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Dr. David S. R. Leighton was born in Regina, Saskatchewan on February 20, 1928 and attended school in Regina, Calgary and Ottawa.
He obtained his B.A. from Queen’s University, and a M.B.A. with High Distinction and D.B.A. from Harvard University.
On July 1, 1970, Dr. Leighton became Director of the Banff Centre. Over the next 12 years, he guided the Centre through a period of unprecedented growth. Under his leadership, a master plan was developed and executed in order to enhance the role of this unique institution that encourages the advancement of Canadian cultural and professional life.
Concentrating on intensive residential training of a practical, non-degree nature, the School of Fine Arts, School of Management and Conference Services all seek to meet national and international standards of excellence, while continuing to serve the people of Alberta and beyond in the areas of fine arts, management studies, arts management, environmental studies and educational conferences.
Author of a number of books on marketing and editor of business publications, Dr. Leighton, with his wife Peggy, researched and wrote the book Artists, Builders, and Dreams - 50 years at the Banff School which was published in 1982 to commemorate the Centre’s 50th Anniversary. In this book, Dr. Leighton says: "In its fiftieth year, the Banff Centre presents a picture of glowing health. It boasts excellent people at every level and in all departments. Its facilities are first class, and it is financially sound. Standards have risen, and with them our reputation internationally."
"In many respects, the story of the Banff Centre reflects Canada’s cultural development. As our nation has matured, so have the arts, and the Banff School has played an important part in that process. The history of the Centre is, above all, the story of individuals, men and women with a common purpose; to create on a mountainside overlooking the Bow Valley in the Rocky Mountains a school to foster the flowering and maturing of the arts and management in Canada and around the world. These individuals comprise a brilliant parade of artists, builders and dreamers who shared a vision and made it come true."
He was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws, LL.D., in 1972 from the University of Windsor for his contribution to the fields of business and the arts.
Dr. Leighton has served on boards of several national businesses, professional and public interest organizations. He has held teaching appointments at Harvard University, the University of Western Ontario, Stanford University, Emmanuel College-Cambridge, England, the University of Lusanne, University of Tel Aviv and the University of London, England.