Seeking the Summit: Sam Switzer’s Story of Building and Giving is the biography of Sam Switzer, a builder, entrepreneur and philanthropist who was born into an impoverished Calgary family and became one of the province’s most successful businessmen. While much of the book explains Mr. Switzer’s various business accomplishments, it also analyses living conditions in Poland, the home of Mr. Switzer’s forebears; the social background of early 20th century Calgary and Alberta, especially life in rural Jewish collectives and inner-city communities; and the social and economic structures that made Mr. Switzer’s rise to success possible.
From his first business at the age of five supplying ice to Calgary’s red light district to his job delivering prescription drugs via bicycle through his developments in the construction industry, casino business and more, we learn of Switzer’s lessons, motivations and mistakes.
Much attention is also given to Mr. Switzer’s life-long Jewish faith and his intense interest in and commitment to charity and philanthropy – a commitment that has lead to recognition and honours by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Alberta, the Mayor of Calgary, the Prime Minister of Israel, and many other important national and international figures.
At 87-years-old, Switzer has retired from active involvement in his business interests but remains very involved with his philanthropy work. In 2007, along with his wife Betty, Switzer created the Sam and Betty Switzer Foundation.
The foundation aims to supports medical research, social programs, education, and the arts. One of the foundation’s many undertakings has been to provide scholarships to students at Mount Royal University. Each year, a grant pays the tuition of 20 students who are single parents.
Published by Frontenac House
available via Alpine Book Peddlers
About the Author Sydney Sharpe
Sydney Sharpe is a journalist and the award-winning author of Staying In The Game, the biography of Doc Seaman; the bestselling The Gilded Ghetto: Women and Political Power in Canada (Harper Collins); Storming Babylon: Preston Manning and the Rise of the Reform Party; and Breakup: Why the West Feels Left Out of Canada (the latter two co-written with Don Braid and published by Key Porter). Seeking the Summit, Sam Switzer’s Story of Building and Giving is her eighth book. Sydney also co-edited and co-wrote the best-selling Centennial book Alberta: A State of Mind (Key Porter).