From the archives: first graduates of SFU

June 05, 2023
Photo credit: Simon Fraser University yearbook, 1966/67 (SFU Archives).

On September 9, 1965, Simon Fraser University opened it doors to 2,500 charter students—the first students to attend the university. Two years later on May 20, 1967, SFU celebrated a significant event by granting the university’s first earned academic degrees to 12 students, including its first PhD graduate.

An audience of 2,000 faculty, students and guests gathered under the new mall roof to hear renowned Canadian philosopher and media theorist Marshall McLuhan give SFU’s first convocation address. Honorary degrees were awarded to Madge Hogarth, whose generous gift provided for the building of the first residence; Leon Koerner, a leading figure in British Columbia’s forest industry; and McLuhan himself.

A preserved copy of the ceremony program lists the sequence of events of that memorable day, and confirmed that many convocation traditions, such as the leading of the academic procession by the University Pipers, date back to that first convocation. The milestone event also marked the first public performance of the Simon Fraser March by the Kitsilano Boys Band.

As the ceremony concluded, yet another page was written in the ever-growing history of SFU.

Photo credit: Simon Fraser University yearbook, 1966/67 (SFU Archives).