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Sid Leggett checks out rocks on Big Island Hawaii.

Sid Leggett checks out rocks on Big Island - Hawaii.

Arctic adventures and geology grad studies combine for ‘pivotal time’ in alumnus’ life

Long-time supporter of scholarships reflects on experiences as student

June 14, 2016 — 

Sid Leggett, 64, has seen his share of adventure, moving from rural Ontario to graduate studies at the University of Manitoba and travels across Canada’s Arctic.

Leggett grew up on a farm outside London, Ont. and his studies in early grades unfolded in a rural, one-room school with a pot-bellied stove to heat it.

“It was a good life when I was young, but very, very isolated,” he said.

“I really enjoyed going to school,” said Leggett. “And, I was lucky enough to go to university.”

Leggett pursued an interest in geology, earning an undergraduate degree from Brock University in Ontario before launching into a master’s degree in the subject in Winnipeg in 1975, after a professor at Brock recommended the U of M to him.

“The students were great. The professors were wonderful. They wanted you to really appreciate and love geology,” he said.

“It was a tremendous intellectual experience at the University of Manitoba,” he said, adding he also forged lasting friendships during his studies.

Leggett worked in a variety of remote areas outside of school during summers. He had carried out mapping for the federal government and also worked for a lead and zinc company in the Arctic.

During his work, Leggett learned to fly a bush plane, navigating his way to isolated spots.

“I was working all across the Arctic from about the east side of Hudson’s Bay all the way to just about to Alaska. It was a very pivotal time in my life and University of Manitoba was wrapped up in that,” he said.

Leggett polished off his thesis and graduated with his master’s degree in geology in 1980. He shifted his career focus, moving from minerals to the oil and gas sector, holding technical expert positions with a range of companies in Alberta, before retiring last year from a management role with Husky in Calgary.

Since retiring, Leggett has continued to build on his enthusiasm for geology, conducting research and giving talks and workshops to the public on the subject.

His experiences as a student also inspired a wish to help others.

Leggett started giving to the U of M in the 1990s and his commitment has continued to the present day, offering financial support for undergraduate student scholarships in the department of geology.

“If it helps a young geologist to make their way through university, that’s wonderful,” said Leggett.

“Back as an undergraduate, I was given a scholarship. I was a poor country kid putting myself through university,” said Leggett. “That scholarship wasn’t a big (monetary) one, but it was significant to me.”

He and his wife Sheila, who went to McGill University and the University of Calgary, have made a point of philanthropy towards post-secondary students.

“We’ve been lucky,” said Leggett. “It’s the education that really has been formative for both of us. So we thought that was an area we could give back to,” said Leggett.

The university is encouraging all members of the U of M community to join in its efforts to support students by matching donations made toward scholarships before June 30.

All gifts made towards undergraduate scholarships will be matched dollar for dollar by the U of M. Gifts towards graduate student scholarships will be tripled.

For more information, visit:

To make your gift today, visit:

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