Margaret and James Scott Leave Behind a Lasting Legacy

Former Moose Jaw campus neighbours donate over $200K to electrical and instrumentation programs


Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Moose Jaw campus is getting new cutting-edge training equipment, and two new student awards, thanks to the generosity of the late Margaret and James (Jim) Scott.

Their daughter, Maryann Scott, says her parents were both “lifelong learners” who placed a high value on continuing education. “They were both really interested in current affairs, politics, history and education,” she says.

The Scotts donated over $200,000 to Sask Polytech through a legacy gift. Half of the donation has been earmarked for the electrical programs, for a renewed program logic controller (PLC) lab. Two new student awards have been established with the remaining funds, which will be endowed, supporting the awards in perpetuity.

The Margaret & James Scott Memorial Award will be presented for the first time this fall.  The two annual student awards starting at $1,000 each, are equally weighted between academic standing and financial need, says Maryann. “One of them is for students in the Instrumentation Engineering Technology diploma program, and the second one is for students in the Construction Electrician apprenticeship program.”

“We are short of tradespeople, so hopefully the student awards will help give people a bit of financial support as they go through their program,” says Maryann. “I think my dad would be really pleased to be able to support students starting out in his field.”

It’s a fitting donation on the couple’s behalf, given that Jim worked as an electrician and instrumentation technician throughout his career, and Margaret was a school teacher.

“My mom taught for 22 years,” says Maryann, “and 21 of them were at King George elementary school, which is very close to Sask Polytech’s Moose Jaw campus. When I was growing up, we actually lived two houses west of the campus.”

Although neither Jim nor Margaret were Sask Polytech alumni, Maryann recalls going to campus open houses with her parents as a child, where “we would inevitably run into some of my mom’s former students. My dad knew a lot of people there via his professional connections.”

In the late 90s, Jim reached out to the school’s automotive program when the engine of his 1976 Dodge half-ton truck broke down. The students “rebuilt the engine and put it back in, and he just paid for the parts,” says Maryann. “He owned it for another 10-15 years and it was still running” by the time he was done with it. Maryann doesn’t know what became of the truck, but says “maybe someone could have taken it and rebuilt the body (which was starting to deteriorate). There may be a 1976 Frankentruck driving around somewhere,” she says with a laugh.

Jim passed away in 2011 at the age of 93. Before her passing in 2022, Margaret asked Maryann what she planned to do with her future inheritance. Margaret was in the process of updating her will, and Maryann suggested that her mom instead donate the money to Sask Polytech through a legacy gift.

“I thought, originally, that the donation would be in memory of my dad because Sask Polytech is where the electrician and instrumentation training programs are, and it would support others coming up in his profession."

When, as the executor, Maryann began distributing her mother’s assets, she discovered there was more money left over—beyond the bursary endowment. That unexpected surplus sparked the conversation about upgrading the equipment in the PLC lab on the Moose Jaw campus.

“The Scott’s generous donation is specifically for the development of new electrical trainer workstations in the lab,” says Lance Giesbrecht, academic chair for the Joseph A. Remai School of Construction. “This will replace the older units we are currently working on and ensures our students are working with the latest technology.” Giesbrecht adds, “The units are automation managing systems like what is used in commercial, industrial and residential applications. More often they are systems that support manufacturing automation, but can be found in residential areas like the monitoring units in an alarm system or even sprinkler systems.”

Recognizing the meaningful impact of the Scott’s philanthropy, Sask Polytech will be naming the lab in memory of Margaret and Jim.

March 2023


Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves students through applied learning opportunities on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 Territories and the homeland of the Métis.