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Illuminating The Alberta Order of Excellence

edited by Allison Sivak
illustrated by Cora Healy-Tobin
foreword by Jim Edwards, PC

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civics & citizenship
list price: $109.99
published: 2008

The Alberta Order of Excellence is the highest honour the Province of Alberta can bestow on a citizen. Members of The Alberta Order of Excellence come from all walks of life. Their careers range from medicine, science, engineering, law, and business to politics, education, agriculture, and the arts. The one thing all members have in common is that they have made an outstanding provincial, national, or international service contribution.

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Editorial Reviews

"This is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University of Alberta, and as part of its celebration the school has produced this wonderfully illustrated compendium of all of the members of the Alberta Order of Excellence. The one-page biographies, one for each inductee, faced by the handcrafted commemorative scroll by Cora Healy-Tobin, are generally summaries of the citations. I suspect that the book will likely be of greatest interest to those who have been nominated and their families, however it does give some sense to what Alberta's elite has valued since the creation of the order in 1981. There are the usual politicians, but few Aboriginal leaders, artists, musicians, or writers of fiction. It was great to see John Snow, the great print maker, Tommy Banks, the musician-politician, and Dave Leonard, the provincial historian, included. However, these exceptions aside, what Alberta does appear to value is philanthropy, academics, medical research, and entrepreneurship. And I suppose to that end the volume may be considered by some to be an accurate reflection of Alberta's reality. Alberta has had the good fortune to have an aggressive group of entrepreneurs who have, in the end, given back considerably to the province, including, for example Ron Mannix, Francis Winspear, Ted Reynolds, and Harry Hole. The book is as much about the art of Cora Healy-Tobin, Alberta's calligrapher, who has designed and illuminated the scrolls for the Alberta Order of Excellence since 1981. The essay by Allison Sivak on Cora's work is appropriately laudatory. If the various biographies seem after a while repetitive, the individual scrolls that have been so carefully designed to reflect the personality of the recipient emerge as real pieces of art in their own right." - Frits Pannekoek, University of Calgary

The contributions of the recipients of membership into the Alberta Order of Excellence are chronicled in this oversized volume (12.25x11.25 inches), with essays documenting the careers and achievements of each member in areas that include industry, music, health sciences, nursing, justice, and preservation of the art and culture of Native Peoples. The essays are presented with a photo of the recipient and a color plate of the hand-lettered scroll of the order made by Healy- Tobin. The scrolls are a remarkable example of calligraphy and illumination, worthy of William Morris himself. Distributed by Michigan State U. Press. (Annotation ©2009 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)

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About the Authors

Allison Sivak

Allison Sivak is a librarian with The University of Alberta's Learning Services. She has a BFA (Writing) from the University of Victoria. She lives in Edmonton.
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Cora Healy-Tobin

Cora Healy-Tobin was born in Ireland. She is a graduate of Hornsey College of Art in London, England, where she majored in heraldic illuminated arts and calligraphy. Her works hang in the United States, Europe, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
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Jim Edwards, PC

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