Alumni Awards

2019 Alumni Award Recipients

University of Alberta alumni around the globe uphold the promise to use their education “for the public good” through their professional achievements, community service and innovation. The Alumni Awards recognize these contributions and tell the stories of our exceptional alumni, inspiring us all to Do Great Things.


Distinguished Alumni Award

Donald Enarson, ’69 BSc, ’70 MD

A scientist, professor and medical doctor with a strong sense of social justice, Donald Enarson revolutionized the control of tuberculosis and lung disease around the world. His 1970s work with one of Canada’s top tuberculosis researchers revealed the high rate of the disease in Indigenous and Inuit populations and, for the first time, made the connection between tuberculosis and poverty. His interest in the health of populations affected by poverty continued through his work in Sudan and Philippines. His breakthrough work in tuberculosis came after he accepted a job in 1991 as scientific director of a tiny Paris-based organization called the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, where his predecessor, Karel Styblo, had created the first proven strategy for TB control in low-income countries. Enarson built on that work, publishing a paper that identified the five components of the DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy, Short-course) strategy. That paper was adopted by the World Health Organization in 1994 and became policy around the world. Enarson helped the lung organization grow both in size and mandate; its work now includes many more lung diseases as well as HIV-AIDS, which is closely linked to TB. During his extensive travels, he watched for promising young physicians and mentored them in TB control, creating a web of experts in low- and middle-income countries who carry on the work to save millions of lives.


Ram Deva Mehta, ’72 PhD

Humans come into contact with thousands of chemicals everyday. Microbiologist Ram Deva Mehta’s groundbreaking work in genetic toxicology — evaluating chemicals for cancer-causing characteristics by testing how they interact with our DNA — is helping to make the chemicals we use safer. In 1984, Mehta founded one of the first genetic toxicology labs in Canada, a bold venture that was slightly ahead of its time. PBR Laboratories Inc. was a spinoff company created after almost a decade spent working as a research associate for the U of A’s Department of Genetics. In his time there, Mehta developed testing methods that didn’t use animals and conducted significant research, including a study that identified potentially dangerous chemicals in a popular over-the-counter remedy to treat pinworms in children. From PBR’s modest beginnings as a small company with two employees, the company has expanded to become a leading Canadian laboratory providing services to the pharmaceutical, environmental, food, natural health and petrochemical industries. Recently, PBR was licensed to evaluate cannabis and related products for content and purity. Mehta has been a mentor and inspiration to university and high-school students, even designing a safe and simple high-school lab exercise for detecting mutations using yeast. Mehta passionately believes in the right to basic education and has co-founded three charitable organizations that are making education accessible to children living in marginalized communities in India, Nepal and Canada.


Mona Nashman, ’79 BEd

The first year that Edmonton Islamic Academy principal Mona Nashman invited the neighbourhood to a school holiday luncheon, only 11 invitations were accepted. Undeterred, she asked those guests to return next year — and to bring a friend. This is how Nashman, an ambassador for cultural acceptance and religious understanding, is helping students counter Islamophobia, one person at a time. Almost half of Nashman’s 40-year career was spent in the Arab country of Oman where she was head of ABA (formerly the American-British Academy), an international baccalaureate school. Nashman, who has Muslim heritage, became known as a child-centred educator whose school celebrated collaboration and diversity. Its students conducted projects to help others in the world, such as fundraising for a playground for Syrian refugees and building a library in Tanzania. In 2001, she started an annual symposium, which continues today, bringing together student leaders from around the world to explore real-life problems. In 2014, she returned to Edmonton and because principal at the Edmonton Islamic Academy. Nashman was honoured at one of the highest levels when Queen Elizabeth made her a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2016. As for that annual holiday luncheon, within a few years the Edmonton Islamic Academy’s holiday tradition was expecting to break bread with more than 200 new friends and neighbours.


