Yesterday (Sept. 13, 2012), the University of Alberta lost of one of its most remarkable and beloved alumni: The Honourable E. Peter Lougheed. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students of the university, I extend my deepest condolences to Peter Lougheed’s family and friends. Being able to meet and come to know Mr. Lougheed has been one of the great privileges of being president of this university. His enduring affection for and commitment to the U of A has always been evident to me, whether he was speaking at special university events or congratulating the latest recipients of the prestigious Peter Lougheed Scholarship. His gifts to this university and to generations of U of A students will continue to live on for years to come.
Peter Lougheed first came to the U of A in the late 1940s to take his bachelor of arts. After completing his BA in 1951, he went onto to earn a bachelor of laws in 1952. During his undergraduate years, he was an active and popular campus leader. He wrote for the Gateway, served as president of the Students’ Union, and also played for the Golden Bears and then the Edmonton Eskimos for two seasons.
As you will know, Peter Lougheed went on to become one of Alberta’s and Canada’s most effective and well-respected leaders. His tenure as this province’s 10th premier left a remarkable legacy: thriving energy and agricultural industries; the Alberta Heritage Trust Fund; endowed student scholarships for Albertan students entering post-secondary education; well-funded health sciences research that has generated major discoveries; and a diverse cultural landscape that derives in part from his strong commitment to the development of arts, culture, sport and recreation in Alberta. His principled advocacy for Alberta also won Peter Lougheed admiration on the national stage. In 1982, he played an important role in the repatriation of the Canadian constitution and became a member of the Privy Council of Canada.
I cannot fully recount all of Peter Lougheed’s many, many accomplishments and honours here, except to mention that he received an honorary degree from his alma mater in 1986 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to his province and country.
In my view, Peter Lougheed is a giant among U of A’s thousands of extraordinary alumni. His leadership on campus as a student foreshadowed the leadership he would display throughout his life. His drive to achieve his full potential was evident in all that he attempted. His reputation for clear thinking and effective communication was a testament to the value of his liberal arts education. And, finally, his dedication to public service, in politics and beyond, will always remain a powerful model for all current and future U of A students who strive, as he once did, to be a leader and a force for positive change within society.
President Indira Samarasekera, OC