April 23, 2019

President McCauley applauds alumni for elevating their alma mater to new heights

From autonomy to world-class research, alumni help boost UCalgary


Strategic Events and Communications Staff

University of Calgary President Ed McCauley gives the keynote address, Alumni as Advocates for UCalgary, at the university’s inaugural Volunteer Leadership Summit on April 12.

President Ed McCauley gives the keynote address, Alumni as Advocates for UCalgary.

Paula Martin, Development and Alumni Engagement

Alumni have been — and continue to be —instrumental in the evolution and growth of the University of Calgary.

This was the message that President Ed McCauley shared during his keynote address, Alumni as Advocates for UCalgary, at the university’s inaugural Volunteer Leadership Summit on April 12. More than 1,400 alumni volunteered here in 2018, alone.

“More than 50 years ago, a community of champions fought for our university’s independence,” Dr. McCauley said, referencing the efforts of alumni, students, faculty, staff and community that resulted in UCalgary being granted autonomy from the University of Alberta in 1966.

“Their advocacy helped us become the institution we are today — with the freedom, the vision and the resources to set an ambitious path forward for our education and our research. This investment in our community also translated into the growth of a network of over 180,000 alumni who now give back in so many ways.”

Alumni have helped transform UCalgary from a small campus to an innovative research hub — and McCauley said he’s impassioned to continue working with alumni to mobilize the university’s research into actionable solutions for society’s most pressing issues.

“As a university, we are about impact. UCalgary engages our students in creating new knowledge and provides solutions to emerging problems,” he told those attending the half-day summit at the downtown campus. “It would be great to hear from you about the local, national and global issues where the university’s scholarship and innovation could have impact.”

As he concluded his remarks, McCauley opened the floor to questions.

“It’s a joy for us, as industry, to work together with academia and students,” alumnus Chris Carlson, MBA’10, chief information officer at Brightsquid Secure Communications and volunteer director with the UCalgary Alumni Association, said of his company’s work with students on their capstone projects.

“But, what I’d like to see through collaboration — industry, university and eventually the government — is for us to tackle the train wreck that we know is coming,” Carlson said, referring to concerns that a rapidly aging population will put significant strains on the health-care system and budget.

From left: President Ed McCauley chats with alumni volunteers Rob Allen, BComm’82, and Stephan Guscott, BSc’17, at the university’s inaugural Volunteer Leadership Summit.

President Ed McCauley chats with alumni volunteers Rob Allen, BComm’82, and Stephan Guscott, BSc’17.

Louie Villanueva

Other alumni identified numerous issues — from homelessness to the economy and environment — that have strong ties to the university’s research priorities.

“The more we can do now, the better off we’ll be in the future,” McCauley said of continuing to work with alumni on campus and in the community.

“As students, you were part of our campus community for many years. But as alumni, you are part of our university for life. And that’s something that’s very important to me as your president.”

Did you know?

More than 1,400 alumni volunteered with UCalgary on campus, in the community and around the world in 2018. These individuals filled more than 155 roles — including mentoring students and sitting on governing bodies — to collectively contribute more than 16,000 volunteer hours.

There are more than 4,700 alumni who work at the university, many of whom play a critical role in inspiring students to discover, create and innovate.

Of the more than 180,000 alumni worldwide, over 123,000 live and work in Calgary; every day, many of these people connect UCalgary students, graduates and researchers with community builders and business leaders.

UCalgary Alumni hosted the Volunteer Leadership Summit on April 12 to thank all campus volunteers during National Volunteer Week. More than 120 guests attended and enjoyed the half-day of networking, learning and celebrating. Learn more about UCalgary’s ongoing volunteer opportunities.