W.A. Riddell was principal of Regina College and the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan from 1961 to 1969. Born in Hamiota, Manitoba on July 6, 1905, Riddell received a BA (1925) and BSc (1926) from the University of Manitoba, an MSc (1928) from the University of Saskatchewan, and completed his PhD (1931) in chemistry and biology at Stanford University. Riddell taught at Regina College during the 1930s before holding various research positions with the federal and provincial governments. In 1950 he returned to Regina College, serving as dean until his appointment as principal. Riddell was instrumental in developing the College’s School of Art and in the expansion of the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery.
Perhaps his greatest contribution was his tireless effort to raise the College to full degree-granting status. In 1959 the University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors did just that and, within two years, design and construction of a new campus in Wascana Park began. The University of Saskatchewan Regina Campus, as the College was renamed, was the forerunner of the University of Regina. Riddell was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974, and received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1994. An annual lecture was established in his honour at the University of Regina, and later a new building housing the Faculty of Fine Arts and Student Services became the Riddell Centre, in recognition of his long-standing support of the fine arts in the province. Riddell died in Regina on May 27, 2000.