No Ordinary Year, No Ordinary 2021 Arch Award Celebration

Meet the eclectic group of visionaries being recognized in the UCalgary Alumni Association’s annual award program.

The great-great-granddaughter of a pirate. A neuroscientist turned horseback rider. An entrepreneurial competitive swimmer. A physician from South Africa. A professor who challenges the status quo. An urban planner and redistributor of food waste.

This year’s cohort of trailblazing Arch Award recipients is one of the most eclectic groups of visionaries the UCalgary Alumni Association has seen since launching this annual award program in 1985. If you missed meeting them at the Sept. 17 Arch Awards celebration, replay the highlight reel in this short video.

And the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to neuroscience innovator Dr. Bryan Kolb, BSc’68, MSc’70, PhD! A world leader in behavioural neuroscience, lucky are the students who have been dazzled by Kolb’s discoveries and disruptive ideas since 1976, the year he began teaching at the University of Lethbridge. Kolb is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an officer of the Order of Canada, writer of 450 scholarly articles and chapters, plus one happy horse owner.

This year’s recipient of the International Career Achievement Award, Dr. Helga Holst, MD’75, never imagined she’d spend most of her career in South Africa, where she once navigated the clinical unknowns that came with attending patients who had HIV/AIDS. Her “can-do” attitude has led her to innovate at every turn with a focus on patient-centred care like advancing healthcare for expectant mothers to cataract surgeries for seniors.

 Our triple alumna Career Achievement Award recipient likes best to operate in a “challenge culture” — a gentle way of saying she’s comfortable with questioning the status quo. By doing so, Dr. Sharon Friesen, BEd’86, MEd’91, PhD’00, has become an exemplar in education circles. The Galileo Education Network, co-founded by Friesen, is considered one of the world’s most powerful professional learning networks.

When it comes to Lourdes Juan, BGS’05, MEDes’10, it’s hard not to talk numbers. Let’s start with the Leftovers Foundation, the organization that this year’s recipient for the Community Commitment Award launched in 2012. Today, Leftovers is responsible for diverting 92,000 pounds of food per month away from landfills and redistributing them to those in need. Her other startups include Soma Hammam & Spa, Hive Developments and Fresh Routes.

We can honestly report that never has a recipient for any Arch Award claimed to be the “great-great grandchild of a pirate.” A bona fide UCalgary champion, Dr. Janice Heard, MD’84, Alumni Service Award recipient, is also credited with establishing the alumni office at the Cumming School of Medicine.  Her philanthropic efforts to support incoming MD students and her leadership with organizations like the Children’s Cottage Society are just a few of the ways Heard has had an impact.

For years, he was one of the fastest swimmers in Canada, held down a 4.0 GPA and won a Rhodes Scholarship. This year’s recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award, Dr. Bogdan Knezevic’s, BSc’15, PhD, latest mission has morphed into the greatest moon shot of all: transforming himself from a key catalyst of entrepreneurial ecosystems to launching his own startup with two colleagues. All the cagey 30-year-old will reveal is that this venture might be at the crossroads of “software/product and the acceleration of science.”

No need to feel you missed out on the 2021 Arch Awards as you can replay the celebration here. And remember to register for any, or all, of Alumni All-Access, a three-week roster of mind-growing programs and events organized by the UCalgary Alumni Association.

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