Feb. 4, 2019

Nominate aspiring alumni for 2019 Arch Awards by Feb. 28

Faculty and staff encouraged to highlight bold successes by alumni in professions and communities

You don’t have to be a Hollywood producer to be a star-maker.

The 2019 Arch Awards offer you a chance to put University of Calgary alumni in the spotlight.

Since 1985, the UCalgary Alumni Association’s highest honour has recognized graduates who have excelled in business, the arts, technology, sports, health and in their communities. Whether it’s recognizing trailblazing athletes who inspire others, or innovative tech maestros who spark change, why do staff and faculty nominators believe it’s so important to recognize and celebrate alumni achievements? 

“The Arch Awards are designed to recognize and celebrate alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to our community,” says Kinesiology Dean Dr. Penny Werthner, who nominated Hayley Wickenheiser, BKin’13, MSc’16 — one of Canadian hockey’s greatest ambassadors — for the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“Each individual that we recognize could be doing something innovative on a national or global level, or something more local,” says Werthner. “Regardless, the awards recognize that they are creating a significant impact.”

The Arch Awards help people understand the important research being done at UCalgary, particularly as it intersects with entrepreneurism, says Dr. Adam Pidlisecky, PhD, an associate professor of geoscience and chief research officer at Seequent Ltd.

“Universities play a critical role in fuelling the innovation ecosystem in the cities they are located,” says Pidlisecky, who nominated 2018 Early Career Achievement recipient Dr. Rowan Cockett, BSc’11, PhD, a former student who built an interactive software program that enabled fellow students to quickly see and understand geologic problems.

“Recognizing this in a public way is of the utmost importance for the university, the alumni and the city, so people can see where impacts are being made,” says Pidlisecky. “Others can see that the university is educating people who go on to have a positive impact locally, nationally and globally.

“It’s always rewarding to see someone who you have played a little role in mentoring succeed so well.” 

What are some tips for nominating an Arch Award candidate?

“Tell an honest story about them that gets you excited,” says Pidlisecky. “To me, that is the foundation of a good recommendation letter.”

Werthner recommends starting with thinking about who you know and then reaching out to others, such as the UCalgary Alumni Association, to discover candidates. “When we celebrate alumni, we are also recognizing the role the University of Calgary played in shaping who they have become,” she says.

This year, there are six Arch Awards categories: Early Career Achievement, International Career Achievement, Career Achievement, Community Commitment, Alumni Service and the top recognition, the Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement. To nominate a peer, colleague, friend or former classmate, you can find full descriptions of the awards and categories here.