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Big Ask gets big boost

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Roger Watson threw his support behind the Big Ask capital campaign of the building that carries his namesake, with a $100,000 donation, Sept. 29.
Roger and Janet Watson announced the substantial donation at a reception in the Watson Art Centre (WAC) gallery.
Watson explained one of his foundational beliefs is, throughout life, individuals meet people who take the time to say or do something that helps change direction in that person’s life.
“And people seem to have done that throughout my life and have caused me to have, not only business success, but also financial and family success. Everything has worked out very well,” he said, adding he considers himself one of the luckiest men on the planet.
“So that I can turn around and help somebody else, is a small token, I think.”
Watson believes in philanthropy, noting it is something his father believed in, as well.
“My dad believed in this building,” he said, taking note of the beauty, great acoustics and history of the WAC.
“Can you imagine what it will be like in 50 years, or 100 years,” he asked.
“It’s irreplaceable.”
While his donation will greatly assist the ongoing capital campaign at WAC, Watson said, the amount of time and support his father put into the building is immeasurable.
“He contributed much greater than what I contributed,” he said, referring to his father’s vision in rallying the community to save the building from demolition and create a home for the arts in Dauphin.
Watson is pleased with the historic building, noting it is looking good, as a result of the decisions made by countless volunteers over the years.
Dr. Vernon L. Watson was born Oct. 26, 1918 in Dauphin.
He practised dentistry in Dauphin from 1945 to 1984, taught art at the International Music Camp and was assistant band director of the Dauphin Boys and Girls Band for over 30 years.
Vernon married Thelma Grace Mcgee-Gould and after her death in 1963, married Frances Elizabeth Lorraine Port.
He had four children, David, Roger, Richard and Joan.
In 1972, Vernon spearheaded the formation of the Dauphin and District Allied Arts Council and served as president from 1973 to 1979.
During his tenure, the former Dauphin Town Hall was transformed into the Dauphin Allied Arts Centre, now the Watson Art Centre.
Vernon died June 12, 1984 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Dauphin.
Big Ask committee member Wayne Heide noted the Watson donation officially kicks off a public capital campaign, as to date, completed project expenditures are over $460,000. Much of that funding was raised from local businesses and grants, he said, and WAC is looking for support from the community at large.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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