Dec. 10, 2020

National leader, Calgary philanthropist named Distinguished Policy Fellows

School of Public Policy honours Rona Ambrose and David A. Bissett for lifetime commitment to Canadian public policy
Rona Ambrose and David A. Bissett
Rona Ambrose and David A. Bissett

On Dec. 2, the School of Public Policy announced Rona Ambrose and David A. Bissett as the 2020 Distinguished Policy Fellows, in recognition of their lifetime commitment to the betterment of public policy in Canada.

The Distinguished Policy Fellowships are awarded annually to people who exhibit a distinguished record as leaders in public policy research, education, development, implementation, or advocacy.

 “These awards are the school’s highest possible recognition of the dedication shown by these individuals to drive positive policy change in Canada," says Dr. Pierre-Gerlier Forest, PhD, professor and director of the James S. and Barbara A. Palmer Chair in Public Policy. "The recipients serve as models of engagement for our students — developing, analyzing, and supporting public policy that has direct impact on our world, improving the lives of Calgarians, Albertans, and Canadians.”

Ambrose is a dynamic national leader who's received many awards for her advocacy and roles in public policy development. As a key member of the federal cabinet for a decade, Ambrose served as a minister across nine departments and agencies. At the time of her appointment, she was the youngest female cabinet minister in Canadian history.

Bissett is a financial management executive and one of Calgary’s leading philanthropists. In the early 2000s, Bissett switched his focus to philanthropy, supporting post-secondary education, environmental initiatives and community programs. Bissett is a member of the Order of Canada, the Alberta Business Hall of Fame and received the Alberta Order of Excellence.

"I am thrilled to be a 2020 Distinguished Policy Fellow," says Ambrose. "It's an honour to be joining a class of individuals who have helped shape Canadian public policy for the better."

“I am humbled to join a distinguished group of honorees who have so contributed so much to Alberta and Canada,” says Bissett.

Unfortunately, the 2020 Distinguished Policy Fellow dinner and awards ceremony has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Since its inception in 2017, proceeds from this event have funded numerous scholarships to deserving graduate students. Without this event, many Master of Public Policy and Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development students will not receive scholarships next year. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to our Distinguished Policy Fellow Scholarship in honour of this year’s Distinguished Policy Fellows.

Donate to this scholarship. For more information contact Catherine Scheers, director of development, at

About the Master of Public Policy and Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development programs

The goal of the Master of Public Policy program is to train policy professionals for leadership positions in government and the private sector. Our students develop a comprehensive approach that enables them to collaborate with senior policy leaders from government, business and the community to address issues in a practical, focused and global manner. The program fosters in students an appreciation of the importance of effective institutions, efficient regulation and the role that markets play in open, democratic societies. Learn more about the School of Public Policy

The Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development (SEDV) is an interdisciplinary graduate program providing a balanced education related to energy and environmental management. A combined offering through the School of Public Policy, the Haskayne School of Business, the Schulich School of Engineering, the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape, and the Faculty of Law, SEDV is an unprecedented program designed for professionals and students who are seeking a broad-based and comprehensive education in sustainable energy.