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.