John and Lexi Clague

Making dreams come true: One couple's investment in our future

For John and Lexi Clague, making the decision to leave a gift in their will to support SFU graduate students was an easy one.

“Nowadays I don’t know how a student can possibly afford to go to university,” says Lexi. “The scholarship money is the only thing that can keep them alive and continuing on their search for education. We know that once we are gone, and our money is distributed, that SFU will do a very good job at helping students with that money. So, to us, it seems logical that we should leave a gift in our will to SFU.”

John had a distinguished career as a research scientist working for the Geological Survey of Canada. At the age of 52, almost halfway through his career, he joined SFU’s Faculty of Science. “It was a great opportunity to be able to transfer my research program from the federal government into a university environment,” he says.

Now a professor emeritus, John has wonderful memories of his experience working with graduate and undergraduate students. “I love training students one on one, and getting them enthused about geology and geological research.” He feels a particular sense of accomplishment from seeing students enjoy their learning environment and become professionals in their field.

Lexi, too, fondly recalls John’s time at SFU, as the couple opened up their home to the Department of Earth Sciences and hosted the annual Christmas party for faculty, staff and graduate students. Looking back, Lexi reflects, “We really enjoyed that!”, reiterating John’s love for that kind of one-on-one relationship he had with his students that went beyond the classroom.

Both John and Lexi quickly recognized the difficulties that university students face, especially from a financial point of view. They decided to fund an endowment to support graduate students and to pay forward all they feel they were given by SFU.

The Clagues note that seeing the endowment help students has been a tremendously meaningful experience. “We get letters from students, they bring tears to my eyes, knowing that the scholarships not only helped financially, but made them feel recognized. That's another thing about scholarships, the kind of reinforcement of the fact that you are top-notch and deserving,” says John.

To any donors considering leaving a gift in their will, John and Lexi encourage you to think about young people in your own life and ask yourself: What are their dreams? Do they need an education to get there? For the Clagues, a bequest gift for future generations of students they have not yet met, who will solve problems we may not even yet understand, is the best philanthropic investment they could think to make.

John and Lexi have made a generous matching donation to support graduate student endowments in the Faculty of Science. If you would like more information about this matching opportunity, please contact Greg Weinrauch, Director of Advancement, Faculty of Science at or 778.782.9351.