by Dan Walsh
Originally published in All Nova Scotia, Wednesday April 6th
Mark Wallace is donating $1M to support student entrepreneurs at St Francis Xavier University, his alma mater where he now chairs the board of governors.
The Halifax native and son of the late mayor Ron Wallace is CEO of Medgate Inc., a Toronto-based environmental, health and safety management software company with offices in Canada, the United States, England and Australia.
St FX President Kent MacDonald announced the gift Wednesday, bringing the total amount raised to date for the Xaverian scholarships and bursaries fund to $15 million.
Wallace, 56, credits his years at the Antigonish campus and its “small school environment, where I got to know my professors,” for laying the foundation that helped get him where he is today – in a postion to give back to other students, he told All Nova Scotia Wednesday.
The blockbuster donation funds summer internships, giving students a chance to develop entrepreneurial skills under the oversight of faculty members.
With traditional rural industries disappearing, fostering young entrepreneurs for the knowledge economy takes on key significance, said Wallace, who took a breather from academe to travel in Asia when he graduated from St FX in 1980 with his arts degree.
After a year abroad, he enrolled at the University of Victoria, where he earned his law degree in 1984.
Over his 13 years at the helm of Medgate, Wallace has transformed the private EHS software firm into a leading global player, growing its annual revenue from $3M to $40M.
“Mark is a leader in every sense of the word.” St FX President MacDonald said in a statement.
“With the announcement of this gift, he is making a further commitment to share the St FX academic and learning experience with deserving students for generations to come.”
Wallace, whose son Jack is completing his first year in St FX’s business administration program, succeeded Frank McKenna as University chair three years ago. He intends to lead the board until his term ends in June 2017, after previously serving for six years on the board.
Prior to working with Medgate, Wallace was President of ADB Systems International Ltd., a software and services company publicly listed on the TSX and in the US.
Previously, he served as Vice-President, general counsel and a member of the executive management team of AT&T Canada Corp., a national telecommunications service provider, now known as Allstream.