Lethbridge College is pleased to announce that Steve Meszaros, a 1976 Business Administration grad who built up one of the region’s most successful and sustainable businesses, has been named the Honorary Degree recipient for its convocation ceremony this year. Meszaros will receive a Bachelor of Applied Arts honorary degree on April 24 at the Enmax Centre.
“Steve has given so much to the college, the city and the community over the years,” says Lethbridge College President and CEO Dr. Paula Burns. “His professional and philanthropic roles have been inspiring. Steve’s peers describe him as someone who has a vision for the future, and he has shown true dedication to post-secondary education and the local and regional community in so many ways. It’s people like Steve who truly make a difference.”
Meszaros’s road to success started when he was just five-years-old and his family fled the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and came to Canada via Austria in 1957. They made the long trip across the Atlantic by boat and then arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before boarding a train that would eventually take him and his family to Lethbridge.
After finishing high school, Meszaros went to work, including spending time in the high Arctic, and then traveled for almost a year in Europe. When he returned, a chance encounter with a former high school teacher, Bill Johnson, who had moved on to the college led Meszaros to apply to Lethbridge College. “He told me if you want to be in business you have to get an education first,” Meszaros says.
After graduation, Meszaros transferred to Oregon State University and then returned to Lethbridge, where he embarked on a successful real estate career before establishing the award-winning Avonlea Homes with a group of colleagues in real estate. Under Meszaros’s leadership, Avonlea was chosen to build the STARS Lottery Home in Lethbridge for the last 17 years; was recognized as the number one home builder in Lethbridge two years after Avonlea’s inception and has maintained that position since; and won many other local, provincial and national honours and awards.
Meszaros decided to step back from his business last year and sold his interest in Avonlea last fall to partner John Wickey. Since then, he has been spending time with his family, including his daughter and her family in Edmonton, travelling, and continuing to give back to the community as he has for decades, including to Lethbridge College. In 2012, Meszaros made a significant investment in the college to support international students – particularly those from Eastern Europe – and the college’s new trades and technologies facility. He has also been a long-time supporter of many annual college events, such as the Clayton Allan Wine Auction, and was named Lethbridge College’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2012.
“Lethbridge College opened all the doors to me to my further education and to my life,” says Meszaros. “It really laid a great foundation for my career. A lot of the business principles I use today were the ones I learned as a student at the college. It is such an honour to be recognized by Lethbridge College this way.”
Meszaros will be the fifteenth person to receive an honorary degree from Lethbridge College since the award was first given in 1986.