594 pages
Douglas & McIntyre
Reviewed by Christine Hearn

For those of us who love SFU, we think of the Burnaby campus as Arthur Erickson’s crowning glory. But there is so much more he gave to us: the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, the University of Lethbridge, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, and the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C., to name a few structures that transform how we look at architecture.

Now David Stouck, professor emeritus of English, has written a detailed biography of the often elusive Erickson, who died in 2009. Stouck had many meetings with Erickson, showing Erickson letters, interviews, and photographs to spur his memory.

The chapter on the building of SFU – from the awarding of the contract in July 1963 to the opening of the university in September 1965 – is fascinating. The design by Erickson and partner Geoffrey Massey was the unanimous choice of an independent body of judges.

Stewart Williams, one of the American assessors, said, “ I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the potential of the #1 scheme submitted by Erickson and Massey. It seemed to fit the gently rolling crest of Burnaby Mountain like a well-cut cloak, tailored to fit the exact shape of the owner.”

Encouraging Entrepreneurs

Terry Beech (BBA’04) and Teresa Kruze team up in The In-Credibility Factor (Impakt Productions Inc.), a book designed to inspire business people to become entrepreneurs. Beech is co-founder of, while Kruze writes for Metro News. For more Beech news see also Alumni Watching.


Sam Wiebe (MA’10) has a new crime novel coming out in August. Last of the Independents (Dundurn) features a private investigator who specializes in missing persons. The book won the Crime Writers of Canada 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished novel.

Top Literary Prize

Professor emeritus Sandra Djwa wins the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction for her biography of poet and artist P.K. Page. Journey with No Maps (McGill-Queen’s University Press) explores in riveting detail the life of one of our greatest poets.

Prairie Novel

Allan Safarik (BA’76) presents a picaresque, yet historically accurate, cops-and-robbers tale in Swedes’ Ferry (Coteau Books), his first novel. Safarik has previously published 20 books of poetry and is recipient of both the John V. Hicks Award and the Anne Szumigalski Award.

Danish Dish

Ron Verzuh’s (BA’73) short-story collection “Dirty Dishes” Done is published in a Danish manual for workers called In the Loop. The stories were written over 25 years and, although fiction, they reflect Verzuh’s years of work in the labour field. <> (See also Alumni Watching)

Labour History

History professor Mark Leier updates his Rebel Life: The Life and Times of Robert Gosden, Revolutionary, Mystic, Labour Spy (New Star Books). He adds a new chapter with recently uncovered information on the life of the fiery labour organizer and revolutionary, who by 1919 had become a police spy targeting his fellow former agitators.

We Were Great

Lani Russwurm (BA’04, MA’07) riffs off his Vancouver Is Awesome website with a pictorial history called Vancouver Was Awesome (Arsenal Pulp Press). The book contains 175 images ranging from vaudeville to punk.

Crime Patterns

Criminologist Martin A. Andresen explores an expanding area in The Science of Crime Measurement (Routledge). The book builds on a growing body of literature on the science of crime measurement and offers a comprehensive account of this growing subfield of criminology.

History in the Making

Former faculty member Rolf Knight is called the province’s foremost working-class intellectual author. In Voyage through the Past Century: A Memoir (New Star), Knight looks back at a life that encompasses growing up in logging and mining camps in B.C., a PhD from Columbia University, stints in West Africa, many labouring jobs, and 10 important but underrated books. Knight is married to Carol Knight who, until her recent retirement, was director of the Design Group at SFU.

Sci-Fi Guy

Rick McGrath (BA’71) compiles everything you want to know about cult writer J.G. Ballard in The JG Ballard Book (The Terminal Press). It’s a compilation of interviews, analysis, original documents, Ballard bibliographies, and an account of McGrath’s visit to Ballard’s childhood home in Shanghai.


The late Milton Wong, chancellor emeritus and honorary degree holder, is the inspiration for SPARK: The Inspiring Life and Legacy of  Milton K. Wong (Greystone Books). The book includes essays and vignettes by 28 contributors offering insights into Wong’s contributions.

Wash Your Hands

Jennifer Gardy (PhD’06), TV star and scientist, has a new children’s book out. It’s Catching: The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes (Owlkids Books) is about the good, bad, and sometimes truly ugly world of germs.

Back to Fiction

Outstanding Alumni Award winner Brian Fawcett (BA’70), most recently noted for his memoir Human Happiness, has returned to writing fiction with The Last of the Lumbermen (Cormorant Books).

Book jacket courtesy Harbour Publishing