Boulet gift establishes permanent endowment for Ric Suggitt Women's Rugby Memorial Award

The Ric Suggitt Women’s Rugby Memorial Award has received a gift of $20,000 from Bernadine (Bernie) (BEd ’88) and Toby Boulet (BEd ’89, MEd ’04), establishing a permanent endowment and ensuring future generations of student-athletes will receive this meaningful support in perpetuity. Much more than a monetary scholarship given annually to a women’s rugby player at the University of Lethbridge, the original award is a tribute to former Horns rugby coach Ric Suggitt and his legacy of selflessness and contributing to a better society.

Toby and Bernadine Boulet

Ric Suggitt coached just two years with the Horns (2015-2016) before his tragic passing in June 2017, and while his time as head of the program was short, the impact he made on campus, throughout Pronghorn Athletics and in the community was massive. His sphere of influence was wide and extended far beyond the rugby world — something that would become evident following his untimely death and the chain of tragic events that ensued.

“Ric was very special to our son Logan, and he offered to train Logan and his three buddies,” says Toby of his hockey-playing son. “He did a great job with them just out of the kindness of his heart and Logan really took to that — Ric was a larger-than-life personality.”

Suggitt was an organ donor and upon his passing, a tragedy turned into a miracle for those transplant recipients who benefitted from his ultimate gift. That last act of selflessness and giving resonated with Logan and he told his family he was signing up as an organ donor as well. What seemed like a symbolic gesture at the time eventually proved prescient, as Logan was one of the 16 people who died in the April 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

As the story emerged that Logan was able to save six lives through the donation of his organs, The Logan Boulet Effect was born, with hundreds of thousands of people signing up to be organ donors. The genesis of it all was Suggitt and his relationship with Logan, thereby making it easy for Bernie and Toby to choose to support the Ric Suggitt Women’s Rugby Memorial Award and continue to tell their story.

“You can never talk enough about a child who has passed away, and then it gives us a chance to talk about Ric and Ric’s influence on Logan and how he inspired him to become an organ donor,” says Toby.

Bernie echoes that sentiment and, as a co-chair of the Campaign for Students, encourages others to find an award that resonates with them if they are considering donating.

“I was never that person who would go out and ask for donations and then I thought back to when I was a student here and how fortunate I was to get scholarships and not have to worry about having to work while I was playing soccer and taking a full course load,” she says. “Those scholarships made a huge difference for me and when I took on this role, I thought about how hard it has been for students the last few years. It hasn’t been an easy road for them, and I see this campaign as an opportunity to build some positive connections again for our students to the University and our community.”

Any donations to the Ric Suggitt Women’s Rugby Memorial Award, or any other new endowed student scholarship, will be matched by the ULethbridge Board of Governors as part of their $10-million pledge to student awards.

Keegan Brantner (BA ’21), a previous recipient of the award, which was established in 2017, says the scholarship was invaluable in helping her maintain focus on her schooling and her sport, rather than worrying about financial issues.

“Receiving the Ric Suggitt Women’s Rugby Memorial Award was a tremendous honor,” says Brantner. “The financial assistance is greatly appreciated but the meaning and legacy behind the award is what matters most to me. This award continues to honor Ric and his legacy as well as the values of selflessness, kindness, community and giving, which is what makes receiving this award so special.”

That the award bears Ric Suggitt’s name and will forever be connected to Ric, Logan and the Boulet family is heartening to Neil Langevin (BA/BEd ’91, MEd ’10), executive director of Pronghorn Athletics.

“This award isn’t just about the money, which of course is important and can be life changing for a student-athlete, it also speaks to everything we value in Pronghorn Athletics,” says Langevin. “The story behind this award and why it came to be is about making the world around you better, about impacting people’s lives and creating a legacy of giving and community. Each scholarship recipient will know that story and the responsibility that comes with this award and that’s a powerful lesson to learn. We couldn’t be more appreciative of the Boulet family and all the donors to this award who have made this happen.”

Those interested in donating, can give by visiting the Ric Suggitt Women’s Rugby Memorial Award webpage. To give to any other student scholarship, visit Campaign for Students.