Turning 10, in Vancouver

Campus opened in 2007

Cake cutting

Time to cut the cake! That's (from L to R) FDU President Christopher Capuano, Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams and FDU Board of Trustees Chair Patrick Zenner, at the tenth anniversary celebration of the Vancouver Campus. (Photos courtesy of Jobin Mojtabavi)

By Jobin Mojtabavi and Kenna Caprio

At Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus, May 3 brought two big celebrations: Commencement 2017 and a birthday party! That morning, 342 students from more than 41 countries received their degrees at Commencement, while in the evening, 100 guests and dignitaries commemorated the campus’s tenth anniversary.

“It was a tremendous celebration,” says University President Christopher Capuano, who was one of the leaders in forming FDU’s youngest campus. “It’s been extremely gratifying to see the growth and success of this campus and we all are very proud of our faculty, staff and especially our students in Vancouver. They have truly formed a model international campus.”

Dignitaries at the anniversary included international consul generals, who have participated in the campus’s Diplomatic Circle Series, with representatives from the United States, Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam and more, present at the event. Alumni, faculty, staff and administrators were also in attendance. The formal program included remarks by Capuano, Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams and FDU Board of Trustees Chair Patrick Zenner.


President Capuano speaks at 10th anniversary event

University President Christopher Capuano addresses guests at celebration.

Alumnus Javier Torres, BS'10, a member of the Vancouver 2007 inaugural class of 18 students, appreciated how much the campus has grown with the addition of a second floor and expansion of the student lounge, which now includes a large and colorful mural of the city of Vancouver.

Other alumni reflected on the personal attention they received as students and the family atmosphere fostered on campus. A few alumni reminisced about the potluck lunches held each month, allowing students to play chef and whip up international meals for their fellow students.

“Despite the name recognition of FDU in the United States, in Vancouver we were an unknown entity [in 2007]. Working from temporary facilities in an office building downtown, we needed to create some excitement, so we organized two events,” says Neil Mort, director of enrollment services at the Vancouver Campus, and one of the first employees to be hired. “One was a reception hosted by the U.S. Consul General at his personal residence for local dignitaries, government officials and higher education colleagues. For students, we hosted a soccer tournament and barbecue for local language school partners — about 200 students came out. That really created some talk and excitement about FDU’s opening!”

Following the formal remarks, six staff members were recognized for their 10 years of service at FDU Vancouver Campus. The evening concluded with a ceremonial cake-cutting.

Cecil Abrahams speaks at 10th anniversary event

Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams delivers remarks.

“The tenth anniversary milestone has been achieved because faculty, staff and students work closely and positively together. We have honored the vision of both [FDU founder and president] Peter Sammartino and [late FDU president] Michael Adams and have established a place of quality and a place to grow in harmony with others,” says Abrahams. “We are known for providing personal education and for our diverse student body — over the last 10 years we have welcomed students from 78 countries. We pride ourselves on being a shining jewel in the crown.”

The campus now regularly boasts over 700 students each fall and spring term. Since 2010, 1,560 students have graduated with degrees from the Vancouver Campus. This year’s Student Pinnacle Award recipient is Carlos Martell.