November 02, 2020

Taking care of ourselves, taking care of each other

I’ve been meeting with student groups, faculty, and staff over the past two months, and hearing about the challenges associated with remote learning and work. I can relate. It has not been easy. People are working at their kitchen tables while balancing family needs, students are juggling course loads and considering their futures, and we all feel uncertain.

Your health and well-being is my biggest concern. I encourage you to reach out if you are struggling. SFU Health & Counselling offers a variety of support for students, faculty and staff. The Student Learning Commons provides online learning resources and the Centre for Educational Excellence has teaching resources. I encourage you to take breaks and get outside, find a walking partner for socially distanced meetings or study sessions, and if you are on campus, please support our local businesses. It has been a difficult time for us all. Please take care of yourself.

I know this community also wants to stay connected with one another. Part of that is wanting to have more in-person activities and have more time on campus. We are looking at ways to safely have more in-person activities for the spring term. Please stay tuned for more info.

It was an honour to be installed as the tenth SFU president by Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of B.C. Janet Austin, along with our 12th SFU Chancellor Tamara Vrooman. Having my wife and mother at my side, and donning the beautifully designed robes of office is a moment I will always remember. I’m so appreciative of those who were able to join in the ceremony – including our Board of Governors Chair Syeta'xtn Chris Lewis who emceed, and I am very proud to be president of SFU.

SFU’s virtual Convocation ceremonies were also a highlight. We have made some wonderful changes to Convocation, including the addition of Indigenous drumming and the newly designed regalia which reflects the territories where the Burnaby Campus resides. I am especially proud of our graduates who completed their studies during an incredibly challenging time in history, and whose achievements give us hope. Thank you to everyone who participated, including all the teams across SFU who collaborated to deliver an extraordinary program. 

Over the next several weeks, I will continue to meet with university groups to connect and share my priorities as president and discuss meaningful ways to respond to current challenges. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing your ideas on how we can not only survive, but also thrive in the current climate.

Until then, please stay safe, stay strong and take care of each other.