A Milestone Anniversary

by Tim Kelley
Official 40th Anniversary Image by Anthea Lee

One of the most audacious and improbable achievements in the history of higher education occurred on September 9, 1965. That’s when Simon Fraser University opened its Burnaby campus to its first students.

No wonder the journalists of the time nicknamed it the “instant university.” SFU’s first president, Patrick D. McTaggart-Cowan, said that most people in B.C. thought it was impossible to build a university campus, build a library, assemble a faculty, plan and develop academic programs, and enrol 2,500 students in such a short time. “ Their doubt was our challenge.”

This year SFU celebrates its 40th birthday. This child of the 1960s officially hits middle age.

It is time to recognize Simon Fraser University's stunning past achievements and its even more ambitious future.

Warren Gill, vice-president, university relations, is chair of the 40th anniversary celebration committee, which is planning a full calendar year of activities starting on September 9, 2005. It is time to recognize Simon Fraser University’s stunning past achievements and its even more ambitious future.

“Our committee has sought input from the campus community for activity ideas and suggestions. A number of common themes came to the surface quickly,” says Gill. “The goals of the celebration are to increase international, national, provincial, and local awareness of the university’s academic and research contributions and to highlight our history of community contribution. SFU has a unique story to tell and holds a special place in British Columbia’s history.”

The transformation of the university has been swift and dramatic. “What started out on the top of Burnaby Mountain as a not-quite-completed three-sided academic quadrangle with automobiles parked in the middle and 2,500 students has grown into three major campuses in Burnaby, Vancouver, and Surrey with more than 25,000 people enrolled in courses,” says Gill. “That’s a thousand percent increase!”

Alumni involvement is a key part of the 40th anniversary celebration. According to Gill, there are now 82,000 SFU graduates making important decisions and having major impact in British Columbia and Canada, and throughout the world. “We are hoping a lot of them will come back and celebrate with us,” says Gill.

He adds: “While there will be a lot of focus on SFU’s achievements, there will also be room for fun. After all, a celebration is a party and the committee wants to make sure that the 40th anniversary celebrations are a great experience for all of our current staff, faculty, and students, as well as alumni.”

Watch for . . .

Events will be scheduled throughout the 40th anniversary year from September 2005 to August 2006. The celebration events calendar is currently being developed and completed. Full details on events and how you can participate are available online: <www.sfu.ca/40th_anniversary/>

Events currently on the schedule include:
• 40th anniversary birthday party
• 40th anniversary alumni celebration
• 40th anniversary retirees’ reunion
• 40th anniversary celebration of the arts
• 40th anniversary awards celebrations
• 40th anniversary academic and research activities
• 40th anniversary athletics activities
• celebration of the opening of the Segal Graduate School of Business
• celebration of the opening of the Diamond Alumni Centre
... and more!


Head for the hill and see what’s new at SFU!

Save the Date for ...
Alumni 40th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, October 1, 2005 at the  SFU Burnaby Campus

Daytime and evening activities
will include:
• tours of campus and UniverCity
• athletics and recreation activities
• faculty alumni events
• charter alumni events
• performing arts and live entertainment
• activities for kids
• Diamond Alumni Centre open house and jazz
• alumni pub night and dance
• food, fun, surprises, and prizes
... and more!

Watch the Alumni Update e-newsletter in the months ahead for more details and the latest anniversary news.
Not receiving the e-newsletter? Subscribe at <www.sfu.ca/alumni/> or email <alumni@sfu.ca>.