenner’s contributions to community have been recognized in many ways over the years. Now, you can add U of R honorary degrees to the list. Photo courtesy of Craig Clendening, Camera One.

For their many contributions to community life, well-known philanthropists Roberta McKay and Elmer Brenner will receive honorary degrees at the University of Regina Convocation ceremony on June 7.

McKay, a dermatologist, and Brenner, a visual artist and designer, have over the years touched the lives of many people, particularly in the arts and health care. The couple founded the Saskatchewan Health Care Excellence Awards, which recognized the accomplishments of outstanding health care workers. They are also sponsors behind the free Regina Symphony Orchestra programs at local library branches, as well as supporters of the Regina Music Festival Association, and Saskatchewan Fashion Week’s annual Saskatchewan Fashion Forward Designer Award.

The couple is committed to the preservation and rejuvenation of the University of Regina’s College Avenue Campus (CAC). They served in an advisory capacity while the University was developing plans for what became the CAC Renewal Project, and in 2012, inspired by the University’s commitment to revitalize Darke Hall, donating $250,000 to support the project. Two years later — following the advice of pianist Angela Hewitt, who has performed in Darke Hall — they donated a world-class Fazioli piano for use at the historic venue. The piano is in storage while Darke Hall is being refurbished, however McKay is quick to point out that once the doors re-open, the piano will be used not only by professionals, but also students. Brenner says, “We want students to experience what it is like to play a high-calibre piano.”

Over the years, Brenner and McKay have been recognized in a variety of ways for their many contributions to the community. The City of Regina named Brenner Volunteer of the Year in 1978-79 and CTV Regina chose McKay as Citizen of the Year in 2007.

Brenner and McKay share that they are pleased to be honoured by the University, expressing their appreciation for its steadfast commitment to preserve Darke Hall, a notable part of Regina’s cultural hub, for generations to come.

They join a list of esteemed University of Regina honorary degree recipients, including Sheldon Kennedy (June 6) and Brad Hornung (June 8).