USask alumni gives back to alma mater through international student scholarship

Natasha Katchuk

From his early days as a student, Philip Leong has always believed in giving back and making a difference in the community. Whether it is volunteering or civic engagement, Leong encourages community service.

"I am passionate about making a better world for our younger generation," explained Leong. "My goal has always been to give back to the less privileged. It’s what I fight for." 

In 2015, Leong created the Philip Leong International Scholarship in Business for graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business.

The scholarship recognizes academic achievement to support outstanding international graduate students.

Leong emigrated from Macau and attended high school in Medicine Hat, Alberta, before pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at the University of Saskatchewan. Upon graduation in 1984, Leong returned to Macau, where he started on the path to a successful career in the finance industry.

He went on to become one of the youngest chief currency traders in East Asia, and over the last twenty years has also been recognized as one of the top producers in the industry. Currently, Leong is a Vice President and Director at ScotiaMcLeod, a division of Scotia Capital Inc. Previously he held senior positions in investments with BMO Nesbit Burns and RBC Dominion Securities.

In his spare time, he sits on the board of governors for the Chinese Cultural Center of Greater Toronto and the board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

In 2012, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Leong as the Canadian delegate to the Asia Pacific Cooperation Council (APEC), where he served on their Business Advisory Council until 2015.

Looking back upon his extensive career in managing investment portfolios Leong said he is thankful for the education he received at the University of Saskatchewan.

“I had a very good experience in Saskatoon,” explained Leong. “And that’s why when I became more successful, I never forgot my alma mater.”

Likewise, Leong said he believes strongly in the importance of education, along with being philanthropic.

“University fosters a lot of deep thinkers, great leaders, scientists, and business leaders for our society,” said Leong. “I encourage young people to try to focus on building financial freedom and giving back.”

Leong said his experience inspired him to give back to students, like Mia (Tianhang) Gao, through the gift of scholarships.

Gao moved to Canada in September 2018 after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeast Normal University in China. She is in her first year of the MBA program and is currently on an internship with local Saskatoon entrepreneurs Pat Kolysher and Andrew Down of Anchor Managed Solutions.

Gao said she was honoured to be recognized with the scholarship and is grateful for Mr. Leong's financial and spiritual support.

“I met a lot of difficulties before and am now on an internship as a marketing student at Anchor Managed Solutions,” said Mia Gao. “Mr. Leong’s support encouraged me. I will keep learning and pay it forward in my internship."

To learn about the Edwards MBA and admission requirements, please visit

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