Staff Member Inspires Others to Give


The director of the Centre for Gifted Education at the University of Calgary, Pyryt was an internationally recognized scholar and advocate for gifted education both at the University  of Calgary and beyond. With his sudden passing at the beginning of this year, the U of C community experienced a great loss.

His legacy has since inspired countless donors from around the world to the Centre for Gifted Education and the Dr. Michael C. Pyryt Memorial Graduate Scholarship, a scholarship established for a student registered in a thesis-based program in the Graduate Division of the Educational Research in Gifted Education.

Pyryt’s work particularly inspired one donor, the Cadmus Foundation, to match all funds donated to both the scholarship and Centre for Gifted Education up until December 21, 2008. To date, more than $21,000 has been donated to the scholarship.

“The matching funds stipulation is a unique one,” says Director of Development for Education Karen Karpuk. “Cadmus knew that Dr. Pyryt touched the lives of many people, and wanted to make sure that their gift would reflect this.”

What was it about Dr. Pyryt that inspired so many people to donate in his memory? One of his former students tells it best when she talks about one particular visit he made to her classroom of seven and eight-year-olds:

“I introduced Dr. Pyryt with a long litany of his many research contributions, prestigious university appointments and dazzling acronyms. I then asked if any of the kids had any questions for Michael before we got started.

One boy put up his hand.

‘Umm’ the boy said, almost breathless with anticipation, ‘What I would like to know is…. How did you first become a Pirate?’

All the kids nodded and whispered with nervous eagerness.

Michael paused and paused again.

Pushing up his sleeves, he said, ‘Well…I could tell you….but I’d have to kill you.”