Simon Fraser University


SFU’s gold beneath the mountain

November 6, 2009

Simon Fraser University has won a 2009 gold award for public-sector leadership in education—for its pioneering moves to become firmly rooted in the community below Burnaby Mountain.

The award is from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and financial services company Deloitte.

Among the things judges considered:

  • In 1989, SFU became the first university to open shop in downtown Vancouver when it turned the 1927 heritage Spencer building (that previously housed the Sears department store) into SFU’s Harbour Centre campus.
  • Later it opened the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue (in 2000) in an old bank building given to SFU by Peter Eng; and the Segal Graduate School of Business (2006) in another restored and renovated bank building that was donated by former SFU chancellor Joseph Segal and his family.
  • Today, the Vancouver campus serves more than 70,000 people annually. Approximately 10,000 are students enrolled in credit and non-credit courses.
  • SFU will move its School for the Contemporary Arts from Burnaby Mountain to the Woodward’s redevelopment downtown in 2010. SFU’s $80-million-plus share of the redevelopment project is being financed through $50.3 million from the provincial government and a $30-million fundraising campaign, currently underway.
  • And in 2002, SFU turned the languishing Tech BC, located in a Surrey neighbourhood notorious for crime, drugs and auto-theft, into a thriving campus, now the cornerstone of Surrey’s redevelopment plans. By 2008, enrollments were ahead of target with more than 4,000 students in 30 degree programs, And continuing education courses attract more than 1,500 mid-career adults and seniors annually.

Said IPAC/Deloitte: “The IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards program recognizes organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management. . . . Selection criteria focus on projects where leadership has enabled major organizational transformation and outstanding performance.”