Buckle up for the next 50 years of engagement!

September 23, 2015

On September 9, the Faculty of Applied Sciences buckled up for SFU’s 50th Anniversary year with a Back to the Future-themed extravaganza.  

The event drew an energetic crowd to the Applied Science Building atrium where more than 100 guests – including alumni, donors, faculty and staff – took a trip down memory lane.

Guests lingered over vintage computer and cell phones displays – featuring the classic Commodore 64 and the first commercially available mobile phone – and duked it out playing classic arcade and console games, including Pac Man and Super Mario.

A portable brain-reading device, immersive virtual reality game, and 3D holographic display were among the exhibits offering a tantalizing glimpse of the futuristic technology available today.

A DeLorean car was parked outside to greet guests, many of whom posed for photos alongside Doc and Marty, played by engineering science lecturers Steve Whitmore and Mike Sjoerdsma.

Also in the spotlight were some of the SFU community’s most renowned inventions, including the world’s first laser – invented by former SFU adjunct professor Theodore Maiman – and an early prototype of the V-chip device, created by former SFU lab engineer Tim Collings.  

“Events like this offer a great opportunity to connect with old friends and professors,” says Dave Patterson (’89), who attended with former engineering science classmates Tom Lightfoot and Dan Bisalputra.

“A highlight was chatting with our former professor Jim Cavers who introduced us to communications theory; he was always someone we looked up to.”

The trio – all sporting circa 1983 engineering science bomber jackets – met at an engineering science mixer organized for new students, “nearly 32 years to the day of the 50th Anniversary event,” says Patterson. “We’re all busy but we make a point of getting together at least for our respective birthdays - we all turn 50 in 2015 too.”

Being back on campus for the event brought back memories of “ducking into a hallway alcove or dodging a garbage can catching leaks,” says Patterson.

“But from classmates who supported each other to the faculty who challenged and helped us, it's the people I remember the most.”

Patterson is now passing the torch to the next generation of engineering science students; his daughter recently started mechanical engineering degree at the University of Waterloo. “I have no doubt that she'll excel and hope she can look back on her time at university with as much fondness as I do.”

Check out the photobooth snapshots on our Facebook. Read more about the demonstration of the world's first working laser.