Feb. 18, 2014

2014 Lecture of a Lifetime to be delivered by Gayla Rogers

Learning and Leading: Lessons from the Heart will reflect on a distinguished career
Gayla Rogers’ belief in working for “social well-being and just societies” is part of the faculty of social work’s vision to this day.

Gayla Rogers’ believes in working for “social well-being and just societies”, shared by Social Work.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

When Gayla Rogers, professor and former dean of social work, says that the University of Calgary has been a huge part of her life, she’s not exaggerating.

“I’ve grown up here. It’s seen me through a lot of stages and transitions – from student to sessional instructor, tenured faculty to dean, and now as a special advisor to the provost,” muses Rogers. “It’s also been there through many of life’s sorrows and joys.”

Rogers’ teaching and service will be celebrated on April 16 when she shares insights, stories and lessons from her distinguished career during the 2014 Lecture of a Lifetime.

Introduced by the University of Calgary Senate in 2008, the annual lecture showcases our top academics, recognizes exceptional talent and achievement, and celebrates outstanding service to the university, its students and the community. It’s also an opportunity for honourees to share what they’ve learned about the value of teaching during their careers.

“When Jim [Chancellor Dinning] phoned me, I was honoured, surprised and thrilled to say yes,” remembers Rogers. “Then, I hung up the phone and said ‘OMG,’ because it’s a rather daunting task to pull together something like this.”

Those who know Rogers believe she is a natural choice.

“Having known Gayla since high school and watched her excel in her career, I was thrilled when she was recommended‎ as this year's 'Lecturer',” says Chancellor Jim Dinning. “We're so fortunate to have a strong leader like Dr. Rogers among us on our campus."

Never one to settle for the status quo, Rogers has made many outstanding contributions to the university and community by supporting innovation, embracing change, motivating others and inspiring excellence. She advocates for the vulnerable, works to empower the disadvantaged, and is known as a thoughtful leader and capacity builder.

Rogers received the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Order of the University of Calgary in 2010, and was named a Global Television/YWCA “Woman of Vision” and the Calgary-based “Woman of Influence” by Deloitte Women of Influence Inc.

During her tenure as dean, she was instrumental in securing provincial government support to expand undergraduate and graduate social work education across Alberta, including First Nations and Métis communities. The faculty’s first-ever endowed research chair was established under Rogers’ leadership, as were a significant number of research grants, community-based projects, and student awards and scholarships.

Underpinning all of these accomplishments is a fundamental belief in the importance of people and relationships. Rogers urges each person to “be part of the solution, regardless of age, stage or ability. Get involved in something bigger than yourself. Contribute something that will make this world a better place.”

Fitting words for the Lecture of a Lifetime.