Feb. 15, 2022

2022 Arch Awards will honour 6 outstanding alumni

Problem solvers, community builders, world shapers — the University of Calgary Arch Awards celebrate the professional achievements of alumni around the planet. Help us recognize these exemplars by nominating a UCalgary grad
Arch Awards 2022

Just to be clear — UCalgary Alumni’s annual Arch Awards trivia extravaganza may not rival the New York Times baseball roundup in terms of listing arcane bits of history, but we certainly claim our own legends . . .  who live in our very own “Field of Dreams.”

The nomination period for our 37th annual celebration of visionary alumni runs until March 6 and, like last year, we will salute six remarkable graduates who are, quite simply, exemplars. Categories range from early career successes to a lifetime achievement award, with more details on each category found here.

Here are just a few of our all-time big hitters who have dazzled us through the ages:

  • Not every university can boast having an astronaut on their alumni roster — but UCalgary can with Dr. Robert Thirsk, BSc (Eng)’76, Hon. LLD’09, MD, who snagged our very first Lifetime Achievement Arch Award back in 1985 (he later served as UCalgary’s chancellor from 2014 to 2018). Other moonshot recipients who have excelled in various orbits involving space have been rocket scientist Natalie Panek, BSc (Eng)’07, and Dr. Laura Lucier, BSc (Eng)’99, PhD’20, who now works with NASA’s Robotics Operations branch.
  • Maurice Yacowar, BA’62, PhD, most noted for the 20-odd books he has penned and for his academic positions as dean of various faculties from Arts at UCalgary to others at Emily Carr College of Art and Design and Brock University, received the second Arch Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1986.
  • A decade later, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to a UCalgary computer science grad who founded the Java programming language: Dr. James Gosling, BSc’77, Hon. LLD’99, PhD.
  • The first woman to win an Arch Award was in 1988 (Lifetime Achievement being the sole category until 2003). The late Honourable Judge Dr. Kathleen Helmer, BSc’60, PhD’68, shared the award with Dr. Marvin Fritzler, PhD’71, MD’74.
  • The late Dr. Cy Frank, MD’76, PhD, won the 2002 Arch Award for Lifetime Achievement for his multiple and simultaneous careers as an orthopedic surgeon, scientific researcher, teacher, entrepreneur, mentor and health-system administrator.
  • The man who wore the mantle of director/CEO of Alberta Theatre Projects for 17 years was D. Michael Dobbin, BEd’71. He premiered more than 50 full-length works and directed or produced more than 250 plays, musicals and operas. For his life’s work, he received an Arch Award in 1997.
  • Other influential artists who have received Arch Awards for their tremendous cultural contributions include Daniel J. Kirk, BFA’07 (think of Calgary’s many murals), Vicki Adams Willis, BFA’72 (artistic director of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks for 30 years) and composer Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy, BMus’87, MMus’89, PhD.
  • The Arch Awards have also saluted entrepreneurs such as Dr. Breanne Everett, MD’09, MBA’13, who developed life-changing sensory insoles that allow people with diabetes to maintain mobility. Everett is now CEO and president of Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.
  • Not every recipient of an Arch Award sticks to a linear path. Take Andrew Pearce, BSc’84, MSc’88, who began his studies in economics, veered into computer graphics and is now VP of global technology at DreamWorks Animation (yes, that DreamWorks).

Although the official Arch Awards ceremony won’t take place until September 2022, now (until March 6) is the nomination period. The six categories this year are:

  • Early Career Achievement
    This graduate has made significant professional accomplishments before the age of 30.
  • Alumni Service
    This graduate’s volunteerism or philanthropy has contributed to advancing UCalgary priorities and enhancing the UCalgary community.
  • Community Commitment
    This graduate has made a significant impact on their community through their career or as a volunteer.
  • Career Achievement
    This graduate has positively impacted and made significant contributions to their field.
  • International Career Achievement
    This graduate has brought significant benefits to the international communities they serve.
  • Distinguished Award for Lifetime Achievement
    Having reached the pinnacle of professional and personal success, this graduate has created a legacy of transformational impact.

Since 1985, the Arch Awards have celebrated bold alumni who have transformed business and community, art and technology, and sport and health. This year, help us recognize our remarkable alumni by nominating a peer, colleague, friend or former classmate for a 2022 Arch Award.