Sandy Mactaggart is an entrepreneur and philanthropist with provincial, national and international achievements in business, the arts, and education.
Sandy Auld Mactaggart was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1928. He was evacuated to Canada at the age of 11 during World War II. After schooling in Ontario at Lakefield College School and in New England at the Choate School, he graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1950 with a bachelor of arts degree in architecture. In 1952, he received his master of business administration degree from the Harvard Business School. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Alberta in 1990.
He came to Edmonton in 1952 and two years later incorporated Maclab Enterprises Ltd. with the late Jean de La Bruyère. These companies engaged in property development and venture capital activities in Western Canada, the United States and other parts of the world.
Sandy Mactaggart’s interest and support have been extended to many of the major cultural and artistic facilities in Alberta’s capital city. He was one of four founders of the Citadel, Edmonton’s first professional regional theatre. He continues to support the Citadel as a governor and through the sponsorship of one theatre production each year on the Maclab stage, named in recognition of his company’s contributions to its construction.
Mr. Mactaggart’s service to post-secondary schools includes duties as a trustee emeritus and former treasurer of the American University of Beirut, member of Harvard Resources Committee and director and vice-president of the Harvard Alumni Association. In 1995-96, he served the association as director of the Harvard Clubs in Canada.
From 1983 to 1994, Sandy Mactaggart served on the University of Alberta Board of Governors and chaired the university’s Real Estate Advisory Committee. During this time, together with the province, he donated the 257-acre Mactaggart Nature Sanctuary to the university and the City of Edmonton. He chaired the University of Alberta Foundation for the first five years of its existence until 1994. On July 1, 1990, he became the university’s 14th chancellor, a position he held for four years. In 1993, he was also appointed interim chair of the university’s board of governors, and served in that capacity for six months.
In his twin roles of chancellor and chair of the board of governors, Mr. Mactaggart helped the university negotiate a transition in leadership and changes in government funding. He took steps to strengthen the bond between the university and the public to create a larger base of community support for post-secondary education. He introduced visiting committees, modelled after a successful program at Harvard, in which community leaders are invited to tour university faculties and meet academic staff. The visiting committees have become a permanent and effective tool to facilitate dialogue between the community and the university.
In 1995, Sandy Mactaggart received the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education from the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Mr. Mactaggart served in the Calgary Fleet Air Arm Reserve Squadron, and on the founding boards of the present Edmonton Art Gallery, the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Alberta and Tempo School. He is, or has been, a director of several organizations including the C.D. Howe Institute, the Chief Executives Organization, the Lakefield College School and the Choate Fund in Ontario. In 1993, he was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Royal Society of Canada and the Donner Canadian Foundation, which he served until 1998. In 1997, he was appointed Alberta nominee to the national roster of panelists who adjudicate disputes under the Agreement on Internal Trade.
In 1997, Sandy Mactaggart was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Mr. Mactaggart’s interests have included boating, scuba diving, flying, shooting, car racing, and collecting books, oriental textiles and Chinese paintings. He was married in 1959 to author Cécile Erickson.