Earth Sciences prof supports next generation of geologists and engineers

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

As a young and ambitious oil rig worker, Maurice Dusseault was a university dropout who got his hands dirty on a northern Albertan rig drilling holes thousands of feet into the earth in search of this precious commodity.

After meeting his wife-to-be (Betty), Dusseault returned to school at her urging, enrolling in the University of Alberta’s engineering program. There, his instructor allowed him to take some classes in geology instead of the usual engineering courses. He went on to complete his PhD, focusing on the geological and engineering behaviour of the Athabasca Oil Sands.

Dusseault then completed a five-year professorship at the university and turned down a lucrative job offer during the Alberta oil boom. “My wife asked, ‘Would you be happier?’ It was a simple but probing question, and because I couldn’t answer yes, I didn’t accept the offer.”

“Then I got a call out of the blue from the University of Waterloo, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Dusseault is a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences who has not only established awards, but also contributes to several others, partially inspired by his own hardscrabble beginnings. The Dusseault Bursary in Geology supports students in need from the faculties of Science and Engineering.