Dr. Chan Wirasinghe
From a young boy growing up in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Dr. Chan Wirasinghe had a vision for building. This was not just limited to studying engineering, which he did at the University of Ceylon and later on obtaining his MSc and doctoral degree in transportation engineering from the University of California at Berkley. Dr. Wirasinghe’s vision for building extended to building a first-class engineering school with an international reputation. During his tenure as Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, he most certainly propelled the faculty to the leadership status it enjoys today. Accomplishments while Dean include the 100 per cent increase of both undergraduate and graduate engineering enrolments, the expansion to two additional teaching buildings (with a third being donated), and existing programs enhanced, several of which are nationally and internationally renowned.
His ambitions for building (or rebuilding in this case) continued to founding the International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction, which was the result of the 2004 Tsunami. The institute is an international consortium of 20 universities that provide leadership in research, education, planning, design and implementation in disaster affected or underdeveloped regions.
For his extensive accomplishments, Dr. Chan is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2000 Alberta Premier’s Silver Award of Excellence, the City of Calgary’s Citizen of the Year Award in 2006 and APEGA’s 2008 Volunteer Service Award.