Friend of Education - 2006
David A. Bissett
Founder of Bissett Investment Management, Philanthropist
David A. Bissett’s success in the financial services industry has been a prologue to his distinguished tenure as a leading philanthropist for a range of causes – education in particular. “While prowess and dedication have marked his career in the corporate boardrooms, solid empathy has distinguished him in the community,” writes one supporter.
A native of Charlottetown, PEI, David Bissett graduated from Dalhousie Law School and became a Certified Financial Analyst. Moving to Calgary, in 1982 he founded Bissett and Associates Investment Management Ltd., which invested over $5 billion for private and institutional investors. After selling the company, Mr. Bissett became a Director of Templeton Growth Fund, and embarked on his vocation as a supporter of education, community organizations and wildlife habitat preservation.
Never forgetting his Maritime roots, David Bissett – who received an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University in 2003 – contributed over $450,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund so that promising students from Halifax’s Cole Harbour High School could attend Dalhousie. With his wife Leslie, he gave $2 million in 2003 to create the David and Leslie Bissett Student Learning Centre at Dalhousie. Mr. Bissett also gave over $400,000 to establish the Alice Peake Bissett Residency in Companion Animals at UPEI’s Veterinary College, in memory of his mother.
In 2002, Mr. Bissett donated $5 million to Mount Royal College – a transformative gift that led to the naming of the Bissett School of Business. And on May 5, 2006, David Bissett donated a further $7 million to the Bissett School of Business, the largest gift to a college in Canada, citing his desire to support “a business school that is creating a large pool of skilled people with a strong grounding in business practices.”
Giving to community causes has been a hallmark of David Bissett’s philanthropy. In 2001, he and his wife gave an $8.2 million gift – its largest ever – to the Calgary Foundation. Mr. Bissett chaired a successful fundraising campaign for the Calgary Millennium Park and has donated to a wide range of community cultural organizations. His passion for wildlife conservation has led to his support of Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the Delta Waterfowl Foundation.
David Bissett has stated his wish to see the culture of corporate philanthropy develop further in Canada. He has certainly done his part to move that culture to a new level.
It is with great pride that the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education recognizes this exceptional business leader and philanthropist in conferring on David A. Bissett the Clearsight Wealth Management Friend of Education Award.