Arch Awards

UCalgary 2018 Arch Awards

by Deb Cummings

Magazine  |  Fall/Winter 2018  |  Arch Awards 2018

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Meet five outstanding alumni who have not only demonstrated extraordinary devotion to their careers, but also to the ideals of the university. Although we toasted them at the Sept. 8 Arch Awards gala, their stories bear repeating.

Since 1985, the University of Calgary Alumni Association has honoured a select group of extraordinary alumni who have built remarkable careers and made exceptional contributions to their local and global communities. Since its inception, the Arch Awards have been presented to 69 individuals, all of whom demonstrate exemplary leadership in an increasingly complex and globalized world. Such outstanding Arch Award recipients have included: astronaut and former UCalgary Chancellor Dr. Robert Thirsk, BSc’76; Java programming language creator Dr. James Gosling, BSc’77, Hon. LLD’99; first Indigenous graduate and lifelong academic, Dr. Vivian Ayoungman, BEd ’70; Olympic speed skater Kristina Groves, BSc’04, MSc’15; and the founding president of the National Music Centre, Andrew Mosker, MA’12.

This year’s Arch Awards recipients exhibit the same talent, devotion and unbounded enthusiasm as their predecessors. They are: Dr. Sam Weiss, PhD’83 (Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement); Dr. Debra Isaac, BN’84, MD’87 (International Career Achievement award); Dr. Rowan Cockett, BSc’11 (Early Career Achievement award); Lisa Dixon-Wells, BPE’84, BEd’87, MEd’97 (Community Commitment award); and Rahim Sajan, BSc’01, BEd’03 (Alumni Service award).  

This year’s diverse cohort includes the founder of TEDxCalgary and the teacher-entrepreneur behind one of Canada’s most successful anti-bullying programs. It also includes the under-30 entrepreneur who launched a geoscience software-tech company, and an innovative cardiologist who developed the Guyana Program to Advance Cardiac Care. There’s also an extraordinary scientist-researcher whose work in treating brain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases has altered the course of medicine. What they all have in common is they embody spirit, drive, determination and teamwork — and they inspire us all. That’s why we’ve asked the winners to share a critical moment that launched them on their path to innovation and success.

Dr. Sam Weiss, PhD’83

Distinguished Alumni Award
Lifetime Achievement

Scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health — Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA)

Dr. Debra Isaac, BN’84, MD’87

International Career Achievement

Co-founder of the Guyana Program to Advance Cardiac Care (GPACC), a global health training environment that benefits UCalgary learners and faculty and those in Guyana

Dr. Rowan Cockett, BSc’11

Early Career Achievement

Current director of cloud architecture at Seequent Ltd.; co-founder 3point Science Inc. and SimPEG; founder of Visible Geology

Lisa Dixon-Wells, BPE’84, BEd’87, MEd’97

Community Commitment

Founder and executive director of bully-prevention program, Dare to Care; former captain of the UCalgary Dinos swim team from 1981-84; won 36 Canadian national championship gold medals

Rahim Sajan, BSc’01, BEd’03

Alumni Service

Work-experience teacher at Discovering Choices High School; co-founder and curator of TEDxCalgary; UCalgary senator; adviser to the Dean’s Talk with the Cumming School of Medicine

Magazine  |  Fall/Winter 2018  |  Arch Awards 2018

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