University of Calgary

Graduate of the Last Decade

The Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award was handed out for the first time in 2003. It recognizes young alumni under 35 who have made an early impact and had a strong start in their careers. Ben Perrin won the inaugural award for his efforts in creating a nationally registered charity that gets twenty-something humanitarians together to fight crises such as child sex slavery in Cambodia on the front lines.

Meet our past recipients of the Graduate of the Last Decade Award and the University of Calgary's finest ambassadors. Their successes reflect back on their university and we're all extremely proud of their accomplishments.

Meet our 2012 Graduate of the Last Decade, Nick Blitterswyk:

Nick Blitterswyk
Actuary turned wind-energy entrepreneur Nick Blitterswyk was following his dream when he co-founded New York City-based Urban Green Energy (UGE) in 2008. Built upon the core values of “Be Green, Be Great, Have Fun,” UGE brings versatile, innovative and reliable green energy to urban dwellers, those off the grid and even Fortune 500 companies. Just four years later, Blitterswyk has helped UGE grow into a premier manufacturer and supplier of renewable energy solutions with more than 150 employees in the Unites States and China and installations in more than 60 countries.

We're proud to honour Nick as our 2012 Graduate of the Last Decade.
2011 Kristina Groves  2006 Curtis Myden  
2010 Jeremy Gutsche  2005 Kent Hehr  
2009 Jeffrey Veale  2004 Laura Lucier  
2008 Robyn Hauck  2003 Benjamin Perrin  
2007 Ravinder Minhas    

2011 Kristina Groves

Olympic medalist, environmentalist, humanitarian

Kristina Groves earned two medals each from the 2006 Olympics in Torino and the 2010 Games in Vancouver. She is also a passionate supporter of Right to Play, an international non-profit working to create a healthier and safer world through sport and play, devoted to the Clean Air Champions Campaign and is an active public speaker and mentor.

2010 Jeremy Gutsche

Innovator, author

Jeremy Gutsche is the founder of As an innovator, author and sought-after keynote speaker, Jeremy’s “oracle eye to the future” has made him a trendspotting go-to expert for international media outlets.

2009 Jeffrey Veale

BSc’97, MD’00
Medical Pioneer

Jeffrey Veale is an assistant professor of surgery at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, a transplant surgeon in the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Director of the UCLA Donor Exchange Program. Jeffrey is recognized as a pioneer of paired kidney donation, credited with shortening waitlists and increasing positive outcomes in renal patient care.

2008 Robyn Hauck

Community activist

Robyn Hauck is a woman of strong beliefs. One of them is that smoking is a deadly blight on society; that in the interests of public health, it must be eliminated. In 2006, having witnessed Calgary’s anti-smoking legislation become stalled in a gridlock of competing interests and opinions, she decided to act and mounted a one-woman advocacy campaign. She researched, wrote letters and rounded up like-minded Calgarians for support. She organized a petition that received more than 12,000 signatures. After a passionate two-day debate, Calgary city council voted overwhelmingly to ban public smoking a year earlier than planned.

2007 Ravinder Minhas

Founder and President, Mountain Crest Brewing Company,
Co-founder, Minhas Energy Consultants Inc.
Video Bio

Just 25, Ravinder Minhas has co-founded several highly-successful businesses, including Mountain Crest Brewing Company, while accumulating no debt and enjoying double-digit annual growth. He is a strong supporter of socially responsible causes and is recognized as a pioneer in the beer and liquor industry for introducing warning labels to raise awareness of fetal alcohol syndrome.

2006 Curtis Myden

Bsc'99, MD'06
Physican and 3-time Olympic Swimming Bronze Medallist

Curtis Myden doesn't miss diving into a cold pool at 5:30 am anymore. But doing just that for years on end did manage to help him win three bronze Olympic medals for swimming. A national champion more times than you can count on your fingers, Myden has moved from the pool to the hospital and will be earning his medical degree from U of C this year; his orthopedic residency is already set up, here in his hometown. He also manages to stay connected to his sport by coaching adult swimmers and triathletes.

2005 Kent Hehr

BA'97, LLB'01
Lawyer, Fraser Milner Casgrain

Kent Hehr is a shining example of turning tragedy into success. The victim of a random act of violence, Hehr became a quadriplegic in his early 20s. It's an incident that turned the young hockey player's attention toward education and a commitment to his community. A busy man, Hehr is a practicing lawyer at Fraser Milner Casgrain, serves on the City of Calgary's Accessibility Committee, is chair of the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Alberta and will be the candidate of record for the Liberal Party in the riding of Calgary-Buffalo in the next provincial election.


2004 Laura Lucier

Mission Planner and Flight Controller, Canadian Space Agency/NASA

Boundless energy and enthusiasm have earned Laura Lucier, a graduate of the Schulich School of Engineering, a coveted spot with the Canadian Space Agency at NASA in Houston. As a mission planner and robotics flight controller, Lucier develops and works out on the ground the actions that astronauts will carry out in space. Specifically, she determines the safest and most efficient way to manoeuvre the Canadarm2, which is on board the International Space Station. She tells astronauts to move it where and when, and is called on to make quick life-or-death decisions when emergencies arise. In late 2009, Lucier's career experienced another big leap forward when she became the first Canadian woman certified as a NASA front-room flight controller.

2003 Benjamin Perrin

Founder and Executive Director, The Future Group

Benjamin Perrin's commitment to justice has taken him to the gritty streets of Cambodia's trade in young women and children, behind the scenes of international war crimes trials and into important roles directly advising a federal Cabinet Minister and Supreme Court judge. While at U of C in 2000, Perrin launched The Future Group, an organization that helps human trafficking victims overseas and assists with prosecuting offenders. After earning a law degree from the University of Toronto, Perrin spent the summer as an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. While completing his LL.M. (honours) at McGill University, he was assistant director of the Special Court for Sierra Leone legal clinic which provides legal research for war crimes judges in Freetown. Most recently, he completed a judicial clerkship with the Supreme Court of Canada. In August 2007, he is joining the UBC Faculty of Law as a law professor to continue his research and work in criminal and international law. Perrin still plays an active role in The Future Group which has launched several new projects in recent years, and has been at the centre of the federal government's policy changes to better protect victims of human trafficking in Canada.

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