2010 Distinguished Alumnus
Pat Morrow (JA '73), mountaineer, photographer, filmmaker, author
"At the time I received my award, I was finishing work on a documentary, 'A Life Ascending,' about mountain guide Ruedi Beglinger and the aftermath of an avalanche. It went on to win three awards at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Since then, my wife and I use the skills we did for a living — photography, writing, film — to volunteer and do community work. In the early days, I was quite interested in the adventure side of life and pushing the boundaries of adventure photography. I used photography and filmmaking to satisfy my curiosity about remote locations and cultures.
More recently, though, it's taken a different direction. Having spent a lot of time with vulnerable indigenous people — and frankly, even people in the mountain town near where I live — I think the humanitarian side of things is more important than ever. As our habitat for wildlife and humans become more fragmented and impacted by global climate change, I can't help but try to build awareness of the issues.
I work with groups like the Conrad Kain Centennial Society. By taking these kids out into the big mountains that I originally climbed in my youth, it opens their eyes to a pristine world. Of the 80 or 90 kids we've taken through the program, about 10 have gone on to pursue careers in outdoor ed and others help preserve the environment. That's the goal: build a sense of stewardship with the kids. If you don't know what you've got, you won't stand up for it."
Pat Morrow, 1988 Order of Canada recipient, has summited the seven highest peaks on each continent; has walked, skied and cycled thousands of kilometres in remote mountain wilderness; has witnessed first-hand the lives of people living in the some of the world's most isolated cultures and has put countless hours towards preserving the mountain wilderness he has spent a lifetime exploring. A great deal of this he has documented in books, films and a multitude of photographs. Pat and his wife Baiba, have produced award-winning films for National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Outdoor Life Network and others. Currently based in Wilmer, B.C., they now use their skills to promote the causes of Indigenous people and the environment.