Legacy Awards Dinner starts its own legacyAs Mount Royal University moves forward, it’s essential to remember our past.
In particular the people whose faces are the pieces of the puzzle that comprise Mount Royal’s respected network of distinguished alumni.
Those faces, and the minds and personalities behind them, are what represent Mount Royal in communities from the rain forests of BC to the Atlantic coast and everywhere in between.
Of those faces, there’s no shortage of graduates of which Mount Royal can be proud.
With that in mind, Mount Royal’s office of Alumni Relations hosted its first ever Legacy Awards dinner last week in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park.
The new awards were created by Alumni Relations to formally recognize the outstanding achievements of Mount Royal alumni and students and will continue to be awarded on a yearly basis moving forward.
Distinguished alumnus, Chris Gailus co-hosted the evening alongside alumnae Devon Weigel.
Five alumni were honoured at the event including Ryan Correy, Wayne Wiebe, Michael Kim, PhD., and Sid Marty.
The awards also make a point of recognizing an outstanding student who will one day be a standout ambassador for the Mount Royal community.
Erin Delamont, who is also vice president academic on the Mount Royal Student Association executive, was the inaugural recipient of this award.
The first Horizon Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of Mount Royal alumni early in their careers, was awarded to Ryan Correy.
Correy graduated from the Bachelor of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership program in 2007 and was class valedictorian.
Since then he’s become the youngest Canadian to finish what is known as “the world’s toughest bike race,” the Race Across America, in June 2008. Throughout his notable achievements, he has also been an active supporter of charitable causes like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
E.T.O.L. faculty member, Joe Pavelka says Correy’s confidence and determination are two key factors that have allowed him to push himself to limits most people can’t even fathom.
“Ryan has never understood or believed that he is actually not capable of something,” says Pavelka. “His greatest strength is less about the physical and more about the mental, he has an ability to endure that far exceeds what most of us could ever imagine.”
In addition to pursuing his career as an adventure cyclist and motivational speaker, Correy is looking forward to trying out for Canada’s national cycling team with an eye towards competing in the Olympics some day.
Wayne Wiebe received the 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award – Professional Achievement. He was one of the first graduates of Mount Royal’s Environmental Quality Control program.
After graduating in 1974, Wayne began his professional career with Hudson Bay Oil and Gas company
But it was when he tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit 20 years later that he really began to shine.
Mount Royal environmental science faculty member, Dennis Leask says Wiebe’s accomplishments are an example to all students what can be achieved with the right training and drive.
“Wayne started and effectively used his Mount Royal training to develop a life-long experience that culminated in one of the larger environmental firms in Western Canada,” says Leask.
Indeed, Wiebe built Wiebe Environmental Services from a one-person business into a multi-million dollar enterprise serving more than 40 companies in the oil and gas industry and managing more than 2,000 projects across Western Canada each year.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, he continues to be an active member of the Mount Royal community, serving on advisory committees and providing opportunities for a new generation of Mount Royal students to explore careers in environmental services.
The 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award – Arts and Culture was awarded to Michael Kim, PhD., who graduated from the Mount Royal Conservatory of Music in 1988.
Dean of Music and Professor of Piano at Brandon University, pianist Michael Kim maintains an active and highly respected career as an administrator, performer and teacher.
It all started when an 11-year-old Kim began his piano studies at the Mount Royal Conservatory. By age 15 he’d made his debut with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
Clearly Kim’s future would be lined with grace, harmony and success.
A graduate of the Academy of Music at Mount Royal, he completed undergraduate studies at the University of Calgary and subsequently received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School in New York City .
“Michael Kim was always one of my favorite students at the Conservatory. He was musically gifted, intelligent and collegial. He didn't expect wonderful opportunities to come his way because of his talent - he worked to create the opportunities,” says Paul Dornian, director of The Conservatory.
Kim, who has received numerous awards for his musical genius, has continued to give generously of his time to Mount Royal, working as a guest artist, performing and teaching and he continues to be an inspiration and mentor to our students.
“He took both success and the inevitable setbacks that came his way in stride - with good humor and acceptance. He always gave back to the programs and people who helped him when he was a student. Michael richly deserves the honor attached to a 'Legacy Award'. But really - the satisfaction is ours. It has been a privilege to be associated with Michael and many other outstanding artists that have been students in the Conservatory over the past 100 years,” says Dornian.
Sid Marty received the 2009 Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award.
Marty, a renowned writer and musician, studied Arts and Science at Mount Royal College from 1963-1965. His early career and work thereafter was marked by his days spent walking the trails and climbing the mountains of Western Canada as a national park warden.
He has used his rich song-writing and story-telling skills to dramatize and strengthen the connection between people and nature, and between people and their ancestors.
While Marty has published five books of nonfiction and three poetry collections, and has released two CDs his most recent book, The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek, published in 2008, was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award in Nonfiction that year.
On Sept. 6, 2008, The Honourable Lindsay Blackett, Alberta Minister of Culture, presented Marty with one of the largest literary prizes in Canada, the Grant MacEwan Literary Arts Award.
The award recognizes Marty’s contribution to Albertan and Canadian literature as a nonfiction author and poet.
While each of the previous recipients were honoured as current alumni for achievements in post-Mount Royal life, the final award was given to someone who is sure to have a bright future once she finishes her studies.
Erin Delamont received the 2009 Outstanding Future Alumni Award. Delamont is studying for her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a focus on Nonprofit Management.
This remarkable young woman maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is the Vice President Academic of the Mount Royal Students’ Association.
She is also involved in numerous on-campus and community volunteer activities. After graduation she plans a career in the nonprofit sector and is considering graduate studies in the future.
As Mount Royal continues to turn out more graduates than ever, from a wider range of programs than ever before, it’s clear that the 2009 Legacy Awards will be looked back upon as the beginning of a long, extraordinary legacy of its own.
—Steven Noble and Fred Cheney, with files from Alumni Relations