The inaugural recipients of the  Mac Watson Bursary, Michael Richards from South Esk, N.B.,  and Laruen Van Genne from Fredericton, N.B., with Mac Watson and his wife Rena.Mac Watson donates $100,000 for Geology bursaries

When Mac Watson graduated from The University of New Brunswick in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in geology and returned to his native Quebec, he left a piece of his heart in New Brunswick.  In the more than 50 years since that time, he has become a respected mentor in his field of mineral resource exploration, building numerous junior mining companies and gaining a strong reputation for personal integrity in the mining community.  Never focused exclusively on building his own career, Mac has always been inclusive, fostering the achievements of others.

Mac’s latest undertaking in this regard has been a donation of $100,000 to establish of the MacKenzie (Mac) Watson Bursary in Geology for returning geology students who are graduates of New Brunswick high schools.

Mac feels that he has been blessed and is happy to share with others.  “The opportunity to obtain a university education makes all the difference in a person’s life,” said Watson.  “It’s like the story about teaching a man to fish, rather than just giving him fish to eat.  You allow people the chance to discover what they are capable of. And I know the people of New Brunswick are capable of great things.”

The gift will be matched with another $50,000 from the New Brunswick University Opportunities Fund, a government initiative designed to encourage donations from the private sector for New Brunswick students in financial need at public universities.

“When a person of Mac’s reputation and stature among his peers chooses our university to invest in, it signifies an incredible vote of confidence in what we are doing,” says UNB president Eddy Campbell.  “We are honoured by this gift and encouraged by Mac’s belief in the future of UNB and of the province of New Brunswick.”

“Mac’s gift could not have come at a better time”, says Cliff Shaw, chair of UNB’s department of earth sciences.

“The number of students entering the field of geology does not match the growing worldwide need for skilled geologists, particularly in the field of mineral exploration and extraction.  Incentives like the Mac Watson Bursary help to draw top quality students to the study of geology – and to UNB, where they will gain one of the best educations available in the field.”

In providing New Brunswick students with the opportunity to study and pursue careers in this growing and potentially very rewarding field, Mac is not only giving back to the university that gave him his start, he is ‘giving forward’ to the geologists of tomorrow and all those who will benefit from their discoveries and skilled resource management.