University of Calgary

Majoring in Disruption

Submitted by alumni on Sun, 11/06/2016 - 11:59.

Majoring in Disruption

A young Qatari demonstrates his falconry skills for students, faculty, staff and the local community at the University of Calgary in Qatar’s 2016 International Day celebrations.A young Qatari demonstrates his falconry skills for students, faculty, staff and the local community at the University of Calgary in Qatar’s 2016 International Day celebrations.




Innovation, disruption, risk-taking — they are all ingredients in the special sauce for startup success. However, do these Silicon Valley buzzwords — typically used by people who see a problem, try to solve it and then flip it on its head — actually translate to people’s lives, beyond those who become successful entrepreneurs?

That’s precisely what this issue sets out to discover. Whether risk-taking is the creation of a UCalgary campus in Qatar, an alumna summiting Mount Kenya or researchers using zombies in a case study to illustrate infectious diseases, real “disruption” comes from taking risks, even when you can’t predict where those ambitions are going to lead.

Sort of like your education.

Some students, certainly, have a singular focus and never stray, but so many others veer down alternate career paths that often use the knowledge learned in class, yet they find themselves applying it in all sorts of other spheres.

You’ll find profiles and opinions from students, alumni, university faculty and philanthropists who, throughout their lives, seem to persistently ask the question, “Why not?”

We hope you enjoy their bold discoveries and fresh answers to that very question in this issue.

– Deb Cummings U




Risky Business

What, exactly, are we willing to risk and what do we hope to gain? Is it true that on any adventure — whether in a corporate boardroom or while summiting Mt. Everest — you are the great risk to yourself?

A Generational Divide — Maybe Not?

Is it a lack of trust in authority? Idealism? Parental closeness? From Baby Boomers to the iGeneration, we examine the power that politics, geography, arts and parents play in shaping a generation’s values.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Ever wonder what our three-time alumna and president of the university, Elizabeth Cannon, was like as a student? Here’s the reveal, as well as how much further we can go by supporting Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High.