SFU's Surrey campus turns 15

September 05, 2017

This week, SFU’s Surrey campus welcomes a new semester—and celebrates a very important anniversary. September 9 marks 15 years since SFU became an integral part of the City of Surrey’s evolving downtown core.

As we all know, SFU Surrey is built on top of a mall. But how many of you know that when we first opened 15 years ago, we literally were in the mall! Indeed, where the Bed Bath and Beyond is now used to be a classroom and lounge when SFU opened (see picture).

We’ve come a long way since opening in 2002 with just over 500 students, half of them, from the former Tech BC. Today there are more than 3,100 full-time equivalent students, while over 8,000 SFU students take at least one course at the campus.  

The current award-winning design—Bing Thom’s brilliant ‘over-the-mall’ concept—was unveiled in 2006. And we are growing—the new Sustainable Energy Engineering Building, slated to open in January 2019, is rising just across the street.

But the SFU Surrey campus story is more than its physical presence. We celebrate 15 years of student, faculty and staff success and the ongoing presence of the Surrey campus vibe!

Our students and graduates are simply amazing:  they increasingly land jobs with big name companies, from Google to General Motors, while others are helping to grow local start-ups with their fresh ideas. Meanwhile many of our young innovators are taking their bright ideas in bold new directions, nurtured through SFU support networks, including initiatives like Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection.

We celebrate research that is putting technological solutions in critical sectors like energy and health on the map, not just locally but internationally.

And with roots firmly planted, community partnerships, from nurturing social innovation to shaping policy, we are branching out in many new and meaningful directions.

And while much has changed, much remains the same. It’s interesting to look back to September 9, 2002, when the City of Surrey proclaimed “Simon Fraser University Week.” The formal proclamation observed how the University is “consistently recognized as one of Canada’s finest comprehensive universities, bringing new opportunities in post-secondary education to Surrey and the entire South of the Fraser region.”

It also noted SFU’s commitment to “meeting the growing demands for higher education” and the university’s role as “an active partner in the dynamic economic and population growth’ of the region. Fifteen years later we are as committed as ever.

As we remember SFU’s 15 years in Surrey throughout the semester I hope to feature a variety of campus highlights over the coming weeks – stay tuned. Happy anniversary, Surrey campus!



Steve Dooley
Executive Director, SFU's Surrey Campus