Board Chair Emeritus Kurt Schlachter to be awarded University of Lethbridge honorary degree

University of Lethbridge Board Chair Emeritus Kurt Schlachter KC (BSc ’00) helped guide the University through an important period of growth and transition while remaining dedicated to his professional law practice and volunteer and philanthropic activities. Recognizing his dedication to community building, the University will award Schlachter with an honorary degree at Spring 2024 Convocation.

“Strong, steady leadership is essential for an organization to thrive and with Kurt Schlachter as Board of Governors Chair, the University of Lethbridge was able to navigate some very difficult circumstances and remain true to its vision,” says ULethbridge Chancellor Terry Whitehead (BA ’94). “Great change and growth were realized during his tenure and the University is a stronger institution as a result. We’re very pleased to recognize Kurt’s longstanding dedication to the mission of the University of Lethbridge by awarding him an honorary degree.”

Kurt Schlachter helped guide the University through an important period of growth and transition.

The University of Lethbridge will present Kurt Schlachter with an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at Spring 2024 Convocation, Ceremony IV, on Friday, May 31, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. in the 1st Choice Savings Centre gymnasium.

Kurt Schlachter

It is often through the most difficult circumstances that the most valuable leaders emerge. Kurt Schlachter KC (BSc ’00), former Chair of the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors, is one of those leaders who consistently shows a steady hand and cultivates a consensus-building culture during the most trying times.

A fourth generation Albertan who grew up on a family farm near Bow Island, Alberta, Schlachter proudly followed his mother, Juanita Schlachter, as a ULethbridge graduate. He earned a Bachler of Science in Neuroscience with Honours from ULethbridge in 2000, then completed a Juris Doctor from the University of Saskatchewan in 2003.

Upon joining Stringam Denecky LLP in 2003, Schlachter’s passion for the business of law and entrepreneurship shone as he quickly established his practice and reputation in the community. By 2010, he was invited to be a partner as the firm evolved into Stringam LLP. In 2015, he was named one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 under 40, and a year later was elected to be the firm’s Regional Managing Partner. In 2022, Schlachter was awarded the designation of King’s Counsel by the Province of Alberta, and in 2023 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Stringam LLP.

All the while, Schlachter was an active volunteer and philanthropist, lending his time to groups such as the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta and Economic Development Lethbridge, as well as supporting organizations such as Chinook Regional Hospital, Lethbridge Family Services, Southern Alberta Art Gallery and both ULethbridge and Lethbridge College. He also stayed connected to ULethbridge by serving on Senate and in 2016, took on the role of Board of Governors Chair.

Schlachter’s six years as Chair were challenging, uplifting, historical and transformative. During his tenure, the University opened the $280 million Science Commons building, successfully completed the $100-million Shine campaign — the largest fundraising effort in school history — navigated its way through the COVID-19 pandemic and endured substantial provincial funding cuts. Despite the difficult circumstances, Schlachter’s leadership was instrumental in meeting these challenges. In 2017, he was honoured by the Blackfoot Nation with the Blackfoot name Stamiksiiitoohkitapoyii (Bull Buffalo Standing on the Hill), and in 2022 appointed Board Chair Emeritus.

Upon concluding his role as Board of Governors Chair, he and his spouse Jason VandenHoek (BMgt ’05) established a first-of-its-kind endowment fund to support 2SLGBTQ+ students. The two also co-own and manage a private commercial real estate portfolio and Schlachter maintains a role as a corporate director with the University of Lethbridge Business Corporation.