Last Monday, I attended a reception in the EEEL building in celebration of the achievements of our university’s Killam Award winners. To receive a Killam Award, one of the most prestigious in Canadian academia, is a notable honour. It says that you are truly outstanding among Canadian researchers.
The Killam Pre-Doctoral Scholarship and Prize Programs were established many years ago by Dorothy Killam in memory of her husband Izaak. Their purpose is to build Canada’s future by encouraging advanced education and research at five selected Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts. The importance of the Scholarships and Prizes cannot be understated – they help foster drive, creativity and ingenuity.
Awards were presented throughout the evening to doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and professors who call the University of Calgary home. These scholars were being recognized for outstanding teaching, supervision and research. They were also being recognized for their personality traits. Mrs. Killam, who died in 1965, wished that “a Killam scholar should not be a one-sided person … special distinction of intellect should be founded upon sound character.” I wholeheartedly agree with her thinking and am proud to be associated with scholars from our university who exhibit laudable character as well as talent.
I was also gratified to see Ms. Ann McCaig present one of the Killam Research and Teaching Awards. Ann is a Chancellor Emerita of our university and had served as a Killam Trustee for 22 years. What commitment! She is an esteemed Calgarian and is known as a skilled businesswoman, a passionate community advocate and a champion for education and research throughout our nation.
In recognition of her decades of service as a Trustee, the Killam Trusts inaugurated the ‘McCaig-Killam Teaching Award’ in Ann’s honour. This new Award is given to an individual for outstanding contributions to teaching and learning. Ann presenting her award to Dr. David Dick, a professor and fellow in the Haskayne School of Business. David teaches courses in business ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of money.
In his teaching, David encourages his students to leverage confusion to their advantage. What an interesting notion! Confusion can result from misunderstanding a good argument or from understanding a bad one. By leveraging their confusion, David’s students learn to identify flaws in arguments as well as in their own understanding. David encourages his students to voice and tackle their confusion through creative writing assignments.
One of the great things about being Chancellor is that I get to regularly rub shoulders with the university’s best professors and scholars as well as the citizens who make Calgary great. These people are inspirational and remind me to accept nothing less than excellence. Congratulations to our Killam award winners for their outstanding scholarship and thank you to Ann McCaig for her longstanding service to education.