Arch Awards

Recognize alumni who dream big, take risks and ignite real change.

Arch Awards

Nominate the UCalgary alumni who inspire you!

UCalgary graduates set out with bold ambitions and, as alumni, they lift up their communities to a brighter tomorrow.

The Arch Awards are the highest honour awarded by the UCalgary Alumni Association. Since 1985, they have celebrated bold and trailblazing alumni who’ve transformed business and community, art and technology, sport and health, for the betterment of all.

Read the Arch Awards guidelines.

Nominations for 2020 now open!

It’s time to once again recognize our most remarkable alumni — those who aspired to blaze new paths and turn their dreams into reality, sparking meaningful change close to home and around the globe.

Arch Award recipients are leaders and innovators. These UCalgary graduates have shown excellence in their profession and are champions for the betterment of their communities. Help us ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.

Nominate a peer, colleague, friend or former classmate for one of our six 2020 Arch Award categories:

Early Career Achievement

This award recognizes professional accomplishment or creative leadership in any field by graduates aged 30 or younger (as of December 31, 2020). The award honours recent graduates whose career success have brought distinction to themselves and credit to the university. Learn more>>

International Career Achievement

This award recognizes graduates whose international career accomplishments have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the university and real benefit to their communities. Learn more>>

Career Achievement

This award recognizes graduates whose leadership and accomplishments have had a positive impact in their fields and whose innovations have made significant contributions to their communities. Recipients will have achieved excellence and distinction in their careers. Learn more>>

Community Commitment

This award recognizes graduates who have made outstanding and significant contributions to their communities through their professional or volunteer service. Learn more>>

Alumni Service

This award recognizes graduates whose philanthropy and/or volunteer commitment has served to advance the University of Calgary and its alumni. The award honours those who have improved the lives of fellow graduates and future alumni. Learn more>>

Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement

The highest honour awarded by the UCalgary Alumni Association, this award recognizes graduates who, over the course of their lives, have made notable contributions that have improved their professions and communities. Having reached the pinnacle of professional and personal success, they enrich the lives of others through their leadership, shared knowledge, creativity and innovation. Learn more>>

Arch Awards
Arch Awards
Arch Awards

Congratulations to 2019’s most aspiring alumni!

Meet six remarkable alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary devotion to their careers and also to the ideals of the university.

Dr. David Kendall

Dr. David Kendall, MSc’72, PhD’79

Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement

  • Former executive, Canadian Space Agency
  • Former chairperson of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS)
  • Now retired, volunteers with the International Space University

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient for 2019 is a renowned atmospheric physicist who played a large role in putting Canada on the space-exploration map with the Canadian Space Agency. In fact, some would say his career has indeed spanned the heavens.

Dr. David Kendall’s affinity for his alma mater has never wavered as UCalgary was where he says he learned — “and never forgot” — about “teamwork, transparency, openness, responsibility and consensus.

“For me, these are the hallmarks of a leader,” explains Kendall, who cites Elon Musk, former President Barack Obama and teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg as people he admires.

Dr. Scott Meikle

Dr. Scott Meikle, BSc’84, PhD

International Career Achievement

  • Senior vice-president of Global Customer Operations, Lam Research
  • Former president and CEO, Inotera Memories, Taiwan

With a home in Boise, Idaho, and an office in California, 2019’s recipient of the International Career Achievement Award continues to hopscotch the globe for work. A global leader in the memory devices sector of the semiconductor industry, Dr. Scott Meikle says that, if you are going to work overseas, speaking a foreign language is critical.

“Mores, customs and nuance change in foreign lands, but the fundamentals of leadership are always the same,” says the man who wrote his thesis in Japanese, obtained his PhD in Japan and has worked in Asia for 28 years. “Leadership is entirely about gaining the trust of your team by showing them courage. People will stand beside you through anything if they see you are standing with them, accepting the same risks.” And, Meikle adds with a laugh, “especially if you’re willing to converse with them, even with your bad grammar.”