Reza Nasseri, ’70 BSc(ElecEng)

Reza Nasseri is a builder in every sense of the word. The 19-year-old Iranian who arrived in Canada with $75 in his pocket became a builder of houses, which eventually grew into the Landmark Group of Companies, one of Alberta’s largest home builders. Nasseri is an industry innovator, working to reduce the environmental impact of construction while creating affordable, energy-efficient homes. By prefabricating as much as possible at its state-of-the-art automated manufacturing facility, Landmark has reduced its construction waste. In his desire to see industry-wide improvement, Nasseri freely shares Landmark’s technology advances with other homebuilders. He is a generous and caring citizen who gives time and money to support many community initiatives and charitable organizations. In 1995, he created the Landmark Community Care Program, which has since contributed over $11.5 million to causes ranging from medical research to social, educational and community programs. A passionate supporter of the U of A Faculty of Engineering, Nasseri’s goal is to help future engineers deal with environmental concerns — such as carbon emissions and natural resource conservation — as well as industry issues including productivity, construction-related transportation and job-site safety. He has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Edmonton Energy Transition Advisory Committee and the University of Alberta Land Trust. He has received the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Alumni Honour Award

Charlene Bearhead, ’85 BEd

It’s been said that reconciliation is only possible through education, and Charlene Bearhead has risen to that challenge. Her work includes teacher professional development, advocacy with education ministries and the design of innovative curricula, events and school resources. She has given teachers, students and education leaders a better understanding of Indigenous knowledge and Canada’s colonial history. Bearhead has an intuitive skill for designing methods to explain concepts that are deemed new, difficult to teach or controversial. She was education lead for both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. From kindergarten classrooms to university auditoriums, Bearhead has inspired thousands of students and teachers and continues to shape the Canadian conversation around our shared history.


Steacy Lee Collyer, ’85 BEd

The children’s book What Do You Do With An Idea? is a favourite of Steacy Lee Collyer’s (McLaren), whose own idea is to change the world by helping youngsters read with confidence and joy. Calgary Reads, a research-driven, collaborative approach to children’s literacy, grew out of Collyer’s concern about the struggles she was seeing in her Grade 1 students. In almost 20 years, the program has grown from a volunteer tutoring program in two schools to 3,000 volunteers in nearly 150 schools in Calgary, Edmonton and across Alberta. A self-described “possibilitarian,” Collyer works with her team to look for novel ways to promote children’s literacy. The newest idea, the Children’s Reading Place & Book Bank, has enabled Calgary Reads to give more than 75,000 books to children over the last two years.


Marilyn Dumont, ’90 BA

Marilyn Dumont’s poetry is graceful, dignified and brutally honest as it speaks to the Métis identity and people. From school textbooks to her award-winning collections, the imagery in Dumont’s writing is painfully vivid as she explores how the legacy of Canada’s colonial history is still a lived reality for First Nations and Métis communities. Dumont, who has Cree/Métis ancestry and is descended from the family of Gabriel Dumont, is a mentor to emerging Indigenous writers. She has been writer-in-residence at five Canadian universities and the Edmonton Public Library. She joined the U of A as an associate professor in 2016. She has received a lifetime membership award from the League of Canadian Poets and has been named a 2019 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award.


Gary L.W. Lobay, ’68 MD

Gary Lobay was working his first on-call shift in practice when a child arrived with a severed arm. The team successfully replanted the arm during the first such surgery in Canada, and restored function in the child’s arm. Microsurgery allows for the repair of blood vessels, nerves and tendons. Lobay’s work included the first series of successful thumb replants in Canada and launched the U of A’s microsurgical program. Hundreds of medical trainees have benefited from his mentoring. His many leadership appointments — including chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the U of A for 18 years and president and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons — illustrate his depth of commitment and the level of respect from his peers.


Bruce C.W. McGee, ’80 BSc(ElecEng), ’84 MEng, ’98 PhD

For Bruce McGee, doing the math, focusing on fundamentals and trusting the science have been good for his business and the environment. For 24 years, McMillan-McGee Corp. has operated by those principles as it grew from a basement business to a global company that works with energy and environmental industries to clean up the world’s most contaminated sites. Its groundbreaking electro-thermal technologies, developed by McGee while at the U of A, remove pollution safely, reliably and rapidly, ensuring clean water sources. An advocate of science-based entrepreneurship, McGee supports the industry’s future leaders with student internships and contributes to research programs at several Canadian universities that are researching new ways to make soil remediation more efficient and less costly.


