June 17, 2022

Dr. David Este presented with Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award

Faculty of Social Work Professor Emeritus exceptional career recognized by Calgary's top awards
Dr. David Este
Kloie Picot, for the Faculty of Social Work

Citing his significant contributions to work on anti-racism and a remarkable career as a social worker, researcher, author and filmmaker, the City of Calgary recently honoured University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work professor emeritus Dr. David Este, PhD, with Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Calgary Awards.

"I am deeply honoured to receive this award from the City of Calgary and members of Grant McEwan's family,” says Dr. Este. “During my career I have had the pleasure of working with a cross-section of individuals. This includes my colleagues, students, staff, and community partners at The University of Calgary and within the city. I also worked with colleagues across Canada and these interactions enriched my experiences as a social work educator. I would like to thank you all of you for helping me contribution to social work education and practice and once again, I am deeply humbled for this recognition.”

The award is the latest of many accolades and honours bestowed upon Este in recognition of his many contributions to the field of social work and beyond. Earlier this year, the Faculty of Social Work announced the Dave Este Excellence Graduate Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a Black Faculty of Social Work graduate student.

“We want to make sure that we encourage more [Black] students to go into graduate school, whether it be at the MSW level or the PhD level,” Este said at the time. “From a gender perspective, there is a need to try to get more Black male students in graduate schools of social work, because there's a dearth of male African Canadian social work faculty in Canada.”

Also this year, Este was among the Faculty of Social Work team members honoured at the UCalgary Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Awards for a study that explored the experiences of race and racism among social work educators and students.

In 2019, he became the first University of Calgary professor to be honoured with the Lee Lorch Award, one of the Canadian Association of University Teachers' (CAUT) highest honours.

Our Faculty is so proud to have been mentored by Dave for decades and he has had immense impacts in creating social change.
Dr. Ellen Perrault

Este has devoted his career to asking hard questions about racism, immigration and diversity in this country. He was involved in research studies examining the health and well-being of people of African descent in Canada, and HIV/AIDS service utilization by African newcomers to Calgary. He was a co-primary investigator of the Strength in Unity Project that focused on reducing stigma around men's mental health in several Asian communities. 

Este is also the co-author of one book and co-editor of four volumes, including Racism and Anti-Racism in Canada. He has published extensively, including several journal articles and book chapters focused on issues related to immigration and diversity. During his career, Este has been deeply involved in the community, working with a number of non-profit organizations including the United Way of Calgary, Woods' Homes, and the Coalition for Equal Access to Education.  

In recent years, he added the role of film producer to an already impressive CV, drawing on his research on African-Canadian history for the documentary films We Are the Roots: Black Settlers and Their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies, and Black Lives in Alberta: Over a Century of Racial Injustice Continues.

“Dr. Este has dedicated his life to equity and social justice,” says Dr. Ellen Perrault, PhD, RSW, Dean of the Faculty of Social Work at UCalgary. “Our Faculty is so proud to have been mentored by Dave for decades and he has had immense impacts in creating social change.”

The Faculty of Social scholarships for Black students are dependent upon the support of people like you. If you think this is an important initiative, please consider donating to the Dave Este Excellence Graduate Scholarship.