Krista Gerlich-Fitzgerald

Krista Gerlich-Fitzgerald is SFU’s 100,000th graduate.

SFU’s 100,000th graduate

June 12, 2008

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By Marianne Meadahl

SFU tallied its 100,000th graduate June 5 when criminology major Krista Gerlich-Fitzgerald crossed the stage during the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences convocation ceremonies to receive her BA.         

SFU President Michael Stevenson recognized Gerlich-Fitzgerald in a brief ceremony during the naming of graduates.

The Burnaby resident, whose next stop is law school at the U.K.’s Manchester University, transferred to SFU three years ago from Camosun College in Victoria where she began criminology studies after her family moved to Vancouver Island from Ottawa.

"I’ve known since about Grade 10 that I wanted to study law," says Gerlich-Fitzgerald. "I have an appreciation for what the (criminal justice) system is trying to do, but I also realize that there are some things that need to be changed. By going into law I hope to bring about some change in the system."

Long before she was identified as the 100,000th graduate, Gerlich-Fitzgerald was involved in the School of Criminology’s student union as a forum representative and eventually as union president. She was also active in the LEAD program, a series of leadership training workshops.

Through her student union role, she helped establish a new award that recognizes student-based involvement in the criminology field.

Gerlich-Fitzgerald was accompanied to convocation by her fiancé, Angelus Chang, another newly minted SFU grad who convocated the next day.

The pair met as members of SFU’s cheerleading squad when Chang, a gymnastics instructor, helped her work on her routines. They plan to marry this summer before heading to the U.K.

Meanwhile, SFU’s very first graduate was pleasantly surprised by the news that so many graduates have followed in his footsteps since the university’s first Convocation ceremony on May 20, 1967, two years after its opening.

"It’s just amazing to see, having been part of a class of only 12 when I graduated," says Bob Thompson, who is now a professor emeritus in biology at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Thompson earned SFU’s first degree — a Master of Science.

While the numbers have grown considerably — more than 3,100 students were eligible to graduate this month — the pomp and ceremony has largely stayed true to the original program.
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