Charter student recalls ‘colourful time’ of SFU’s first days

Events celebrating university’s 50 years take place at all campuses, including SFU Surrey.

Trudy Desjardine of Surrey with SFU memorabilia.

SURREY — Trudy Desjardine remembers the day 50 years ago – Sept. 9, 1965 – she and seven high school friends from St. Ann’s Academy in New Westminster headed up Burnaby Mountain for the official opening of Simon Fraser University. Watching from high atop the newly minted Academic Quadrangle, they were among more than 2,500 charter students to study at B.C.’s newest university.

This week, events celebrating SFU’s 50 years will take place at all campuses, including SFU Surrey. Desjardine, her friends and others were expected to join the anniversary kick-off celebration Wednesday (Sept. 9) in Burnaby.

Desjardine is part of SFU’s vast alumni (now numbering more than 135,000), which includes many who are contributing to the development of Surrey. These include city councillor Vera LeFranc (BGS, 2007), Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman (BA Comms, 1996) and Alan Davis, president of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (MSc, 1975, and PhD, 1980).

Desjardine spent two decades as an elementary school principal and retired in 2009. At her home in Surrey, she keeps scrapbooks of old newspaper clippings, programs and photos of SFU’s early days.

Desjardine recalls a spirited energy that “set the pace” for SFU’s future.

“We couldn’t wait to get started at SFU, and those first few years were a colourful time, to be sure,” says Desjardine, then known as Loretta Trudy Cafferky.

This fall, SFU Surrey will recognize the university’s 50th anniversary at two annual events: the SFU President’s Gala (on Oct. 22) and the Diwali celebration (Nov. 3).

“It’s a huge milestone, SFU turning 50,” said Steve Dooley, executive director of the SFU Surrey campus.

“While the Surrey campus is 14 years young, this campus has had a major impact on the overall life of the university, which is why we feel it’s important to celebrate right here, with our community partners.”

 

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