SFU president talks about plans for post-secondary expansion

President of Simon Fraser University Andrew Petter addressed a crowd of about 200 at Eaglequest Golf Course on Tuesday afternoon, outlining the university's aims to expand in the coming years.

"SFU has so much to be thankful for," Petter told the crowd. "The support and engagement that we have enjoyed in Surrey has been so extensive, that if I tried to enumerate it, I wouldn't have time to talk about much else."

Celebrating its 10th year in Surrey, SFU began with a mere 550 students, Petter said, adding that number has grown to more than 8,000 students.

"We have defined for SFU to be the leading engaged university, defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement," he said.

Key to this is bringing students the joys of discovery for a "full-spectrum" education, he said.

Research engagement means bringing studies out of the classroom and lab and into the field.

And attracting the community is central to is engaging the community, he said. "It's in our DNA."

Last year,  SFU made its pitch to the province for more spaces for post-secondary education, Petter said.

"This area is one of the largest, fastest-growing and youngest in the region and the province," Petter said. "And it also has one of the poorest served post-secondary systems... we've got to turn that around."

Petter noted that a provincial standing committee has agreed to a plan to double the number of post-secondary spaces by 2015.

Clearly the area is "behind the curve," he said, but acknowledged it's a start.

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