Dr. Margaret "Marmie" Perkins Hess Awards

Margaret Perkins Hess was born in Calgary on May 3, 1916. Her father, Frederick Hess, was president of Revelstoke Sawmill Co. Her mother, Ina (nee Perkins) Hess, had attended the Toronto Conservatory of Music in the late 1890s. Early in life, Margaret acquired the nickname Marmie, and it stuck. She attended the private St. Hilda's School for Girls and Western Canada High School, started her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Alberta in 1934 and completed it four years later at the University of Toronto.

During the Second World War, Ms. Hess taught art history at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, and Banff School of Fine Arts, and also volunteered with the Red Cross and established a rehabilitation program for veterans.

Following the war, she began graduate studies at the University of Iowa, but these were cut short by her mother's death in 1946. She returned to Canada to help in her father's business and to act as his companion at social functions. Four years before Frederick's death in 1956, he had purchased the historic Spencer Creek Ranch and the ranch became an enduring passion for Ms. Hess.

Ms. Hess worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary. She served on the senate of both institutions, each of which conferred on her an honorary Doctorate of Law. Her many lifetime accolades include the Order of Canada (first as a member and then an officer) and the Alberta Award of Excellence. The Canadian government recognized her contributions to the Inuit by naming an archeological site in Nunavut the Hess Site.

An intensely private woman, Ms. Hess welcomed few people into her Calgary home, which was filled with precious art, artifacts and books. Her philanthropy was conducted quietly, at the University of Calgary and elsewhere. She didn't want her name on any wall in recognition, but she did want to meet with the students, quiz them on their studies and find out what they planned to do with their lives.

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