As incoming chancellor begins her term, former SFU chancellor Anne Giardini reflects on her six years at SFU

New chancellor Tamara Vrooman has previously served as BC’s Deputy Minister of Finance

Vrooman is SFU's 12th chancellor. Photo courtesy of Simon Fraser University

Written by: Madeleine Chan, Staff Writer

On June 13, Tamara Vrooman started as SFU’s newest chancellor, taking over from Anne Giardini, who has held the role since 2014. In an interview with The Peak, Giardini looked back on her past six years of service andsfu, outreach,  reflected on the highlights of the job. 

Of her time as chancellor, Giardini was most proud of being able to “meet SFU wherever [she] went.”

“SFU is a very connected university,” she said. “It has outreach all over the world [ . . . ] I was able to encounter SFU people, and SFU work, and SFU ideas, and SFU ways of seeing the world and help to spread it and amplify SFU. There was really nowhere that I went over the past six years that I didn’t think couldn’t use just a little more SFU.”

Giardini gave high praise to Vrooman as the incoming chancellor, describing her as a “remarkable person with an enormous amount of support for the university.” In passing the baton, the ex-chancellor hopes to see the continuation of SFU’s “engagement mantra,” and of the school remaining grounded in its community. Giardini saw her role as chancellor as the “champion of everybody,” and knows that Vrooman will maintain that legacy.

One of the most difficult parts of the job, Giardini found, was not being able to “go to everything.”

“All the talks, all the events, all the sports, everything. You just feel as if there is so much available to be experienced and to get involved in and to support, and at the end of the day you have to make decisions on the places you can go and the things you can do.”

She also stated that she “would have loved to get to know every single student personally.”

“That would have been the best possible way to spend the time, but that isn’t possible either. The challenge is just how much you want to do.”

Despite no longer acting as chancellor, though, Giardini doesn’t “plan to be a stranger” and aims to keep attending events as an SFU alumna and past chancellor. 

“It was the most fun in the world. What an honour it’s been to serve SFU in this way.”

On taking over as chancellor, Vrooman told SFU News it is an “incredible honour and privilege.”

“Education will have a significant impact on the well-being and sustainability of our communities as we move forward,” she said. “I’m excited to be advocating for SFU and the success of students and alumni as they contribute to a strong and sustainable future.” 

Vrooman was previously the CEO of Vancity Credit Union. She has also served as BC’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Secretary to the Treasury Board, and CEO of the Public Sector Employers’ Council. In 2016, SFU awarded her an honorary doctorate degree in law.