A man from Priddis is among eight Albertans to receive the Alberta Order of Excellence.

Max Foran is highly respected throughout Alberta as a teacher, professor, author, historian, media figure, wildlife activist and contributor to his community.

He has influenced generations of students, historians and Albertans with his original thinking and dynamic approach.

Maxwell Foran was born in Granville, a working-class suburb of Sydney, Australia. 

In 1963, Max moved to Calgary where he taught at King Edward School. 

His wife Heather MacEwan's father happened to be another Alberta Order of Excellence recipient Dr. Grant MacEwan.

Foran attended summer school in 1964 to obtain an Alberta teaching certificate, taking classes at night while teaching by day. As an undergrad, he had the opportunity to take two senior graduate history classes and was hooked.

He continued to teach elementary school and was principal at four different Calgary schools over his career.

He's had his historical novel, The Madonna List, published and translated into eight languages

Max was also willing to share the of history the CPR, the Calgary Stampede and other parts of western Canada through his work on radio and television.

He's written three other books: Trails and Trials: Markets and Land Use in the Alberta Beef Cattle Industry, 1881-1948 and Expansive Discourses: Urban Sprawl in Calgary, 1945-1978. 

Heather was diagnosed with terminal Stage 4 lung cancer and Max retired from the university at the age of 79. At Heather’s request, he wrote 2018’s The Subjugation of Canadian Wildlife: Failures of Principle and Policy. Following in the footsteps of her conservationist father, Heather had devoted much of her life to animal advocacy.  Sadly, Heather died of non-smoker’s lung cancer in 2017 before the book came out.

Together with his daughters, Foran manages the Grant MacEwan Charitable Foundation, which supports charities involved in animal welfare.

Largely held as one of the best speakers on campus, Max received two UCalgary Students’ Union Excellence in Teaching Awards (2003, 2007). He also received the Historical Society of Alberta Appreciation Certificate for Service (1985), Top 40 UCalgary Alumni (2006) and City of Calgary Community Achievement Award in Education (2007). In 2022, he received the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal (Alberta).

Max lives near Priddis in the log home he and Heather built. Lynwyn, Fiona, and their families live in nearby Calgary, which means he visits regularly with his four grandchildren.

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