community

Bill Cunningham receives SFU Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award

August 19, 2019
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For the past decade and a half, community leader and SFU alumnus Bill Cunningham has worked to build relationships between Simon Fraser University and the business community.

A district vice-president with TD Bank in Surrey, and a self-described “contagiously positive and engaged business banker,” Cunningham has served as chair of the SFU board among many other community commitments.

His advocacy on behalf of SFU includes an instrumental role in securing $750,000 through TD Community Giving in support of the SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre. The centre brings lasting benefits to the Fraser River region, reaching 2,000 newcomers annually. It also supports SFU’s ‘engaged university’ vision and has raised SFU’s profile across the region.

On top of his busy professional career, Cunningham is a passionate community leader, devoting time to numerous organizations and causes.

He served on the SFU Alumni Association from 2005 – 2011 and on the SFU Board of Governors from 2011 – 2017, including two years as chair. He is presently a member of the SFU Surrey Community Advisory Council and chair of the Great Northern Way Campus Trust.

Outside of SFU, Cunningham has chaired the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association and volunteers with the board committee for the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation. He also co-chairs the Indigenous Peoples Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Committee for TD.

In recognition of his community leadership, SFU is presenting Cunningham with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for 2019.

“Bill is an inspiring, focused and articulate leader,” says SFU Chancellor Anne Giardini. “He is committed to his family, his employer and his community – and we are very fortunate at Simon Fraser University that his community includes us.  

“Bill has always been a delight to work with because he puts human needs and relationships at the core of all he does. This award shines a light on someone who has never sought it, but who sets the best possible example for us all.”

After attaining an MBA from SFU in 1995, Cunningham worked in a variety of roles at TD Bank, rising to his current role in senior management. During a brief hiatus from TD Bank, he served as executive director at a federal minister’s regional office.

“Public service is such an enriching endeavor, in whatever capacity one is able to serve,” says Cunningham. “I've found that the more personally connected one is to the cause or organization they are contributing to, the more rewarding it is.   

“Being able to channel that public service towards a particular endeavor or organization that means so much to me brings a level of joy and personal satisfaction that is hard to beat.”

His many contributions to the community were recognized with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

“I am so proud to have played a supportive part in initiatives such as the SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre, and more recently in advocacy for the new SFU Sustainable Energy Engineering building in Surrey,” says Cunningham.  

“As a proud TD'er and a proud SFU'er, the opportunity to encourage ongoing support and collaboration between the two was too obvious to pass up.”