Our History


Rozsa Foundation was founded in 1990 by Drs. Ted and Lola Rozsa to support and strengthen the arts sector in Calgary. Ted, having started and successfully grown several companies, realized that pairing a sharp understanding of business with this passion would ultimately strengthen each company and the arts sector as a whole.


In 2003, the Rozsa Foundation wished to honor the philanthropy of Drs. Ted and Lola Rozsa by establishing the Rozsa Award. The goal of the Rozsa Award was to recognize, promote and celebrate excellence in arts management in order to make the field more attractive for future leaders.

Leveraging funds given to Dr. Ted Rozsa as part of the 2002 Edmund C. Bovey Award, the Foundation, the award would have an impact on more than one arts organization. In 2019, a second award was added to celebrate excellence in board leadership.


In 2012, the Rozsa Foundation extended its commitment to professional development in the Arts with the launch of the Rozsa Arts Management Program in partnership with the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business. As of 2015, this program was also offered in Edmonton at the University of Alberta School of Business. In addition, new Arts Leadership programs were added in 2016, including Rozsa Admin Fundamentals (RAFT) and Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL). 

Apart from the capacity building initiatives, and the artistic development and production grants, the Foundation is constantly exploring new frontiers where support for the Arts will impact the community. Accordingly, significant support is provided for applied research.

2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Rozsa Foundation. In those 30 years, the foundation has awarded hundreds of grants, held 16 Rozsa Awards to celebrate the achievements of Alberta arts leaders, and worked with hundreds of arts administrators, leaders, and board members on their professional development. We have sponsored research to help guide and support the sector, and have joined the community to advocate for the arts in Alberta. We have enjoyed countless performances, festivals, and exhibitions. At 30 years, the Rozsa Foundation is proud to be a reliable and inspiring catalyst for ongoing transformational change in the arts, and to be a part of a vibrant and exciting arts community. 

DR. THEODORE ROZSA (1915-2006)

Ted was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 12, 1915. He was the son of a Hungarian immigrant who instilled in him his lifelong commitment to the value of hard work.

In 1933, he completed his high school diploma with honors and in 1936, two and a half years after he entered what is now Michigan Technological University, his Bachelor of Science degree in geology, with honors.

Ted was a pioneer in the post-war oil industry. His first and only employment after graduation was with the Shell Oil Company, where he spent thirteen years managing seismic exploration from the Gulf of Mexico to the tundra of northern Alberta. In 1950, one year after relocating to Calgary to assume the position of chief geophysicist for Canada, he left Shell to start his own company, Frontier Geophysical. Over the next forty years, Ted utilized his considerable skills as a geophysicist and geological engineer to build three petroleum exploration companies in southern Alberta. For these accomplishments, in 1987, he was awarded the first Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) gold medal for his integrity, outstanding professionalism, and significant contribution to the application and business development of Exploration Geophysics.

Ted actively supported his community by sharing his financial success. His capital contributions launched the construction of the Rozsa Centre at the University of Calgary, and the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University, where he also established a student scholarship fund. Capital support was also given to the Banff Centre and Centre for the Performing Arts. Ted made a large endowment to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for the Maestro's Chair, as well as giving significant annual operational funding to the CPO, Calgary Opera, Honens, in addition to supporting the Glenbow Museum, Theatre Calgary, Foothills Hospital and many other charitable causes. Mr. Rozsa received numerous honors for his professional contributions, philanthropy and civic leadership.

In 1990, he received an Honorary Doctor of Engineering from Michigan Technological University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary. In 1991, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, of which he was most proud. Other honors he received include the Michigan Technological University Silver Medal (1988), the Canadian Music Council Award (1989), the Government of Canada Lescarbot Award (1991), Rotary Integrity Award (1994), Edmund C. Bovey Award for Business and the Arts (2002), Lieutenant Governor Award (2004), Alberta Centennial Medal (2005).

Ted's lifelong recreation was the game of golf. He was one of the early CSEG members who founded the Doodlebug Golf Tournament in 1953, in which he played for thirty-eight consecutive years and is remembered through the annual Ted Rozsa Doodlebug Award. He was an active member of the Calgary Golf and Country Club for over fifty years.

DR. LOLA MAY ROZSA (1920-2012)


Lola was born in Hobart, Oklahoma on February 26, 1920. As the youngest daughter of a Charles Estes, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife Nannie, the strength of family and importance of church community formed the foundation of her life. Lola easily established new friendships and developed her natural gift of truly listening to everyone she met. She rarely forgot a name despite the fact that she lived in many homes in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas, during her childhood years.

Lola married her husband Ted in 1939 and continued the pattern of moving frequently. Life with Ted meant following seismic crews across the United States, relocating at least forty times before arriving in Calgary in 1949. Since Lola always sang in a church choir with her family, she immediately joined the Chancel Choir in her new church home, Grace Presbyterian Church, becoming a faithful member for thirty-two years. She was active in Mac 14 Theatre (now known as Theatre Calgary) and also performed with the American Women's Club.

In 1955, Lola became one of the founding members, and later president, of the Calgary Philharmonic Society Women's League, where she helped create the school children's concerts and the Benny the Bookworm fund raiser, both initiatives which still exist today.

After twenty-five years as an active volunteer, she and Ted turned their focus to philanthropic contributions to the CPO as well as many other arts organizations. They ensured that a fine acoustic hall was built on the campus of the University of Calgary. Although the venue bears their surname, The Rozsa Centre is informally known as "Lola's Place".

Lola was affectionately called the "Grandmother of Golf". She and Ted were charter members of the Canyon Meadows Golf Club, where she helped organize the women's section. After joining the Calgary Golf & Country Club, Lola continued helping with women's golf, eventually becoming the president of the ladies section there. Later she assumed the role of president of the Calgary Ladies Golf Association and then went on to hold a number of positions, including that of president, on the Alberta Ladies Golf Association Board. In 1986, Lola was elected to the Ladies National Golf Board in capacity of Teams Director. She gave many golf rules seminars, was the Honorary (and playing) Chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Golf Tournament for many years, and eventually established a golf scholarship for the Alberta Golf Association to assist aspiring young golfers.

Lola was listed in the The World's Who's Who of Women in 1998. She was named a Woman of Distinction in 2001, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Calgary in 2002. In 2008, The Golf Association of Alberta presented Lola with a Lifetime Achievement Award.


In January of 2014, Lola's memoir My Name is Lola topped Calgary's list of non-fiction best-sellers. Details and purchase information can be found here.

To read our 30th anniversary article about Drs. Ted and Lola Rozsa, please visit this link, which will take you to our blog. To see all the 30th anniversary articles, celebration, and community comments, please visit our dedicated 30th anniversary page.