Formerly the College of Commerce, the Edwards School is the University of Saskatchewan’s business school, offering bachelor’s and master’s programs in accounting, commerce, business administration and finance.
As signalled by the school’s namesake, Murray Edwards, executive chairman of Canadian Natural Resources, the Edwards School of Business serves not only as a place for professional networking but as a conduit for corporate influence in academia, making it one of our Top 50 Legitimators.
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Enrollment: 2,000 graduate and undergraduate students
While the University of Saskatchewan promotes a moderate climate action plan to reduce its own operational emissions and support climate action,1 climate change does not appear to feature in the Edwards course offerings, nor is it mentioned on their website. The Edwards School’s extensive ties to the Canadian oil industry help to explain its relative silence on the issue. Canadian Natural Resources executive chairman Murray Edwards plays a key role at the school: the “Murray Edwards Stock Ticker” on the school’s main floor commemorates a donation from Edwards in 2002, and the Murray Edwards Case Room was established as a result of a donation in 2000.2
Other indicators of the school’s corporate influence are abundant. Ted Hanlon—former board member and chair of Wascana Energy and Saskatchewan Oil Patch Hall of Fame member— donated $2 million to Edwards in 2008, founding the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies.3 A $1 million donation from former Cameco CEO Jerry Grandey on behalf of Cameco Corporation underwrote the Grandey Leadership Initiative, providing scholarships for Edwards students.4 Daniel Halyk—CEO of Total Energy Services since 2002—is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Edwards and sits on the Advisory Board of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy. Tracy Robinson, Vice-President Supply Chain at TransCanada Corporation, also sits on the Advisory Council, along with Alan Stewart Hanlon, president and CEO of Gibson Energy, and Tim Gitzel, president and CEO of Cameco.5
While the oil-influenced board of the Edwards School indicates its alignment with extractive interests, its “Dean’s Circle” further exemplifies a culture of corporate sponsorship, which has sparked community concern.6 Dean’s Circle membership is awarded only by invitation and for a fee—all members must commit to making large financial donations to the school in return for greater access to key decision-makers within the university. According to Daphne Taras, Dean’s Circle founder, “members have a true relationship with the Edwards School of Business,” adding that “we know our financial support is a wise investment in the future.”7 The Dean’s Circle includes James Estey, chairman of Prairie Sky Royalty and Gibson Energy, and Tracy Robinson from TransCanada Corporation; both are also Advisory Council members.8
Learn more about Edwards School of Business at LittleSis.org
The intent of the Corporate Mapping Project database is to engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy, by “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Edwards School of Business, “Edwards Dean’s Circle,” accessed April 14th, 2019, http://www.edwardsdeanscircle.ca/index.aspx. Particular concern has centred on the influence of uranium mining firm Cameco on the University of Saskatchewan. See for instance D’Arcy Hande, “Follow the Yellowcake Road: Nuclear Power, Tarsands Extraction, and the Co-option of the University of Saskatchewan,” Briarpatch, February 28, 2012 https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/follow-the-yellowcake-road.