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Hiromi Matsui

SFU’s YWCA women of distinction

June 14, 2007

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Three of SFU’s finest were recognized recently with prestigious YWCA of Vancouver Women of Distinction awards.     

Hiromi Matsui, the applied sciences faculty’s diversity and recruitment director, board of governors member Saida Rasul and biology professor emerita, Thelma Finlayson, were honoured last month along with seven other laureates at the YWCA’s 24th annual Vancouver award ceremony.

Matsui, who received the award for technology, science and industry, has championed women in science, engineering, trades and technology for almost 40 years. Working through numerous local and national committees, she has helped change the way women view careers in science and engineering, as well as the way industry and academia view women. Matsui was also the first woman to receive an honorary membership from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. She has helped volunteer organizations promote women in science and has encouraged women to seek careers in non-traditional fields.

Rasul, who received the award for non-profit and public service, has long been involved in the community through her work with the United Way, Outward Bound, Leadership Vancouver, Channel M, the BCAA Traffic Foundation and many other education and health institutions. She has been an SFU board member since 2002 and was board chair in 2005-06. Rasul also chaired the fundraising committee for SFU’s new Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures.

Finlayson was honoured for education, training and development. A trail-blazing entomologist and beloved teacher and advisor, she was among the first women scientists to enter the federal government’s research branch in the 1930s. She was a founding member of SFU’s Centre for Pest Management and was named the university’s first professor emerita upon her retirement in 1979. Finlayson donates four annual scholarships to the pest management graduate program and has volunteered to counsel thousands of students with academic difficulties through SFU’s academic resource office for more than 36 years.

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