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Passion for education leads SFU Board of Governors' chair to give back

"I always encourage people to give back in whatever way or shape is meaningful to them and their circumstances. I know it has deeply enriched me and I feel very fortunate." - Julia Kim

Retired RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Counsel vice-president and investment counselor, Julia Kim, places enormous value on the importance of education. A prolific volunteer with non-profit organizations supporting women, girls, and education, Julia was invited to join the SFU Board of Governers in 2012. Now in her sixth year with the Board, she is currently chairperson as well.


Julia's passion for education is personal. Her father, Joseph Lee emigrated from Korea to provide a life of better opportunity for his family, leaving behind his status as a chemical engineer to become a labourer in Canada. Sadly, Joseph passed away far too young at only 43 years old, leaving Julia's mother, Katherine to raise six children on her own. "Both of my parents encouraged us to attend university, and I wanted to make them proud," she says. "All six of us have our degrees."


A scholarship recipient when she was a student, Julia also understands the need for financial support. "It's hard to put yourself through school," she says. "It's also empowering knowing that someone believes in you and cares enough to provide funding for your education. I believe in giving back." In 2014, Julia did just that, establishing the Joseph Lee Family Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship in her father's memory. Her mother, now 84 years old, was delighted to find out about the award.