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Tamara Vrooman to become SFU's 12th chancellor

June 05, 2020
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Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors has named Tamara Vrooman, Vancity credit union’s president and chief executive officer, as the university’s 12th chancellor, effective June 13, 2020.

Vrooman will follow SFU’s current chancellor, Anne Giardini, whose term ends this month. Giardini has held the role since 2014.

“It's an incredible honour and privilege to be appointed SFU’s Chancellor. It is also a particularly interesting moment to take on this role as the university embarks on an exciting period of development in a challenging environment,” says Vrooman, who later this month will leave Vancity to head up the Vancouver Airport Authority.

“Education will have a significant impact on the well-being and sustainability of our communities as we move forward. I’m excited to be advocating for SFU and the success of students and alumni as they contribute to a strong and sustainable future.”

Vrooman has long been a champion of the university, and was recognized for her contributions to SFU and the community with an honorary degree in 2016. Vrooman and Vancity have worked with SFU on several collaborative initiatives, including establishing the Vancity Office of Community Engagement at SFU Woodward’s, supporting RADIUS, SFU’s pioneering social innovation hub, and, as a founding sponsor of the annual SFU Public Square Community Summit.

“We are excited to announce Tamara Vrooman as SFU’s next chancellor,” says SFU Board Chair Chris (Syeta'xtn) Lewis. “The university will greatly benefit from Tamara’s leadership and advocacy strengths as well as her dedication to an inclusive and sustainable world.”

A well-known business leader and government advisor, Vrooman also lends her voice and leadership to issues of economic marginalization, including those of Indigenous peoples, women, families and children, with a particular focus on issues related to equality, inclusion and empowerment.

“Simon Fraser University is thrilled to welcome Tamara Vrooman as its next chancellor,” says SFU President and Vice Chancellor Andrew Petter. “A respected leader and champion for social justice, she brings a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to community betterment that will help SFU advance its mission as Canada’s Engaged University.”

Tamara Vrooman was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2019.

Under her leadership, Vancity earned global recognition for its values-based banking model, and more than 175 awards recognizing its strengths as an employer and corporate citizen. Among achievements, she led the credit union, Canada’s largest, to become the first carbon neutral financial institution in North America, and the largest private-sector living wage employer in Canada.

Prior to joining Vancity, Vrooman served as B.C.’s deputy minister of finance, secretary to the Treasury Board and CEO of the Public Sector Employers' Council. She also served as deputy minister and executive financial officer for the Ministry of Health. In 2019, she co-chaired the federal climate change advisory panel reporting to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Environment.

“Simon Fraser University is extremely fortunate to bestow Tamara Vrooman as its 12th chancellor,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Tamara has been a long-standing champion for SFU and will contribute a unique local and global perspective to its leadership team.

“SFU is world-class in delivering education and training that empowers students to give back to their communities. As one of the most engaged universities in the country, I am confident Tamara will continue to raise the profile of the university as a leader in all fields, including social justice.”

Named to the Order of B.C. in 2019, Vrooman’s many honours and awards include an Excellence in Industry award from the Association of Women in Finance (2019); recognition as BC Business CEO of the Year (2016) and one of the magazine’s most influential women (2015); the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2008, 2009, 2010); a YWCA Women of Distinction award in business and professions (2011), and the Association of Women in Finance Knowledge and Leadership PEAK award (2007), among many others.