Robert Thirsk | Legacy Award Winner

Nov. 09, 2017

Chair Trina Hurdman presents the award to Robert Thirsk

The CBE Legacy Award celebrates public education in Calgary and the individuals who have contributed to our communities. In every corner of the city, across the country and beyond, our alumni have made a lasting impact.

Public education makes a difference in our communities, our country and our world. Legacy Award recipients embody the work of the public education system and represent the legacy of the CBE: preparing students for life, work and inspiring life-long learning.

The Board of Trustees presented the fifth Legacy Award to Dr. Robert Thirsk on Nov. 7, 2017.

An engineer, physician, Chancellor of the University of Calgary and, perhaps most famously, an astronaut, Dr. Thirsk holds the Canadian record for the longest space flight and the most time spent in space. Dr. Thirsk attended R.T. Alderman Junior High and Lord Beaverbrook High Schools and has degrees from the University of Calgary, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and McGill University.

In 2012, the CBE named what was then the CBE’s newest high school in Dr. Thirsk’s honour. At the time, Trustee for Robert Thirsk High School said that choosing Thirsk’s name out of the pool of excellent nominees was fitting because, “At one time or another, every child has dreamed of being an astronaut. Robert Thirsk proves that a student from a Calgary public school can do just that.”

Dr. Thirsk continues to have a meaningful relationship with students from the CBE, particularly from Robert Thirsk High School. He is a regular attendee at graduation celebrations and has spoken to many CBE students. We always appreciate his time and the stories and wisdom he shares with our students and staff. His stories are real, and meaningful, and share an insight into Dr. Thirsk and his beliefs about learning and persistence. 

Board Chair Trina Hurdman shared a quote from Dr. Thirsk that captures why Dr. Thirsk is an ideal Legacy Award winner.

“If I have been successful in my career, it is because I have had these repeated opportunities to function at the limits of my personal capabilities. It is when I function outside of my comfort zone that my performance is highest and my achievements are most meaningful.”

“Dr. Thirsk is an inspiration for our students, to reach and achieve beyond their comfort zones,” said Hurdman.