New chair, deputy chair appointed to SFU Board of Governors
The SFU Board of Governors has elected Chris (Syeta'xtn) Lewis as its new chair and James B. Stewart as its new deputy chair, effective January 15, 2020. The board oversees the administrative side of the university, including its property, finances and associated policies.
Chris (Syeta'xtn) Lewis was first appointed to the board in 2014, and served as deputy chair before becoming chair this year. An SFU alumnus, he holds a BA in geography and First Nations studies, and has a long history of service and advocacy with the university community. He co-chaired SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) from 2016-17 and represented the board of governors on the 2019-20 Presidential Search Committee. Lewis is an elected councillor for the Squamish Nation, holding portfolios such as intergovernmental affairs, education, and employment and training.
“I’m excited to serve SFU in this new capacity and look forward to working with the board to advance SFU’s mission as Canada’s engaged university,” says Lewis.
According to President Andrew Petter, Lewis's appointment holds special meaning given his history with SFU and his support for reconciliation efforts at the university.
“Mr. Lewis has contributed hugely to SFU over the years," says Petter. "As co-chair of SFU-ARC, he helped to provide a path forward for the university in its commitments to be an instrument for reconciliation, and to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for Indigenous students, staff and faculty. I have no doubt that his leadership of the board will assist SFU in further advancing its mission.”
James B. Stewart was appointed to the board in 2016 and served alongside Lewis on the Presidential Search Committee. Stewart is a lawyer and active community member; he received the Surrey Community Leader of the Year Award in 2010 and currently chairs the SFU Surrey Community Advisory Council. He previously served as president of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, Make-A-Wish Canada, and the Surrey Board of Trade.
Outgoing board chair Fiona Robin served on the board for six years. During her tenure, as chair of the Presidential Search Committee, she helped secure the university’s future by overseeing the appointment of Joy Johnson as SFU’s next president effective September 1, 2020. The university will honour Robin for her service at the annual board dinner later this spring.