Alberta Order of Excellence bestowed on U of A legends
The Alberta Order of Excellence was presented to U of A professor emeritus Bob Steadward and paleontologist Philip Currie Oct. 20 at Government House in Edmonton.
A committee of volunteers, led by Alberta’s lieutenant governor Donald Ethell, considers a list of nominees for the Alberta Order of Excellence. The award recognizes people for long service to Albertans and for the impact their work has on people across Canada and around the world. Another criterion is that the recipient’s work stands the test of time.
As a renowned dinosaur hunter, Currie measures time in tens of millions of years. His credits include a key role in the creation of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, landmark research publications from dinosaur digs as far flung as Mongolia and Argentina, and continued work communicating the important role ancient fossils play in determining the environmental future of the planet.
“I couldn’t be happier because this award is a milestone for paleontology in Alberta,” said Currie. “There aren’t many places in the world where a government would recognize these resources are vital and that we should continue to study and develop this resource.”
Steadward is no stranger to the pomp and ceremony of a major government award. Already an Officer of the Order of Canada, Steadward has been recognized for his work on behalf of disabled athletes around the world. Steadward says he finds special meaning in this award from his home province.
“Sometimes it makes things a little bit more special when recognition comes from close to your own home,” he said.
Another example of Steadward’s local recognition sits on the U of A’s South Campus at the Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement. The origins of the facility go back to Steward’s days as a U of A professor. He is now the honorary president of the centre, which is recognized as a leading facility in disability research.
Steadward says his Alberta Order of Excellence Award is a reminder that the disabled need others to champion their cause because they can go unnoticed. Steadward also says the need for recognition of people with disabilities has never been greater.
“As people are living longer it’s amazing to see the increase in the number of people with disabilities so it’s incredibly important for the government to focus on support for the services these people require.”