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Malcolm and Marilyn Leggett’s donation will go toward establishing Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research at the lab.
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Aug 27, 2021 • 18 minutes ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation Photo by Liam Richards /Photo Electric Umbrella/Liam Ric
A Saskatoon couple behind a million-dollar donation feels the gift could go beyond targeting just COVID-19.
Malcolm and Marilyn Leggett have donated $1 million to the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan, with the goal of advancing the work being done at Canada’s pandemic research hub. The donation, alongside support from other private donors and all levels of government, will allow Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research to be established at VIDO over the next three years, the U of S said in a release.
The global reach of VIDO’s research was what first caught the couple’s attention, Malcolm said.
“I think this is far bigger than one vaccine. This is whole different category on its own,” he said.
“It’s got the potential to be so rewarding. I don’t really think we can visualize what the potential is for something like VIDO.”
VIDO director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts said officials “greatly appreciate this extraordinary donation” from the couple.
“Knowing we have this level of support from leaders in our community is critical to our organization and our vision for the future,” Gerdts said.
Photo by Liam Richards /Photo Electric Umbrella/Liam Ric
Malcolm is the co-founder of Saskatoon-based NSC Minerals, which provides salt for de-icing and industrial and agricultural applications. Since it was founded in 1988, he has served as president, CEO and executive chair of the company’s board before retiring in 2016. Marilyn is a former teacher with Saskatoon Public Schools.
U of S president Peter Stoicheff said the donation “is a testament to the life-changing research being conducted on our campus that will undoubtedly enhance the lives of people around the world.”
Earlier this spring, VIDO secured key federal funding to establish a national pandemic research centre, which Gerdts said will help Canada test, develop and make vaccines the next time an infectious disease threatens to become a pandemic. The federal budget included $59.2 million over the next three fiscal years for VIDO to expand its on-campus animal containment facilities, and vaccine research and attract scientists to Saskatoon, a project the laboratory has billed as the creation of a national pandemic research centre.
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