Former pupil, Matt Manson (C1984), returned to Beaton Road on November 9th to receive the George and Thomas Hutcheson Award for his outstanding achievements since leaving school.
Matt is the CEO, President and Director of leading Canadian diamond exploration and producing company, Stornoway and is also the Chairman of the Hutchesons' Grammar School Canadian Trust.
He won the annual award jointly with FP Vivien Currie (nee Muirhead) (C1987) who will be commended during the 2019 Founders’ Day.
During the ceremony, Head Boy Fraser Rennie, Head Girl Olivia Campbell, Depute Head Boy Suhit Amin and Depute Head Girl Carla Foxworthy read out the Award Citations, which focused on both Matt and Vivien’s highly successful careers. During the interlude, the saxophone quartet consisting of Claudia (S6), Jacob (S1), Finlay (S5), Varun (S5) and Robbie (S5) played an impressive rendition of 'Puttin' on the Ritz'.
Matt joined the school in 1975, aged 9, from Cardonald Primary, entering P5 following in the footsteps of his older sister Claire (C1980) who joined Hutchesons’ the year before.
He left Hutchie after 5th Form in 1983 to attend Edinburgh University graduating with BSc Geophysics, 1st Class Honours) in 1987. Winning a five year Commonwealth Scholarship allowed Matt to continue his studies in Canada, where he gained an MSc in Geophysics and a PhD in Geology (1996) from University of Toronto.
His career has seen him work with Aber Diamond Corporation where he rose through the ranks to Vice-president.
Later, from 2005, Matt served as the Chief Operating Officer of Contact Diamond Corp. He had responsibility for the day to day operations of Contact Diamond Corp. and for advancing its diamond exploration interests in Ontario, Nunavut and the NWT before becoming Chief Executive Officer of Contact Diamond Corp., by now a subsidiary of Stornoway Diamond Corp.
Matt led the $946 million project financing for the Renard Diamond Mine in 2014, the largest single project financing transaction for a publically listed diamond miner, with Renard commencing production as Quebec’s first diamond mine in 2016.
Stornoway officially opened Quebec’s first diamond mine near the Otish Mountains. It is expected to yield 1.8million carats per annum for the first 10 years of mining. He received the Viola MacMillan award from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in 2015, and was the Northern Miner Mining Person of the Year in 2017.
Matt now lives in Toronto with his wife Kate, whom he married in June 2000, and has three children Callum, Owen and Claire. He is a strong supporter of, and donor to, the school and is a trustee of the Hutchesons' Grammar School Trust Fund in Canada.
He was honoured to receive the award. On the day he said: “I really enjoyed my time at Hutchie. The values I learned here were certainly hard work, it was a very academic school when I was here and I am amazed by the breadth of educational experience that exists now, with the drama, music and sports facilities.
“For me, the experience of gaining a good work ethic was at the forefront."
During his speech, Matt highlighted the importance of pursuing your goals and not focussing on what you are capable of, but rather to choose the path you wish to go down to achieve your dreams. He said to the current pupils: “I got 6 A’s at Higher but I went for a course that was ABC for the entry requirements because I wanted to do something that I was interested in so I studied Geo-Physics and then the doors of opportunity opened after that.
"Although I did well academically I never got the fancy colours on the blazer and because I wasn’t there in sixth form I didn’t become a prefect so I didn’t get the ties, the head boy position but here I am getting the George and Thomas Award.
“So for all of you out there without the colours or the special ties or the badges, there is hope for us all.”
See more photos from the day, please click here.