Early features of SFU


I was fortunate as a mature student from Australia to undertake my doctorate at Simon Fraser University. There were so many wonderful experiences. My wife and I with our young son lived on campus, and community life there was wonderful. There was the singing janitor to cheer us up and provide a lolly to our boy.

The Faculty of Education had really superb people who were doing front line research yet also taught with enthusiasm. The PDP, or Professional Development Program, for teacher training was highly innovative and successful. Among the many attractive features of the course was the use of faculty associates, where experienced teachers from the schools came in to help train the student teachers.

The early exposure of the students to the schools was also a feature. I became involved in that as well as enjoying interaction with people like John Ellis, Ian Allen, Don Erickson, Maurice Gibbons, Marvin Wideen and brilliant young up-coming scholars like Kieran Egan (who became an international figure). There were courses to do as well as research, and I recall Basil McDermot’s course on ‘The Future’—where his stated aim was ‘to help you worry more effectively.’

Gatherings of students usually involved wine and cheese, albeit BC wine then was not that great. Everyone was very hospitable. President Pauline Jewett made herself known to students. The campus was of course not complete then—Education was in portables—but the main buildings were beautiful, with spectacular views. We enjoyed the country surrounding the campus with its deer and other wildlife.  There were sporting facilities we were encouraged to use, including the pool, excellent running tracks over the mountain, and for those who lived on campus, you could acquire a garden plot to grow your own vegetables, which we did.

Alan Gregory

Read all the stories from the 1960s