Archives

Leo Margolis

Doctor of Science

Born in Montreal, Dr. Margolis was educated at McGill University, from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in Zoology and Chemistry; A Master of Science degree (magna cum laude) in Bacteriology and Immunology; and in 1952, a Doctor of Philosophy (magna cum laude) in Parasitology.

Apart from a brief period when he was a research associate at the Institute of Parasitology, McDonald College, McGill University, throughout his professional life, Dr. Margolis has been associated with the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia, the research institute responsible for all the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' West Coast Fisheries research. He joined this Station's staff as a research scientist late in 1952, and has been its Senior Scientist since 1990. Prior to that, as early as 1967, when he was appointed head of the Pacific Biological Station's Parasitology and Pathology Group, administrative duties "which he never sought" were thrust on him with increasing frequency. His painstaking and meticulous approach to scientific matters was extended fully to his performance as an administrator. In 1983, he was made an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University.

In his scientific endeavours, the first challenge to his skill and acumen was the task of distinguishing between North America and the Asian salmon populations in the open Pacific. The research which he undertook is now regarded as a classic around the world. His interests soon became much broader, embracing such areas as the parasites and diseases of cultured and wild freshwater and marine fishes, and their control; the population biology and ecology of parasites of aquatic animals; parasite transfaunation and introduction through river diversions, the economic importance of fish parasites and their significance to public health; and the sea life of Pacific salmonids. Research connected with these and many other topics has been carefully documented in more than 150 scientific papers, published in numerous journals throughout the world, many of which form indispensable sources of reference for all interested in the parasites of aquatic animals.

With the great acceptance of the findings of his research, it is not surprising to learn that he is widely recognized as a lecturer throughout the world. Invitations to lecture have involved him in 30 major commitments. He has also served as an external examiner to nine Canadian Universities. It is suggested that among fish parasitologists, worldwide, his name is a "household word." One also has to assume that he is an excellent time manager when one learns that he is an active member of seven scientific societies; serves on the editorial board of five scientific societies; and is presently the co-editor of two major serial publications; and is presently the co-editor of two major serial publications, one dealing with the parasites of Canadian fishes, the other with the biology of specific salmon.

Obviously, his colleagues respect the work which Dr. Margolis has done, to the point where scientists in four different countries have naked newly discovered parasites of fishes after him. In addition, in 1975, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; in 1982, awarded the Canadian Society of Zoologists' R.A. Wardle Medal; and in 1990, was presented with the Order of Canada. Four years later, the British Society of Parasitologists made him an honorary member, and last year, the Professional Institute of Public Service awarded him its coveted gold medal.

In 1995, it must also have been of particular pride to Dr. Margolis to have a special edition (supplement) of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Scientists dedicated to his honour.

It was suggested that perhaps the best way of describing hoe he is perceived by these colleagues and co-workers is a statement attributed to one of them which referred to the quality of his leadership - "Leo gives them hell, and they love him for it."

If the biography of Dr. Margolis were to stop at that point, people would still have understood why Saint Mary's University opted to honour him. However, there is one other aspect of his life which deserves attention and recognition. That is his involvement with extracurricular activities, notably amateur hockey. A former hockey player himself, he became deeply involved with British Columbia's Amateur Hockey Association, serving as its President from 1963 to 1966 (the youngest Canadian ever to hold such a position in any province). His great administrative skill was recognized by the hockey world when they made him the Honorary Vice President (1968-1988) of the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association. In 1988, he was presented with an Honorary Life Membership, and the next year, received that Association's Diamond Stick Award for outstanding services to amateur hockey in British Columbia. In 1990, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association awarded him its Prestigious Merit Award.

Described as a "good colleague, dependable friend, and a boon companion," he is regarded as one of Canada's most eminent scientists whose career of public service has been of tremendous assistance as Canada works and continues to strive to find solutions to some of the greatest challenges in the environment.

He and his wife Ruth Anne Lall, have one daughter, Rhona Lee, and three sons, Robert Allan, Murray Howard, and Conrad Anton.