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MRU Foundation

Our Alumni

Philanthropist by design

Our Alumni - Amanda Hamilton If you do not recognize Amanda Hamilton by name, you surely will recognize her by her work. She and her company Amanda Hamilton Interior Design (AHID) have produced some of the most striking interior design projects for several of Calgary’s most celebrated restaurants: Native Tongues, The Beltliner, Rodney’s Oyster House, Añejo, Bread & Circus and Flores & Pine.

Outside of her impressive resume, Amanda is also fiercely focused on helping and supporting students who aspire towards entrepreneurship. She credits her decision to enroll at MRU with the successful direction her life has taken ever since, and has remained in close contact with the institution. Beginning in 2017, she funded the Amanda M. Hamilton Interior Design Travel Scholarship, which awards $2500 annually to a full-time student who will be enrolled in their second or third year of the Bachelor of Interior Design in the upcoming fall semester. She is also a mentor with the Harry G. Schaefer Mentorship Program, providing support, advice and contacts to senior students.

Over the 11 years of her business, Hamilton says that she’s changed her thought process about her professional role: at this point in her career, she believes that she is at work to mentor others. She strives to be honest, supportive and authentic, and to prepare more junior designers and students for what it’s going to be like out in the “real world.” When designers leave her studio, Hamilton is confident she’s put fantastic designers out in the world, designers who are leaders and have integrity. 

Meet JasonHelping students soar

As a young boy, Jason Arthur was captivated by airplanes. At the age of 14, he would scrape together his savings, ride his bike to the flying school close to his home in Okotoks and take introductory flights as often as he could afford them.

His introduction to MRU happened after high school through alumnus Kelly Shaw, who is now a senior pilot with Air Canada. Shaw and Arthur remain close friends almost 20 years later, and the impact Shaw’s mentorship had on Arthur was immense.

Following Arthur’s graduation from the MRU Aviation program in 2003, it was challenging for new pilots to secure positions with major airlines. Instead, he joined the military and trained to become a helicopter pilot. Arthur flew missions in Afghanistan that resupplied troops with food and ammunition, inserted troops on targets and evacuated casualties to the hospital.

When his contract with the military was up, he flew helicopters from St. John’s, N.L. to oil rigs located 400 km offshore. Arthur would often transport workers to the drilling platforms, and other times he’d make the two and a half hour journey to bring parts necessary for repairs.

While he was in St. John's, he reflected on his work experiences and on how fortunate he was to have Shaw as his mentor. Ultimately, it drove Arthur to connect with MRU’s Harry G. Schaefer Mentorship Program, helping to guide the next generation of MRU students.

Beyond giving back to his alma mater as a mentor and as the Aviation Safety manager, Arthur recently created a new scholarship for MRU Aviation students.

“I realized you don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference. You can start something grassroots and bring together a group of people to, essentially, crowdfund something that’s meaningful to all of them.” - Jason Arthur

Meet AislinnTraits of an entrepreneur

Aislinn Grant graduated from the Mount Royal University Entrepreneurship program in 2015. Aislinn was a winner in the first JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition in 2013. Donor funded and hosted by MRU’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the annual event sees top Mount Royal students pitch their entrepreneurial venture to a panel of experienced judges. Aislinn Grant, a second-year Health Sciences student, wowed investors and received funding towards Aisycakes, her line of all-natural therapeutic bath products.

During her time at MRU, Aislinn founded Aisy, a sustainable bath bomb company. After over 4 years in operation, Aislinn closed Aisy’s virtual doors to launch Trout + Taylor, an edgy marketing firm that builds beautiful brands for businesses all over the world. Their clients include Lululemon, TD Bank, Anthropologie, Earls, and Salted Cycle.

Through her experiential learning in the Entrepreneurship program at Mount Royal, she learned that adaptability is key to survival. Through her time starting and running Aisy, she learned the guiding principle to the business she owns and runs today; the importance of having a beautiful, consistent and compelling brand. Listen to her story

Place HolderPut on earth to tell stories

“I've always seen my work and skillset tied to my community. My biggest contribution to my community is keeping their stories alive. That is the driving force of everything that I do.” - Trevor Solway

Just three years after graduating from MRU, Trevor Solway has combined the tradition of storytelling embedded deep in his culture with skills learned at Mount Royal University to build a creative career that has already taken him around the world. Solway is a Blackfoot filmmaker from the Siksika Nation.

Solway acts as writer, producer and director for his short films and documentaries, which have been screened at international film festivals and earned many accolades. His film, Indian Giver, was screened at the ImagineNATIVE Media & Arts Festival, the Calgary International Film Festival, the American Indian Film Festival and the LA Skins Fest. Siksika Strong, a documentary, helped raise $77,000 for the 2013 flood evacuees of his community.

Solway credits his success to the support and encouragement of MRU journalism professor Sean Holman during his time as a student. In class, every story and photograph was celebrated and — most importantly — helpfully critiqued. He says he learned not just “the craft” from Holman, but also persistence and confidence.

Solway is the first grandchild in his family to go to university and shares the story of his positive experience at Mount Royal. He helps other Indigenous people with the application process, which can be daunting. His cousin is now in his second year at MRU, inspired by Solway’s success.