Gateway Gazette

Rick Smith honoured with Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award

Longview resident Rick Smith was awarded with a Mount Royal Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award on October 2, 2014.

Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award
Richard R. Smith
Business Administration (transfer program), 1969

Rick Smith received the 2014 Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from MRU President David Docherty. ~ Photo by Michelle Bodnar
Rick Smith received the 2014 Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from MRU President David Docherty. ~ Photo by Michelle Bodnar

Rick Smith’s tribute video received a standing ovation from a crowd charmed by his memories of attending Mount Royal Junior College (MRJC) in the ’60s. With regaled the audience with stories about life at the canteen, where card games were played for keeps, and says that Mount Royal played a very important role for him and others like him that were unable to attend university directly after graduating high school.

“We weren’t students that were falling through the cracks, necessarily,” he says. “We just didn’t know which sidewalk we wanted to be on!”

At MRJC Smith says he received a well-rounded, hands-on educational experience that ended up being, “A gateway to a better life.”

With infectious eternal optimism, Smith epitomizes the can-do attitude it took for this province’s first residents to build Alberta into what it is today. The heart and soul of Heritage Park Historical Village for more than three decades, under Smith’s direction as general manager the park became one of the most recognized and acknowledged living history museums in North America. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, many of Heritage Park’s achievements can be attributed to Smith’s leadership, foresight and governance.

Beyond his significant professional activities, Smith’s contributions to the community have been recognized by numerous special awards, including the 2005 Calgary Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medallion of 2012 and, most recently, the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award of 2013. He has volunteered with the Calgary Stampede Historical Committee for many years, helping to raise funds and awareness for one of his passions, chuckwagon racing, and has served on the boards of Calgary Tourism, Alberta Tourism and Calgary Co-op.

Describing his career, his life, his friends and family, he says: “It’s all bigger than you are.”

(Mount Royal University)

Rick Smith’s eternal optimism is infectious, indicative of the can-do attitude it took to build Alberta into what it is today. His lifelong devotion to this province is hard equal. Throughout his distinguished career as well as his considerable community engagement, Smith has enriched countless lives while promoting Alberta’s rich cultural history on the world stage. The heart and soul of Heritage Park Historical Village for more than three decades, under Smith’s direction as general manager the park became one of the most recognized and acknowledged living history museums in North America. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, many of Heritage Park’s achievements can be attributed to Smith’s leadership, foresight and governance. “In my 33 years there — through the efforts of many — I was able to perpetuate the vision of the founders,” Smith says.

Beyond significant professional activities, Smith’s contributions to the community have been recognized by numerous special awards, including the 2005 Calgary Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medallion of 2012 and, most recently, the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award of 2013. He has volunteered with the Calgary Stampede Historical Committee for many years, helping to raise funds and awareness for one of his passions, chuckwagon racing, and has served on the boards of Calgary Tourism, Alberta Tourism and Calgary Co-op.

Smith currently sits as a board member for the Friends of the Bar U National Historic Site; is an ambassador for the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society; is a member of the Advisory Board for the Sheep River Health Trust; and is co-chair of the annual Longview Music and Arts Festival — among many other positions. He also donates his time to the Longview Municipal Library and acts as chair of the Calgary/Quebec City Twinning committee and the Longview Stampede. An inspiration to everyone he meets, Smith’s commitment to improving the lives of others exemplifies the sense of citizenship Mount Royal University strives to instill in all our students.

(Mount Royal University Alumni Association)

Related Articles

Leave a Reply