SFU Surrey, 20 years ago in the beta space prior to moving into our current building. Photo: SFU Archives

Celebrating 20 years of SFU in Surrey

February 07, 2022

On this day 20 years ago, an announcement was made that would change the landscape of Surrey. The BC government at the time announced that SFU would come to Surrey, setting up in what we now know as the heart of downtown Surrey.

Twenty years later, SFU Surrey is more than a university on top of Central City Mall: our campus now has two anchor buildings, and numerous classroom and research spaces embedded within the surrounding community. We’ve seen Surrey change and grow into the vibrant city it is now — and SFU Surrey is proud to have contributed to that growth along the way.

SFU Surrey is home to world-class programs like Interactive Arts and Technology, Mechatronic Systems Engineering, Education, and Business among many others. Our researchers are making contributions in the areas of health innovation, clean tech and sustainable energy, and creative technologies. Our students, staff and faculty connect with community partners on a wide range of projects and opportunities, which includes programs offered by the SFU Surrey TD-Community Engagement Centre and Coast Capital Venture Connection, as well as innovative community leadership programs such as Community Leaders Igniting Change.

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I want to pay special tribute to the late Dr. Tom Calvert, TechBC’s Vice-President, Research & External Relations and a professor emeritus in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Tom was a visionary and champion of TechBC and SFU Surrey, and he will be in our hearts and minds as we mark this milestone year. Tom was instrumental in ensuring that TechBC programming, like Interactive Arts and Technology, became part of SFU Surrey.

I would also like to note that some amazing staff from TechBC became part of the SFU Surrey campus family. And, while her modest nature might not like the shout out, I do want to acknowledge the leadership of Joanne Curry for the development of the SFU Surrey campus. As the first Executive Director, Joanne oversaw the development and transition of the campus from the first location in the old Zellers into the 200,375 square foot space designed by Bing Thom.

The 20th anniversary is a time to look back and to celebrate all that we have achieved at the Surrey campus. But it is also a time to look forward: what amazing things will we achieve in the next 20 years and beyond? From a proposed new medical program, to agri-tech, and further expansion of the foot print of the campus, over the next 20 years SFU will be catalyst 2.0 for the emergence of the City of Surrey as the regional hub for the whole Fraser Valley.

Throughout the year, there will be many opportunities to celebrate the successes we’ve had as a community. Stay tuned for different ways you can participate, especially as we enter into a new chapter together.

Waiting in anticipation for the SFU Surrey space to open up! Photo: SFU Archives