McNally honoured as Friend of Health Sciences Award winner

The University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Health Sciences has named Dr. Ed McNally (LLD ’05) as the 2014 Friend of Health Sciences Award recipient.

Dr. Ed McNally, the Big Rock Brewery founder, has excelled as a lawyer, farmer/rancher and entrepreneur.

The Friend of Health Sciences Award honours individuals and organizations that make a significant contribution to health education and research in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the U of L.

In 2008, McNally funded a scholarship for every graduate nursing student at the University of Lethbridge. He has made a similar gift in each ensuing year, providing a McNally-funded award to every masters-level nursing student in every year of his or her studies.

“By establishing one of the largest student award funds in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. McNally has ensured that graduate nurses will be leading the way for our Faculty, and indeed our university, as we continue our focus as a leading comprehensive academic and research institution,” says Dr. Chris Hosgood, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

To date, 40 U of L nursing students have received a McNally-funded award, named in honour of his mother, Margaret Elliot McNally (Thomson), who was on the frontline of nursing during the First World War. A group of nursing students was responsible for nominating McNally for the Friend of Health Sciences honour.

“Receiving the McNally graduate scholarship helped me not only financially but it also spoke to me and told me that somebody else had invested in my education besides myself, and that can be a very powerful motivator,” says former student Bernadine Wojtowicz, now the Nursing Education in Southwestern Alberta BN Programs Co-Chair and Theory Courses coordinator at the University of Lethbridge. “It was encouraging and a great honour.”

McNally, who grew up in Lethbridge, is the founder of Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery. A lawyer, farmer/rancher and entrepreneur, McNally represented farmers who had trouble selling their malting barley. He later became a farmer when he saw potential for development in the market, and turned his focus to brewing in 1985 when he founded Big Rock Brewery, looking to make the beers that he wanted to drink.

Hosgood says McNally’s gift has not only benefited students during the course of their education, but has also contributed significantly to the capacity of the Faculty as a whole and lends support to the next generation of health professionals.

“Dr. McNally’s generosity and his desire to see nurses pursue advanced nursing studies has been particularly beneficial to the Faculty of Health Sciences,” says Hosgood. “Thirteen recipients of the McNally Graduate Studies Nursing Scholarship currently work within our nursing program, and are giving back to students by furthering the profession on a daily basis.”

In 2005, McNally was bestowed an honorary degree by the University of Lethbridge.

For more inspiring stories on the individuals and organizations who have helped shaped the University of Lethbridge, please visit: