in memoriam - Regis Simard (1956-2002)
Regis R. Simard
15/07/1956 – 5/07/2002
Despite his young age, Prof. Regis Simard was a highly respected soil chemist and recently appointed Professor and Head of the Soil Science Department of University of Manitoba. He was born on July 15th, 1956 at Chicoutimi, QC, and was educated in Laval University, QC from where he graduated in 1979 in Bio-Agronomie and earned an M.Sc. in Soil Genesis in 1983. He also attended the University of Guelph where he earned a Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry in 1987. Dr. Simard started his professional career as a Pedologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). After completing his Ph.D., Regis resumed his career with AAFC, but changed his focus to research on soil chemistry, nutrient management and environmental quality.
Dr Simard’s broad knowledge, strong personal values, dedication to his work and imaginative vision led him to initiate work on understanding and managing agroenvironmental systems. His curiosity and interest in helping others brought him to collaborate with an impressive number of other scientists in soil science as well as from other disciplines such as plant and weed science, hydrology, geomatics and spatial analysis, among others. Dr. Simard’s dedication to scientific education and discovery also translated into a prominent role as an advisor and mentor to young scientists. This dedication led to the training of 15 graduate students under Regis’ generous leadership in the last five years of his work with AAFC; this dedication also led Regis to shift his career to the University of Manitoba in the fall of 2001.
Dr Simard was an active member of several scientific societies and participated in numerous committees where he contributed significantly. He was successively President of the Quebec and Canadian Societies of Soil Science. Regis’s concern for publishing and communicating science led him to become the Editor of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. Regis showed his potential as a soil scientist and his great interest for the CSSS by winning the Bentley Award in 1986. Other distinctions he received include the Auguste Scott prize from the Quebec Association for Soil Scientists, the AgExcellence from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, an OECD Fellowship and a Scientific Prize for Leadership in Sustainable Development from the Canadian Government.
Dr Simard’s absence is a significant loss for his family, collaborators and friends and all those who were touched by his love for life, his concern for people and extraordinary energy and enthusiasm. However, his legacy will accompany and inspire us for years to come and he will always be remembered as one of the great soil scientists of Canada.