Grace Auger

Grace Auger, LLB’95

Career Achievement

  • Lawyer, Eagle Law Group, Siksika Nation
  • Former Crown Prosecutor
  • Former chair and co-chair, First Nations Women’s Council on Economic Security

The Career Achievement Award recipient for 2019 has been a staff lawyer for Legal Aid Alberta on the Siksika Nation for 12 years. It’s a unique position, but then nothing about Grace Auger’s career path has been typical. Look back and you’ll discover that she was the only Indigenous law student in her cohort at UCalgary, and the only student raising three kids under the age of eight.

The load was colossal but, frankly, that’s all that Auger has known having spent decades breaking barriers and fighting extraordinary obstacles — all while building bridges between Indigenous people and Western society.

“Having a full-time lawyer placed at Siksika helps build that trust so that clients won’t have to repeat their stories to somebody new who may come along,” she explains. “That is really why I went into law — to give Indigenous people a voice and to build bridges.”

Who better to understand justice than someone who has lived with injustice?

Dr. Mary Anne Moser

Dr. Mary Anne Moser, BSc’88, MA’92, PhD’05

Community Commitment

  • Co-founder and former president, Beakerhead
  • President and CEO, TELUS Spark

Current president and CEO of TELUS Spark, co-founder of Beakerhead, an award-winning designer and communications director — these are just a few of the positions held by Dr. Mary Anne Moser, roles that made her an ideal candidate for 2019’s Community Commitment Award.

When asked how Beakerhead was created, Moser says: “We wanted to bring worlds together, we wanted to rip down silos between science and art, and, in the process, all these beautiful things happened. Artists found doorways into the world of science and scientists appreciated how much skill goes into creative work. And the entrepreneurial community got excited about where these things would smash up . . . all the potential crossroads and intersections.”

Rob Allen

Rob Allen, BComm’82

Alumni Service

  • CEO, Aligned Outcomes
  • Member, University of Calgary Board of Governors
  • Former director, University of Calgary Alumni Association Board
  • Former executive, IBM

Currently the CEO of Aligned Outcomes and an active member of UCalgary’s Board of Governors, the 2019 recipient of the Alumni Service Award has served on dozens of the university’s advisory councils and committees and he has been active in numerous mentorship programs.

In the past few years, Allen has shifted from being an IBM executive, where he worked for 30 years, to being an entrepreneur, and that shift has forced him to question what skills he needed to develop.

“Volunteering at the university is always exciting,” says Allen. “You’re always engaging with people who are thought leaders, who like to debate things and explore new ideas.”

When Allen mentors students, he often suggests that people don’t map out their careers in a linear track; instead, he suggests they pay attention to the way trends and markets shift, enabling the students to react with speed and agility, to ensuring quick pivots.

“We all have to pay attention to the signals around us and be willing to adjust the channel of our story that we tell the world,” he says.

Emily Hicks

Emily Hicks, BHSc’13

Early Career Achievement

  • Co-founder and president, FREDsense
  • Mentor and coach, STEM Program

Parlaying her theatre background into persuasive pitching gives 2019’s Early Career Achievement recipient, Emily Hicks, enormous joy. The co-founder and president of FREDsense, a biotechnology startup, cut her entrepreneurial chops at UCalgary when she landed a spot on the university’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition team back in 2009. This experience with iGEM eventually led to the development of FRED (Field Ready Electrochemical Detector) that combines biology and engineering to detect chemicals in water.

And it is this killer combination — this bridge between “doing” science and “presenting” science — that makes Hicks so extraordinary. At 29, Hicks and her team have already won dozens of awards, have spoken at numerous international conferences and, to date, have generated more than $2 million of investment and grant funding.

“It takes a long time to start a business — far longer than I thought,” says Hicks. “We are still funding FRED off grants and other investments, but, when I think about setting up this business around my parents’ kitchen table five years ago and buying equipment off eBay, and then I look at our team of 14 and our lab . . . it’s really happening. And I get to tell the world our story — how cool is that?”