Michael Nesbitt (BCom/56, BA/57) hopes that by establishing a graduate scholarship and a lecture series in the department of Biological Sciences, he will help encourage students to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and mother.
But these are no ordinary footsteps. Nesbitt's grandfather was the renowned British zoologist Major G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton whose mammalogy research from the early 1900s is still used today. Barrett-Hamilton died at the age of 42 while on a whaling research expedition in the Antarctic commissioned by the British government.
No less pioneering was Nesbitt's mother, Geraldine Margaret Barrett-Hamilton Nesbitt (BSc/31) who moved to Winnipeg with her mother and siblings upon her father's untimely death. Nesbitt became the first woman in Winnipeg to graduate with honours demonstrating both in zoology and chemistry.
"I wanted to pay tribute to my grandfather and mother and at the same time to help students succeed in their endeavours," said Nesbitt, chairman of the Mont-rose Morgage Corporation. "I also wanted to give students who have the intellectual capacity and desire, but not necessarily the financial means, the opportunity to pursue higher education."
Each year, the G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton Scholarship Fund provides a first or second-year graduate student in zoology with a scholarship valued at $12,500. In addition, each year Nesbitt will contribute $2,500 towards the cost of attracting a world-class researcher to give a lecture on a topic in zoology or related areas. The Department of Biological Sciences and graduate students will raise any additional funds required, and graduate students will organize the event.
"The lecture series will help connect our students to the wider community," explained Erwin Huebner, Biological Sciences. "It will also give the University of Manitoba the opportunity to show these speakers what kind of exciting work we are doing here."