Twenty-three years ago, Parminder Parhar opened the first Renaissance Coffee shop on Burnaby campus—a small kiosk in the northeast corner of the AQ. It has since become a favourite place for students, faculty and staff to get their coffee and morning smile.
“I’m just the coffee guy,” Parminder says.
That is an understatement. Parminder, his wife Kamaljit and their staff have made a memorable impact on the SFU community through their exceptional service.
When one alumnus recognized Parminder in an Atlanta airport, he was met with unrestrained enthusiasm and gratitude. A stranger who overheard the conversation turned to Parminder and said, “You must be famous!”
The Parhars are also known as dedicated philanthropists. They started the Parminder and Kamaljit Parhar Endowment which supports students who excel in their academics and also contribute to their community. To help grow the endowment and support more students, they host Coffee Day for Students where all coffee purchased during a dedicated date and time are made by donation.
Parminder believes that it is the right thing to do—supporting students to get through their education and get their degree. His only wish is that, at the end of the day, the students that come to SFU also find a way to make their own contribution to benefit society.
“Nothing is impossible and everything can be done,” Parminder says, explaining that is the important thing he learned while running Renaissance, meeting various people and interacting with them every day, often times on a first name basis.
When asked what it means for him to be part of the SFU community since 1996, Parminder says he’s fortunate to be part of this community, spreading smiles for everyone.
“I have had the chance to see people achieve success in SFU, and that encourages me, in my life, to go for things that I thought was impossible.”
In 2015, Parminder and his wife Kamaljit Parhar received the 2015 Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for their exceptional contributions to the SFU community.
“At the end of the day, good energy comes back to me. I’m 59 and feeling like 20! I go home charged and happy after work. I mean, can you buy that?” He says with a laugh.
Coffee Day for Students 2019
All purchases of hot drinks will be by donation, with 100% of proceeds supporting SFU students through the Parminder & Kamaljit Parhar Endowment.
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: Opening - 12 noon
Location: Renaissance Coffee (AQ, Applied Sciences Building, Maggie Benston Centre)
Special offer: $5 for a small latte and a slice of banana loaf
Thank you to Parminder & Kamaljit Parhar and Renaissance Coffee for their ongoing generosity and commitment to SFU students.