Thelma Finlayson

Thelma Finlayson, 98, helped establish SFU’s first academic advising centre and continued counseling students on campus twice weekly until three years ago. An entomologist who helped found SFU’s pest management program, Finlayson is an SFU honorary degree recipient and a member of the Order of Canada.

Engaging Students

SFU names student centre after 98-year-old volunteer

Student mentorship is a fundamental part of the undergraduate experience. Dr. Thelma Finlayson knows this: she’s provided academic advice to SFU students for nearly 40 years after her own retirement.

Studies have shown that mentorship results in higher GPAs, more units completed per semester and a lower dropout rate. But it does more than that: It shapes futures by boosting confidence at a very tumultuous time in a young adult’s life.

This October marked the official opening of the Thelma Finlayson Centre for Student Engagement. Named after a passionate student advocate, the new centre, located on the Burnaby campus one level below Student Central in the Maggie Benston Centre, advances the SFU vision's goal of “engaging students” by fostering “supportive learning and campus environments.”  The centre will offer a highly visible and welcoming space where students can get personalized information, guidance, and advice on academics and co-curricular learning opportunities.