Central City Shopping Centre is home to SFU’s Surrey campus (pictured). (Black Press file photo)

Surrey to help sponsor SFU’s annual president’s gala

Councillor Guerra’s son has received the university’s ‘Close-to-Home’ award, which event raises money for

Surrey council has approved a $5,000 sponsorship contribution to this year’s President’s Annual SFU Surrey Gala Dinner.

The March 1 event will raise funds for the university’s Close-to-Home Entrance Awards, used to “encourage Surrey and other South of the Fraser area high school graduates to continue their education.”

The awards program is “targeted at students with high academic achievement who have also demonstrated leadership and community involvement.”

Before council made its decision on Feb. 11, Councillor Laurie Guerra said she wants to “champion this, because it’s very personal to me.”

That connection, she explained, is by way her son, who has benefited from the Close-to-Home program and is currently enrolled in SFU.

SEE ALSO: SFU president talks about Surrey campus expansion, need for more student seats

“When my son was five years old, he was diagnosed with autism and he went into elementary and kindergarten and he couldn’t speak,” Guerra said during Feb. 11’s council meeting.

When her son graduated from high school, he wanted to attend university, SFU specifically, she said.

“He applied for the Surrey Close to Home Award, and he got that award. That was about six years ago,” Guerra noted. “He’s going to graduate now, in August, with mechantroinis engineering from the program there.”

She praised SFU’s “innovative” award program.

“I also want to thank Mayor McCallum for being so instrumental in bringing Simon Fraser University to Surrey,” she said, referring to the mayor’s previous tenure.

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(A photo of SFU’s new building (right), which will be home to the Sustainable Engineering program. It’s the first in a proposed three-phase expansion of the university’s Surrey campus. Submitted photo)

SFU’s annual president’s gala is set for Friday, March 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. the Surrey campus (250-13450 102 Ave.), in the WestStone Group Grand Hall.

“For the past 16 years, Simon Fraser University has been proud of its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement in Surrey,” organizers note.

The event has reached capacity, but anyone interested in attending can email events@sfu.ca to be placed on a waitlist.

Surrey will receive four complimentary tickets to the event, as a result of the sponsorship.

SFU’s President and Vice-Chancellor Andrew Petter is, of course, holding this year’s event. Petter was recently named to the Order of Canada for his “commitment and leadership in advancing university-community engagement and higher education throughout the country,” notes the university.

Since being created in 1967, more than 7,000 people have received the Order of Canada for their desire to “create a better country.”

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amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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