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SFU welcomes Tamara Vrooman as 12th Chancellor

June 05, 2020

I am thrilled that Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancity Credit Union, has been named Simon Fraser University’s twelfth Chancellor, succeeding Anne Giardini who has provided us extraordinary service in this role for the past six years.    

A former deputy finance minister and the guiding hand behind Canada’s largest community credit union, Tamara is a visionary leader who brings with her a wealth of experience, a passion for social justice and a strong commitment to community engagement.

And she is no stranger to SFU. Vancity under Tamara’s leadership has worked with the university on a broad range of collaborative initiatives to strengthen this region’s communities and to advance our mission as Canada’s Engaged University.

In 2010, SFU created the Vancity Office of Community Engagement, which currently welcomes over 9000 people annually to its community programs, and has done much to build the social fabric of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Vancity has also been a major supporter of RADIUS, SFU’s pioneering social innovation hub and venture incubator, and a committed sponsor of the annual SFU Public Square Community Summit. Most recently, the credit union pioneered a major initiative to convert the former Vancouver police station at 312 Main Street into a Global Centre for Economic and Social Innovation, enabling SFU to secure space for community programming and community-engaged research.

As head of Vancity, Tamara has championed initiatives to address the economic marginalization of Indigenous peoples, including supporting the 2014 Walk for Reconciliation and local community groups. She also oversaw Vancity becoming the largest private-sector living wage employer in Canada, and the first carbon-neutral financial institution in North America.

In recognition of these many contributions, SFU in 2016 bestowed Tamara with an honorary Doctor of Laws. In 2019, she was recognized with the Order of British Columbia.

Tamara will be leaving her post at Vancity at the end of June to take up a challenging new role as the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver Airport Authority, after serving on its Board of Directors for the past nine years.   

I invite the university community to join me in offering Tamara Vrooman a warm SFU welcome, and wishing her much success in her role as SFU Chancellor.