Tony Mok, ’82 BMedSc, ’84 MD

Tony Mok is a TV personality, magazine columnist and clinician-scientist who is giving lung cancer patients longer, better lives thanks to his work with personalized medicine. Lung cancer is among the most prevalent cancers in Hong Kong, where Mok is a professor and clinical oncology chair at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His groundbreaking research showed that patients should be continuously monitored as the cancer evolves, with treatments precisely administered in response. With more than 220 published articles, Mok is described by colleagues as a warrior against the disease. In 2017, he was named a fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2018, he became the first Asian to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Society of Medical Oncology.


Sidney H. Pawlowski, ’54 BSc(Ag), ’59 MSc

It’s fitting that the seed money for Sidney Pawlowski’s university tuition came from being named World Oat King in 1949. A researcher-scientist and plant breeder, Pawlowski’s work contributed to strains of mustard and canola that helped those crop industries grow. While working in southern Alberta, he developed the world’s first completely yellow-seeded oriental mustard variety, Lethbridge 22A. By removing the plant’s brown seeds, he helped build Canada’s reputation as a top source for condiment mustard. The agriculture sector also reaped rewards with a breakthrough strain of canola called Candle, created by a team that included Pawlowski. Unlike its precursors, Candle could be successfully grown in northern Prairie climates, meaning Canada’s entire crop was soon a high-quality strain that could be marketed abroad. Today, canola is Canada’s second-largest field crop.


Kenneth T. Williams, ’90 BA(Spec), ’92 MFA

Kenneth Williams has achieved some impressive firsts: he was the U of A’s first Indigenous student to earn a master’s in playwriting and, 25 years later, he’s the drama department’s first Indigenous full-time professor. His impact, though, is found in the Cree playwright’s works, which tackle real and sometimes uncomfortable issues experienced by Indigenous people in stories told with humour, hope and a sense of possibility. Williams is considered one of Canada’s best and most-produced Indigenous playwrights, with six published plays. In 2017, he received the Saskatchewan Arts Award for Artistic Excellence. He’s a gifted mentor and teacher, who inspires young artists in Saskatchewan and Alberta to develop their craft and become the future generation of storytellers who will make a difference.


Jing Cheng Yu, ’89 MSc

Waste management is one of the world’s greatest challenges and Jing Cheng Yu is actively trying to solve it. CanFit Resource Recovery Technologies, the company he founded after his return to Beijing in 2000, has developed patented technologies for challenges such as sorting recyclables, reducing the bulk of kitchen waste or turning human waste into fertilizer. Yu was involved in planning environmental strategies for Beijing’s 2008 Summer Olympics. A treatment centre he set up serviced 8,000 public toilets, creating byproducts of clean soil, non-potable water and methane gas that was used to power the centre. Yu was a founding member of the Beijing alumni chapter, has participated in the U of A’s Peking University summer program and is a willing host of alumni events.


Lubna Zaeem, ’07 MEd

When Lubna Zaeem began volunteering at the Islamic Family & Social Services Association, she was sensitive to the struggles of immigrant and refugee families — hopelessness, domestic violence and family breakups. Over two decades, she moved with her own family from Pakistan to the U.S., then finally to Canada. She pursued her degree while raising children and caring for parents. At IFSSA, Zaeem chaired the team that created the Fostering Healthy Families program, providing culturally sensitive services to women experiencing domestic violence. An integral member of the IFSSA team since 2009, she currently serves as its clinical director. Over the years, she helped grow its services to include relationship, anger management and trauma counselling for women and men. She has received a YMCA Peace Medal and a Governor General’s Sovereign Volunteer Medal.


Alumni Horizon Award

Jeremy Bryant, ’12 BCom

Jeremy Bryant is a numbers guy who keeps a running tally of an important statistic: at-risk youth fed through Mealshare, the non-profit social enterprise he co-founded in 2013. The concept is simple: Mealshare’s restaurant partners place a logo beside certain menu items, then make a donation to Mealshare when those items are ordered. Those donations become meals for hungry youngsters at home and abroad. There are many ways to count Mealshare’s success — 500 restaurant partners, 10 cities, 40 communities, plus multiple honours including a 2018 Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross. But Bryant, a former accountant, has an even bigger number in mind: 3.5 million meals provided by the end of 2019, which will get Mealshare one step closer to its ultimate goal of helping to end youth hunger.


