Arnold Rumbold

Lighting the way for student success

For his exceptional commitment to NAIT and significant impact in the community, Arnold Rumbold received the 2022 Distinguished Friend of the Institute Award.

Arnold Rumbold grew up in a home with no electricity, so with a spark of ingenuity he created his own, lighting the way to a prosperous career in trades and a legacy of giving.

“I was always working with my hands,” recalls Arnold. “I put this thing up on top of the pole with the bicycle headlight. And whenever the wind blew at night, we had a yard light.”

This enterprising spirit and passion for the trade led Arnold to train as an electrician at what is now SAIT in Calgary. After moving to Edmonton, and while working on the construction of the NAIT Tower Building (currently the Administration Building) in 1964, Arnold was asked to help the company estimator. He quickly became a sought-after electrical estimator for construction contracts and formed his own consulting company in 1988. 

Supporting women in trades 

In his 49-year career in the electrical industry, Arnold was struck by how few women he encountered working in the trade, so in 2007 he established the Arnold Rumbold Apprenticeship Award to encourage new female apprentices.

“I believe strongly in the power of a trade and that those who have built a good life from their vocation should give back to their communities,” Arnold explains of his desire to give back.

Arnold’s investment at NAIT started as a $1,000 a year contribution toward the scholarship. He later donated $20,000 to an endowment to allow the award to continue in perpetuity and has since established a second endowment to support students in nanotechnology programs. To date, 26 students have benefited from his generosity.

A legacy of giving 

In 2019, Arnold and his wife, Grace, established the Rumbold Foundation to continue their philanthropic goals and ensure the sustainability of their chosen charities. Of their many philanthropic endeavours, establishing the Rumbold Vocal Prize – a financial award for emerging Canadian opera singers – is one of which they are most proud.

“I'd like to think that maybe somebody will remember me for some of the things I've done,” he says of his philanthropic work.

With a passion for the musical arts as well as local history, Arnold has also been recognized for his patronage and volunteer involvement with a variety of musical groups and community-focused organizations, including the Richard Eaton Singers, Edmonton Radial Railway Society, Edmonton Opera Association and Edmonton Symphony. Arnold is the past recipient of a Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton Arts and Cultural Award for Outstanding Community Service (2012), the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Citation Award (2014) and a National Philanthropy Day Award (2015).

He is NAIT’s 52nd Distinguished Friend of the Institute since 1985. “I think it's wonderful recognition that you're giving me,” he says. “It's something more than I would have ever expected, and I'm really quite honoured.”

NAIT Distinguished Friend Award

The Distinguished Friend Award recognizes an individual or family who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the welfare and the advancement of NAIT through their contributions and advocacy.

Story photos supplied by Arnold Rumbold.

More 2022 NAIT Celebrates Recipients

Chris Kallal

Founder and CEO of Wild + Pine, Chris Kallal, received the Spirit of NAIT Award for his leadership in Canadian climate action, passion for sustainability and transformative approach to doing business.

ConocoPhillips Canada

ConocoPhillips Canada named Distinguished Industry Partner for its long-standing partnership with NAIT and role as a leader in industry and in the community.

Marni Panas

Marni Panas received the Distinguished Alumni Award for her outstanding professional achievements, diversity and inclusion advocacy, and dedication to creating positive change.

Michelle Holland

Environmental educator Michelle Holland received the Spirit of NAIT Award for her accomplishments in environmental education, and commitment to mentorship, community-building and inclusivity.

Kathy Leskow

Kathy Leskow received the Alumni Award of Excellence for her remarkable achievements as a business owner, her dedication to the entrepreneurial community and her spirit of philanthropy.

Su-Ling Goh

Su-Ling Goh received the Alumni Award of Excellence for her achievements in journalism, heartfelt storytelling and dedication to examining health-related issues in the Edmonton area.

2023 Award Nominations

Do you know a NAIT grad who's doing great things? Tell us about their achievements and the work they are doing for their community.
Please note that our 2023 alumni award winners will be announced in early 2024.

Submit your nomination