"I'm going to ask you to think."


I attended Simon Fraser University when I was over 40. Just being there enjoying fully the wonderful classes I took was a memorable experience. Spending my days on the mountain, surrounded by busy students, beautiful landscaping, a tremendous library and buildings full of books and professors was such a privilege, and I enjoyed every minute of my years at SFU.

Two professors, in particular, made an impact on my life. Suzanne de Castell, Director of the Adult Literacy Certificate Program, taught me to never take anything at face value: always think “who benefits from this,” which helped make me a critical thinker, reader and listener.

Professor Tom Grieve introduced me to the essay in his wonderful Essay as Literature first year English class. I always remember him starting out the first class with, “I’m going to ask you to do something really startling in this course; I’m going to ask you to think.” Later, he introduced me to Martin Amis, one of the major writers of our time, in an upper level English class. His humour and insight, and his ability to let people think and speak for themselves, while subtly guiding the conversation to help us discover the layers of meaning in the writing made his classes pure joy to attend.

After graduation, I worked for six years running an adult literacy program, and after that, 13 years in a large public library. My certificates in ESL Linguistics and Adult Literacy Instruction, as well as my BGS with the major in English were not only interesting and rewarding to attain, but proved useful to me in my career.

Frances Wilmeth
BGS 1996

Read all the stories from the 1990s