Marnie Colborne, ’17 BScN(Hons)

Marnie Loree Colborne is a registered nurse who goes the extra mile for vulnerable people at home and abroad. As a student, her efforts took her to the United Nations as a youth ambassador. Closer to home, she organized a campus initiative to help people facing homelessness in Edmonton. She is a co-founder of Youthnited Nations, a non-profit that connects youth with the UN’s sustainable development goals. A current project involves fundraising for a clinic in southwestern Uganda, which will have nursing staff and supplies as requested by widows who live in the community. The clinic is being built in association with the Uganda Partnership, another charity with which she has volunteered since 2009. Colborne currently works in a hospital ward, a clinic and in esthetics and regenerative medicine.


Elaine Hyshka, ’07 BA, ’16 PhD

Substance use is a health issue that has long been treated largely as a criminal problem. Elaine Hyshka is changing that story by advocating for evidence-based health services and policies that improve outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable citizens. An assistant professor at the U of A School of Public Health, Hyshka is a force to be reckoned with outside university walls, demonstrating how the combination of public health research and clinical care can change thinking and help save lives. Her efforts were key in the creation of Edmonton’s four supervised consumption sites, which include North America’s first acute care hospital-based site. In 2017, she was appointed co-chair of the provincial Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission. She is also scientific director of the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s Inner City Health and Wellness Program.


Kellie Willie, ’08 BPE, ’11 BScN

As an obstetrics nurse with a physical education degree, Kellie Willie (McNamara) has a special perspective on the health of expectant and postpartum women. In 2015, her two worlds joined in Fit Your Life, Edmonton’s first studio solely for pregnant women and new moms. The studio’s wide range of programs helps women be strong — mentally, socially and physically — during a time of great change in their lives. Willie’s practical experiences, of teaching hundreds of classes and helping deliver hundreds of babies, are combined with medical research to create safe, carefully designed programs for the women and their “Littles,” who are welcome at many classes. Willie leads by example, striving to be her best in her roles as nurse, fitness instructor, business owner and mom.


Alumni Service Award

K. Steven Knudsen, ’84 BSc(CompEng), ’87 MSc

Steven Knudsen believes youth innovation will drive the future economy. In fact, the R&D consultant has cheerfully driven thousands of kilometres between his Bragg Creek home and the U of A to help support two engineering facilities — the Pod innovation lab and Elko Engineering Garage makerspace — that bring student ideas to life. Tools and technology are provided in the Garage, while student mentorship and professional development happen in the Pod. The latter became a reality in six months — with no budget — thanks to faculty and alumni, including Knudsen, who treated it like his own startup. He was instrumental in establishing the Peer of Peers Award and he regularly connects with students as a mentor: at engineering hackathons, with the DiscoverE outreach program for children and by providing materials and tools from his own makerspace.


Da Li, ’98 BCom

Alumni connections are important to Da Li, so when he couldn’t find a U of A community in Beijing, he built one. Using WeChat, hockey games, quiz nights and his renowned hosting skills, Li grew the Beijing Alumni Group from 30 to 360 members in seven years. As an undergrad, Li was involved in the AIESEC chapter at the U of A, the world’s largest youth-run organization. Since 2002, he has helped forge the same relationship between AIESEC and universities in China. Li is founder of Deya Tech, a growing Beijing-based software company and is passionate about traditional Chinese martial arts. He is a willing ambassador for China-Canada relations, graciously organizing events for U of A delegations and helping the university find new ways to expand into the region.


Ronald Grant McCullough, ’54 BSc(Ag)

Ron McCullough’s love of agriculture is matched by his passion for his faculty. Since graduating 65 years ago, McCullough has helped the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences develop partnerships with industry and other post-secondary institutions. He suggested a “Centennial Club” to mark the faculty’s 100th anniversary, inspiring 100 donors to each give $100,000 to ALES. McCullough and his wife, Brenda, have sponsored the Lilian McCullough Chair in Breast Cancer Surgery. His career has bridged cattle ranching and public service, serving as Red Deer alderman, Alberta assistant commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission and director general of the federal Department of Regional Economic Expansion. McCullough still nurtures the bonds of his beloved Class of ’54, publishing his “Saggie Aggies” newsletter and being a homecoming class booster since 1990.


