When Eric Sangwine was asked why Simon Fraser University was his first choice for his estate plans, he chuckled and said, “I have great memories of my time at SFU so that’s an easy question to answer.” Having joined SFU when the university was only a few years old, Eric has not only seen the university grow but has also seen how the SFU community has empowered his own growth and many successes.
“When I was at SFU I was a history geek,” says Eric, but his love for the arts and history started when he was just five years old. “I have had two constants in my life, art and history and they go right back to when I was very young drawing pictures of castles, kings and story book things.” Eric says that SFU helped elevate his passion for history, and the study of history at SFU helped him place himself “in context of what’s happening around the world.”
“During my time at SFU I had great teachers both at the undergraduate and graduate level,” Eric explains. “They encouraged me to develop my critical thinking skills and encouraged me to dive into my passion for primary sources.” He says that having access to this key material through the library helped to further fuel his interests and he therefore considers SFU Library to be a true blessing throughout his career. “SFU has always been ahead of its time! I remember getting computerized printouts from the library was the new big thing when I was attending SFU.”
After leaving SFU, Eric enjoyed a successful career as a librarian in Ontario and is a celebrated historical cartoonist. Highlights for him include having famous English author Neil Gaiman retweet his artwork, and also being featured on TV Ontario. Now Eric has chosen to empower future historians to embark on their own unique journey by leaving SFU a generous gift in his will. His goal is to help make education more accessible for those young individuals who share the same passion for the study of history.
“I know it’s extremely difficult these days for young people, especially when it comes to paying for their university courses—students nowadays are heavily in debt. Knowing that I could help with my small gift to alleviate that debt means the most to me,” he says.
To any donors considering joining Eric in leaving a gift to SFU in their estate, Eric shares: “you don’t have to give in millions to start making a difference in student life and in making education more accessible.” He says anyone can make it possible for the next generation of students to achieve their potential. “Dive in and help others swim, it’s our responsibility as alumnus to help.”