MacEwan University is named after former Lieutenant Governor Dr. J.W. Grant MacEwan. The university’s coat of arms bears a sparrow with a walking stick to further honour Dr. MacEwan. Since he passed in 2000, his daughter, Heather MacEwan-Foran, continued the relationship between the university and her family. Sadly, MacEwan-Foran passed away earlier this year following a battle with cancer.
MacEwan University paid tribute to MacEwan-Foran this fall with a ceremony to officially name the gardens located on the east end of MacEwan’s City Centre Campus as Heather’s Garden. The Garden will reside with other tributes on the campus, including the Christenson Family Centre for Sport and Wellness, Robbins Health Learning Centre, and Allard Hall.
“The university has a 46-year history with the MacEwan family,” said Dr. Deborah Saucier, MacEwan University’s president. “What began with Dr. Grant MacEwan was carried forward by his daughter, Heather, who shared her father’s profound belief in nature and the importance of being a steward of the environment. The university is richer for that relationship.”
Despite being a resident of Calgary, MacEwan-Foran attended most of the university’s special occasions, often travelling by bus and staying in residence to do so; and like her father, who also frequently attended on-campus events, she greatly enjoyed connecting with students, faculty and staff.
MacEwan-Foran’s last visit to campus took place in May 2014, during which she attended MacEwan Day, the university’s annual celebration of its namesake and staff achievements.
“Heather loved her annual visit to MacEwan University, where she met and interacted with people who cared about the things she valued,” said husband Max Foran. “Our family is delighted about the idea of Heather’s Garden as an ongoing testament to her bond with nature, and with the institution that she cared so much about.”
This fall, MacEwan University also made headlines with an art installation that represented a three-year labour of love for artist Brenda Draney. The installation, called Trapline, honours Alberta’s trapping heritage.
“The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) … [was] pleased to work with MacEwan University to facilitate an original and incredibly meaningful new work by Brenda Draney for students and audiences alike at Allard Hall. This work will be added to the AFA’s permanent art collection, and it will be cared for and maintained for the benefit of all Albertans for years to come,” said Liam Oddie, chair, Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
MacEwan University, formerly Grant MacEwan College, was founded in 1971 with a mandate to provide student-focused instruction in a warm and inclusive atmosphere. The University “focuses on teaching so our students can focus on learning,” and it has not varied from that mandate for nearly 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 65 programs, each designed to provide a transformative education based on creativity, research and innovation that involves students, faculty and the community. The university continues its mandate to provide outstanding education while also honouring the students and community members that impact both the institution and Edmonton as a whole.