Dick Wilson, ’74 BA, ’75 LLB

Dick Wilson’s advice to new graduates is to be passionate, fully committed and surrounded by people who do the same. Those are words he lives by. For two decades as a U of A volunteer, he has contributed tirelessly, selflessly and completely. In 2000, while still a practising lawyer, he joined the Alumni Council as a faculty representative, eventually becoming president. He has sat on the Senate, taught on campus and revived the Friends of the University Society. During his long service with the Board of Governors, he held various positions, including vice-chair and acting chair. From the campus Alumni Walk to the ThresholdImpact University of Alberta Venture Mentoring Service, Wilson’s efforts have led to meaningful improvements for U of A students past and present.


Alumni Award of Excellence

Brian Wildcat, ’95 MEd

The concept of wahkohtowin implies that “all things are connected or related to each other.” This was a guiding principle for Brian Wildcat during the complex process to create a single school system for the four First Nations of Maskwacîs in Alberta. With a goal of ensuring that all Maskwacîs children get the best education possible, the Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC) was launched in September 2018 with Wildcat at its helm. By creating a Cree education system based on community priorities and beliefs, MESC hopes to improve student outcomes, including increased graduation rates. Wildcat, who also attended Camrose Lutheran College (now Augustana Campus), envisions a future with Cree-speaking graduates who are confident, resilient, academically successful and deeply appreciative of their history and culture.


Winnie Yeung, ’04 BEd

Once upon a time, teacher Winnie Yeung had a student who knew only a few English words but had a desire to tell a big story: how his family fled from Iraq to Syria and then, as violence followed them, from Syria to Canada. Known for her willingness to invest in her students, Yeung spent countless hours with Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and his family — interviewing, using Google Translate, researching and writing. The result is Homes: A Refugee Story, which chronicles al Rabeeah’s remarkable life and is lauded as a remarkable Canadian refugee story. The experience made Yeung a trusted confidante, first-time investigator and, ultimately, a first-time author. Homes won the 2019 Writers’ Guild of Alberta award for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards.


Alumni Innovation Award


Tim Gourlay
, ’09 BCom, '18 MBA

As a Golden Bears national champion volleyball player, Tim Gourlay believes life is better when you are active. As an entrepreneur, he wants others to believe that, too. Fitset, launched in Edmonton in 2015, created a fitness co-operative out of 86 competing bricks-and-mortar facilities. It’s a winning situation all around: studios and gyms get more business, members get more variety and Gourlay gets the satisfaction of helping more people find healthy living through exercise. The idea for a multi-facility workout pass came while doing his master’s at the U of A, and he got help from the ThresholdImpact University of Alberta Venture Mentoring Service to fine-tune his plan. Gourlay makes a point of giving back to the U of A and is an inspirational adviser at eHUB, the university’s entrepreneurial community. Gourlay also seeks out opportunities to use his business to drive social change, like his POP (Power Over Poverty) YEG initiative, a month-long series of “karma fitness pop-ups” that raised money for the iHuman Youth Society. Fitset’s success has already spun into a second enterprise: a 50,000-square-foot indoor obstacle course and gym called Fitset Ninja, which is giving Gourlay another opportunity to learn what motivates people to be active.


FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth)
SMASH (Strength, Masculinities, and Sexual Health)
Candice Lys
, ’06 BA(Hons)

Candice Lys is changing how northern teens understand their sexuality — and she’s doing it one teen at a time, using drum circles, art, role-playing, digital storytelling, pizza lunches and real talk. A Métis woman from Fort Smith, N.W.T., Lys well remembers the awkward sex ed classes from her youth. Now she’s leading culturally sensitive conversations, nurturing confident teens who understand their own bodies and their sexual and mental health, through her acclaimed non-profit organizations FOXY and SMASH, reaching Indigenous and northern youth of all genders. FOXY grew out of her PhD research in 2012. Two years later, FOXY’s value was recognized in a big way when it earned the $1-million Arctic Inspiration Prize, the first time it went to a single laureate. The prize enabled her to develop SMASH and, to date, her school-based programs and nine-day Peer Leader Retreats have reached 6,000-plus youth in more than 35 communities across the N.W.T., Nunavut and Yukon. Lys has received the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal and been named a Royal Canadian Navy honorary captain. She is the first N.W.T. recipient of the Ashoka Fellowship, where she is fittingly in the company of the world’s top social innovators.


