MRU Alumnis Top 40 under 40
By Keoputhy Bunny, News Editor
Mount Royal University’s (MRU) community members are making waves in Calgary. Six alumni, three honorary degree recipients and a university donor, have been named in Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 and Top 7 over 70 respectively.
Avenue Calgary has named their 2021 Top 40 under 40 and six MRU alumni are on the list. According to the magazine, these people came from a variety of backgrounds and fields, the awardees have not only paved a path not only for themselves but for the city as well. The awardees include Jared Blustien, Jason Curry, Allison Dunne, Michelle Fournie, Carmen Morin and Trevor Solway.
Three of MRU’s honorary degree recipients have also been awarded the honour of being one of the Top 7 over 70 for 2021 as well. The Top 7 over 70, according to their website, are people who “started exceptional new ventures after the age of 70.” MRU’s community member winners include Murray McCann, Marg Southern, Don Taylor and Clarence Wolfleg Sr. who is also referred to as Elder Miiksika’am.
Blustien graduated from MRU with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2013 and is the co-founder of The Allium. The Allium, a plant-based restaurant in Southwest Calgary, is run as a worker co-operative with a goal of more equitability. The worker co-op has a leadership that is decentralized and assets that are collectively owned.
Curry went to MRU from 2001 to 2003 and is currently a lieutenant for the Calgary Fire Department. He also helped create and lead four different peer support groups for firefighters across Alberta and established the Firefighters Assistance Charitable Society.
Dunne is the current president of Pink Flamingo, a collective that, according to their website, aims to uplift the the QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community by creating safe spaces through events like anti-racism workshops. She also has helped BIPOC mural artists create Black Lives Matter murals across Calgary.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations, Fournie is breaking barriers for Indigenous post-secondary students. Fournie, or known by her Blackfoot name as Tátsikikkónamaan’ikkitstakiaakii, is managing the Iniikokaan centre at Bow Valley College. She’s also a board member of the Indigenous Gathering Place Society of Calgary. Her mission is to provide more of a community for Indigenous students.
Mount Royal Conservatory’s Morin is also on the Top 40 under 40 list. Morin obtained her Diploma in Music Performance from MRU and became part of the Mount Royal Conservatory’s faculty from 2008 to 2013. Morin’s music school, the Morin Music Studio has helped her earn international renown. She was inducted in the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame in New York.
Solway is a Blackfoot filmmaker from Siksika Nation hailing from Mount Royal’s 2017 graduating journalism class. Solway, or known as Sinakson (writer), founded the non-profit filmmaking organization Napi Collective, whose mission is to bring more support to Indigenous youth. Solway also runs his own production company, Solway Entertainment.
For the Top 7 over 70 list, anybody who is over 70 and lives in Calgary or the surrounding area can be nominated. The three MRU alumni included in the lists had previously received their honorary degrees in different years.
The list included Wolfleg Sr. who received an Honorary Doctor of Law in 2021 and an Honorary Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2016. McCann received an Honorary Bachelor of Nursing in 2018 and Southern received an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2019.
Taylor, whose family helped fund the MRU Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, was also on the list. The awards for the Top 7 over 70 will be presented at their gala on May 26, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Calgary.