Remembering alumnus Clayton Riddell
Entrepreneur and philanthropist passes away at age 81
A pioneering geologist and entrepreneur, Clayton Riddell [B.Sc.(Hons.)/59, LL.D/04, OC] was one of the University of Manitoba’s most distinguished graduates, and also one of its visionary supporters. Born near Treherne, Man., after graduating from the U of M in 1959, Dr. Riddell eventually settled in Alberta, where he founded Paramount Resources in 1976, one of Canada’s most notable energy companies. He was also part owner of the Calgary Flames and a beloved figure in his adopted province and city. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.
In support of the Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Riddell established an endowment fund with a $10-million gift, providing unrestricted funding for the priorities of the faculty, including support for students, recruitment and retention of faculty members, and research funding.
In 2004, the university awarded Riddell an honorary Doctor of Science degree in recognition of his distinguished career and service to the community. The following year, the Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources was renamed the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources.
Dr. Riddell advised the University of Manitoba during the $237-million Building on Strengths capital campaign and took a leadership role in supporting the construction of the Ed Leith Cretaceous Menagerie.
“Our community has lost an outstanding legacy supporter and Canada has lost a great citizen with the passing of Clay Riddell,” said Dr. David Barnard, University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor. “We will continue to carry his name with great pride on our Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources.”
In 2010, Dr. Riddell donated $2.5 million to the University of Manitoba to help fund the Nellie Cournoyea Arctic Research Facility, a transformational institute in the University of Manitoba’s Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources. The addition of the fifth floor to the Wallace building allowed for specialized laboratories, state-of-the-art instruments, and classrooms to support the extensive arctic research being done in the Faculty.
“The opportunity for U of M to become the leader in Arctic Research is very exciting,” Dr. Riddell said at the time. “The addition of the Nellie Cournoyea Arctic Research Facility recognizes a great Indigenous Canadian whose tireless efforts have and continue to benefit the North and its residents.”
“Clay Riddell was a leader, generous in thought and deed,” said Norm Halden, Dean, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources. “His support for the Faculty has helped enable outstanding world class scholarship and opportunity for our students. We extend our thoughts and condolences to his family.”
Dr. Riddell also contributed his time to the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG), to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and to the Geological Association of Canada, as well as to the organization and success of numerous national scientific meetings. Riddell was recognized in the geological and oil community for his considerable organizational skills with respect to volunteer organizations and volunteer efforts.