Warren Gill, 1949 – 2010
September 9, 2010
"Warren was a huge part of the growth and success of SFU in the last decades," says former SFU president Michael Stevenson, who worked closely with Gill. "He was the right-hand man to [former president] Jack Blaney as the downtown campus was built out and in my time he expanded his vision to the whole university and was a big part of the development of the Surrey campus and the new School for the Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s."
A Vancouver native with a PhD in urban geography from the University of British Columbia, Gill joined SFU ’s geography department in 1977 and quickly became a champion for the creation of a downtown Vancouver campus. He was intimately involved in all stages of that development, which grew from the original Harbour Centre complex to include the Wosk Centre for Dialogue, the Segal Graduate School of Business, and most recently SFU Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s.
A popular teacher and senior administrator, Gill was also committed to serving the larger community: he was a frequent media commentator on urban and transportation issues, and held volunteer positions at a variety of organizations including the Vancouver Academy of Music, the Downtown Vancouver Association, and the Economic Leadership Council for Greater Vancouver.
A recipient of the UBC geography alumni’s 2000 distinguished geographer award, he was a member of a number of professional organizations including the Canadian Association of Geographers, the Association of American Geographers and the World Congress on Transport Research. He was also a board member of the Western Regional Science Association.
A fan of classic rock and R&B, Gill frequently performed with the local band, Wager.
His many friends and colleagues say they will treasure the memory of his optimistic leadership style—and his take-no-prisoners bass riffs.
Gill's obituary can be seen here.
Correction: Sept 9, 2010
The original, print version of this story mistakenly identified Warren Gill as vice-president, academic relations; he was vice-president, university relations.
As a former SFU Governor, Senator and Alumni Association President I had many opportunities during the years I was active at SFU to interact and work with Warren Gill and enjoyed his humour, good nature and his pride in SFU.
Warren Gill was a man who was consistent in his enthusiasm and commitment to whatever passion he pursued as a university teacher, administrator, and of course, talented musician. Few passions stood out more than his love of his partner in his life and his commitment to Simon Fraser University.
I knew Warren through my wife, who was an instructor in the Advanced Intepreters Program at Harbour Centre in late 80's. Although I was "just the spouse", one night I was at home while Warren, my wife and the class were at a social dinner. Lo and behold Warren phones me at home to invite me to the dinner. I made excuses saying it was too late, I'd already eaten and I was comfortable at home, but Warren insisted I come. I've always remembered Warren's warmness, not just this night but at other functions. I just felt good that even though I didn't see Warren that often (since I didn't work at SFU), he always talked to me like an old friend. Keep playing that guitar, Warren.
as a sfu geographer, but before warren's time, I only got to know him well when we met at conferences in the 1980s. We immediately hit it off and soon became firm friends. When i visited vancouver we always had lunch, convivial with good wine and conversation. I recall the pride with which he showed me roun