Saskatoon couple donates $1 million to VIDO to enhance ground-breaking vaccine research

Aug 27, 2021

Malcolm and Marilyn Leggett have long recognized the importance the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has on the local community.

Awareness of VIDO’s pivotal role compelled the Saskatoon couple to donate $1 million to help establish VIDO as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research and advance its ground-breaking research on infectious diseases, including COVID-19. They know their support will go a long way to helping others, not just locally, but wherever vaccines are needed around the world.

Malcolm is the co-founder of NSC Minerals, a Saskatoon-based provider of salt for de-icing, industrial and agricultural applications, which was started in 1988 and serves Western Canada and the western United States. In May 2014, Malcolm stepped down as president and CEO. He was executive chair of the board of NSC Minerals until the fall of 2016, when he retired. Marilyn is a former teacher for Saskatoon Public Schools.

The far-reaching global impact of the research conducted at VIDO caught the Leggetts’ attention.

“I think this is far bigger than one vaccine. This is whole different category on its own,” Malcolm explained. “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.”

“We greatly appreciate this extraordinary donation from Marilyn and Malcolm,” said Dr. Volker Gerdts, VIDO director and CEO. “Knowing we have this level of support from leaders in our community is critical to our organization and our vision for the future.”

USask President Peter Stoicheff believes the Leggetts’ commitment to VIDO highlights the importance of the research on campus to the community at large.

“The Leggetts’ gift is a testament to the life-changing research being conducted on our campus that will undoubtedly enhance the lives of people around the world,” said Stoicheff.

With support from the Leggetts, other private donors and all levels of government, Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research will soon be established at VIDO. This expansion to VIDO’s capacity is expected to be completed over the next three years.