University of Calgary

New book shares memories of Lola Rozsa

"The wonderful thing about history is you can learn from it every day. Dr. Lola Rozsa knows her history especially when it comes to her community. Her stories of Calgary from its earliest moments teach us new lessons on every page." - Peter Mansbridge

Nov. 4, 2013

My Name Is Lola is the memoir of Lola Rozsa (1920-2012). Lola Rozsa was a prominent and integral part of Calgary's cultural life as she and the city grew and changed together over sixty years. The book is part of The West Series published by University of Calgary Press under the series editorship of Aritha van Herk. Van Herk calls the book a gift and a celebration: "My Name is Lola is a rich and engaging recounting of Calgary's history, American influence on Calgary's oil patch and the development of the city's culture. This is the story of an incorrigible woman and how she and her family became an icon for Calgary. Completely engaging and wonderfully told, Lola Rozsa's distinctive voice resonates with wisdom and energy."

Reflecting Lola Rozsa's own words and thoughts as told to author Susie Sparks, the book contains the collected memories of sixty years of life and service to her family, her church and her community. Married in 1939, Lola and her husband Ted made their way from the tiny towns of the dust bowl Depression-era, southern plains of the United States to the burgeoning oilfields of 1949 Alberta. As Ted strived to build his first seismic company, Lola raised their children in Calgary, an environment far different from the home in Texas she desperately missed. The values instilled in her as a preacher's daughter served her well as she created a home for her family and immersed herself in service to her new community.

As the Rozsas and the city prospered together, Lola built an enduring legacy of cultural institutions, most notably her work to develop and support the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Calgary. Lola Rozsa was a founding member, and later president, of the Calgary Philharmonic Society Women's League. She and Ted made philanthropic contributions to the CPO as well as many other arts organizations. They built the Rozsa Centre - known informally as 'Lola's Place' - to ensure music students at the University of Calgary would have studio space and performance theatres enabling Calgary to develop and continue its own musical legacy. She was named a Woman of Distinction in 2001 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Calgary in 2002.

"We are honoured to be celebrating Lola's remarkable life and the launch of this book here on campus, where Lola, Ted, and their family have made such a tremendous impact for more than three decades," said Tom Hickerson, vice-provost of University of Calgary's Libraries and Cultural Resources. "We are thankful for their years of friendship and we are profoundly grateful that Lola and her family chose to share their giving spirit with the University of Calgary and include us in their extraordinary story."

My Name is Lola launches Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at a reception held at the University of Calgary's Rozsa Centre.

For review copies and course adoption inquiries, please email

WHAT:   My Name is Lola official book launch and reception.                
WHEN:   Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 4 p.m. with remarks expected to begin
        at 5 p.m.                                                          
WHERE:  University of Calgary, Rozsa Centre, Husky Oil Great Hall, 206     
        University Court N.W.