Former U of R student recognized for turning education into a career
- EFN Staff | November 02, 2017
Thomas Benjoe has been recognized for turning his education into a successful business career. Benjoe received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the University of Regina (U of R) at the 2017 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards in October.
“I am truly honoured and humbled to be able to accept this award,” said Benjoe in his acceptance speech.
The awards are about recognizing and acknowledging the U of R’s alumni by celebrating their milestones and achievements. Peggy Macdonald, the U of R Director of Alumni and Community Engagement, said the awards is an opportunity for the university to bring the alumni back to showcase their accomplishments.
“Every year its very difficult because the University has some very distinguished Alumni…we are really thrilled that they could accept this award for us,” said Macdonald. “We have brought together five people who make us very proud. Some of our most distinguished and accomplished alumni who help us tell the story of the University of Regina.”
The Alumni Crowing Achievement Awards have been ongoing since 1993 with a rigorous process to select the recipients. The awards committee collect nominations from faculty, professors and the community and a jury is put together where they have a tough job of deciding who to present the awards to. Benjoe’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award adds to his rap sheet of achievements.
He is currently the president and the CEO of File Hills Qu’Appelle Developments Ltd (FHQ Developments). In 2011, he graduated from the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) with a Bachelor of Administration Degree. After graduation, he had numerous job offers and joined the RBC team in the Aboriginal Banking unit. His career was growing and it grew even more after he accepted his current leadership position with FHQ Developments.
He was recognized with other awards from the Canadian Red Cross earning the Young Humanitarian award and was also one of the acknowledged recipients of CBC’s Future 40 that recognizes various leaders throughout the province.
He said achieving all this success wasn’t easy. He endured a lot of struggles from eating noodles as a student, working ten to twelve-hour shifts and returning home to his family. Benjoe recalls going through some devastating situations in his family but he acknowledges the University was there to help him through those difficult times. He believed in giving back to where he earned his education from. Benjoe helped to develop the FNUniv entrepreneurship camp for Indigenous youth that gives them the opportunity of what the business field has to offer.
“I am constantly thinking of the youth and creating more opportunities for them. That’s always in the back of my mind is how do we continue helping our youth coming up,” Benjoe said. “Everything that I do is based on that…I hope that some of our First Nations youth follow the path that I’ve taken.”
Benjoe thanked and acknowledged the support of his wife and three children, his relatives, friends he made in university who he now considers his brothers and sisters and his mentors in the business world.
“The amount of people [I met] on my journey through university…continues to expand and build upon making me better and understand life in a more positive way,” Benjoe said. “Another big special thank you my grandfather. He’s been by my side since I was small and played a very big part in my life.”