Darren Freed
, ’97 BMedSc, ’98 MD, ’16 PostgradCert(Med)
Jayan Nagendran, ’00 BMedSc, ’01 MD, ’09 PhD

Surgeons Darren Freed and Jayan Nagendran knew the lifesaving potential of organ transplants but were frustrated by the realities: more than 75 per cent of organs are damaged or unsuitable for transplant, while the protocol of putting them on ice kept them viable for just a few hours. In Winnipeg, Freed had spent hours in his garage tinkering on a prototype of a portable device that could mimic the warmth of a human body; in Edmonton, transplant surgeon-scientist Nagendran was researching how to use the precious time between recovery and transplant to repair damaged organs, such as by removing blood clots from lungs. Their ideas converged when Freed joined the U of A in late 2013; within two years, they had co-founded Tevosol Inc. and designed a device that will buy more time for an organ to be assessed, repaired, transported and transplanted. The portable Ex-Vivo Organ Support System (EVOSS) provides the warmth of a living body while ensuring a constant supply of blood and oxygen to donated organs. Tevosol has garnered several awards and raised more $6 million through investors as it works to change the reality of discarding unsuitable organs and creating a future that saves more lives.


Sports Wall of Fame


Sean Chursinoff, ’91 BEd

The Golden Bears basketball team of the early 1980s was respected in the West but a non-entity on the national scene. Then Sean Chursinoff joined the team in 1985. Within a year, and for the first time in the team’s history, the Bears were ranked number 1 in Canada, a fact that legendary coach Don Horwood credits to Chursinoff’s drive and determination to accept nothing but the best from himself and his teammates. During five years with the Bears, Chursinoff was captain twice and received numerous accolades, including CIAU First Team All-Canadian and Canada West’s player of the year in 1990. Now a special needs teacher in Calgary, Chursinoff has launched exemplary school golf and basketball programs, run summer basketball camps and coached community soccer, hockey and baseball.


Jane Cox Kolodnicki, ’91 BEd

Jane Cox Kolodnicki gave track and field a try when a junior high coach saw potential in the former gymnast’s speed and explosive power. Her accomplishments as a Panda prove it was a leap in the right direction. While attending Campus Saint-Jean from 1989 to 1991, Kolodnicki was among Canada’s most dominant student-athletes in women’s long jump and sprints, winning nine medals in three events, including two national titles. Her 1990 jump of 6.14 metres set a national long jump record that held for nine years — and still hasn’t been bested by another Panda. Kolodnicki is now a teacher and track team coach at a Calgary high school, in addition to serving as a sprints and jumps coach for university athletes.


Serge Lajoie, ’93 BEd, ’11 MA

Serge Lajoie gives the same advice to every teammate, player or student with whom he shares the ice: every day, try to do a bit better. Lajoie played hockey for the Golden Bears while attending Campus Saint-Jean from 1988 to 1993 and is among the team’s most decorated alumni with six championship rings, two nods as coach of the year and one as player of the year. He’s also among a select few Bears to have won national championships as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Following five years playing professional hockey in Germany, he began his coaching career with players ranging from kids in hockey school to Western Hockey League athletes. As he learned from Clare Drake, Lajoie focuses on the whole person, helping young men become outstanding citizens.


Golden Bears Wrestling, ’69 - ’72

The powerhouse Golden Bears wrestling teams of 1969 to 1972 hold the distinction of being the U of A’s first national championship dynasty, winning three consecutive CIAU titles. The teams included several Olympians — Brian Heffel (’68), Ole Sorensen (’72) and Gord Bertie (’72,’76) — as well as Tadamichi Tanaka, a Japanese world champion who moved here to attend the U of A. Coach Bert Taylor, who also led many national teams, once said he was most proud that all but one of his wrestlers had graduated with at least one degree. The Bears’ most impressive legacy was the growth of the sport in the community. Edmonton’s staging of the 1970 World Wrestling Championships solidified the city’s reputation as a wrestling stronghold and a world-class host.