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New graduate scholarship established in honour of Peter Kennedy's legacy

January 06, 2022

To honour the memory of late emeritus professor Peter Kennedy, the Kennedy family has established a new student scholarship at Simon Fraser University's (SFU) Department of Economics where Kennedy had taught for over 40 years.

Valued at a minimum of $7,000 per year for up to four years, the Peter Kennedy Memorial Graduate Entrance Scholarship in Economics will provide financial support to one or more doctoral students who demonstrate academic excellence and promise of outstanding achievement with particular emphasis on intellectual ability, originality and ability in research. 

Doctoral student Samuel Basoah, the first recipient of the Peter Kennedy Memorial Graduate Entrance Scholarship in Economics.

"Knowing that my study is fully funded, is truly a surreal feeling," says Samuel Basoah, the award's first recipient. "The constant headache of how to pay for my tuition has been completely eradicated, and I am just very grateful for the opportunity to conduct meaningful and potentially life-changing research."

Kennedy was an accomplished scholar and during his 43 years of service before retiring in 2008, he was instrumental in building up SFU Economics to become one of the top economics departments in Canada. He made fundamental contributions to the field of econometrics and macroeconomics, and his publication "A Guide to Econometrics", in its sixth edition in 2011, has been used as the go-to textbook at SFU and institutions around the world.

While Kennedy was a highly respected economist, he will be best remembered as a dedicated teacher and mentor. As professor Gordon Myers puts it, "What was obvious about Peter to me was his passion for education in general and for our students in particular."

Kennedy's generous spirit and commitment as an educator are reflected in the stories told by many when they reminisce about him. For his former student turned colleague, professor Douglas Allen, Kennedy was an influential figure who made a lasting impact on him. 

"Peter Kennedy was a person of great integrity and principle, and he was in my top three of great professors I studied under," says Allen. "When I came back to SFU as a faculty member in 1990, Peter welcomed me with open arms as a colleague and equal. I know I frustrated him many times over various things, but at the end of the day we shared a love for teaching, high standards in education, and a bit of a common history."

According to MA economics alumnus Robert Chen, Kennedy often went out of his way to make his students feel welcomed. "I remember during my first winter in Canada, Peter invited me and a group of other international students to join him in Whistler for several days because he didn't want us to spend Christmas alone. This really speaks to how much Peter cared for his students and it was a special experience for me."

Chen continues, "Whenever I connect with my former classmates from all around the world, we always talk about the fond memories we have about Peter and the impact he has on our lives. I was very fortunate to know Peter as a teacher and in many ways, as a mentor." 

It is without doubt Kennedy's absence is still deeply felt in the Department, by his colleagues and former students alike. However his legacy continues to live on in those who remember him fondly. "Three other people have occupied his office since his passing, but every morning when I walk by I always think of it as ‘Peter’s office’," says Allen. "I miss seeing him in there, eating his carrot and celery sticks for lunch, but more than that, I just miss the man."