Carol Oliver

WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2009

WRC Award Recipients


Over the span of twenty-five years, Carol Oliver provided leadership in women's issues, gender equality, community building and organizational change and development.  The completion of a graduate degree in Communication Studies (MCS, 1995) at the University of Calgary, was an important achievement and one that she drew upon in many ways.  

Taking on the role of Executive Director for the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter (1983-1990) at 28 years of age was both daunting and exhilarating for Carol. The emergence of women's shelters coupled with a growing body of research on violence against women characterized this time.  Carol strived for grace during the difficult times and celebrated the many successes along the way, in particular, the building of a new emergency shelter.  Her work in the field was excellent preparation for her future role at the United Way of Calgary and Area where Carol's interests in social policy, social change and community development aligned.  In this context, she learned the importance of bold and strategic leadership. In her position as executive director of the Distress Centre Calgary, Carol integrated many lessons. She considered this time a gift. 

In 2004, Carol began serving on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Women's Foundation (CWF). Her decision to do so was rewarding. CWF is Canada's only public foundation dedicated solely to improving and changing the lives of women and girls. 

In her various roles, Carol met compassionate front-line workers, volunteers, donors, policy makers, and researchers. In her experience, the most compassionate souls were those that worked with the most vulnerable, in the most challenging of conditions and environments. 

Carol and her life partner have two children, now 18 and 16 years of age, who she considered to be her greatest teachers.   

Carol Oliver, a loving friend, wife and mother, passed away on November 14, 2012 at 57 years of age.  Donate to the Carol Oliver Memorial Bursary in Women's Studies.