Mark Merasty may not have planned to take 25 years to finish his English degree, but that’s the way it worked out. One thing is for certain, he was determined to succeed.
When Mark started, the university was known as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. 25 years later, he would graduate from the First Nations University of Canada as part of the class of 2015.
Mark was the third of his brothers to come to the Regina campus. Brothers Ben and Ron Merasty had previously graduated from the University of Regina.
He started as a Visual Arts major, but that would soon change. Professor Bernie Selinger suggested Mark major in English.
“He must have recognized something within my writing,” says Mark.
As a First Nations student, Mark enjoyed learning about everything from arts and language to governance and health studies, taught from an indigenous perspective.
But life often got in the way, and Mark took two big breaks between 1994-2000 and 2002-2014.
During these periods he worked down south for five years in Connecticut and also spent six years on the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, his home reserve.
But the camaraderie of the staff and students always brought him back. In 2014, Mark returned.
He says his final year was “a true workout of the brain,” when he managed to complete seven English courses in only two semesters.
Today, he hopes to use his English degree to go abroad and teach English as a Second Language, possibly in South America or Hong Kong.
Overall, Mark always looked forward to returning to the faculty, so much so that he says “I wanted to prove success in the program, and the whole concept of SIFC.”
Mark felt by graduating he could be an example of what this university embodies, an Indigenous university where Indigenous people can succeed.
Thanks to his tenacity, Mark became one the most recent alumni of FNuniv.