Keith Beedie receives honorary degree from SFU

Jun 07, 2016
Keith Beedie (right) and son Ryan's $22 million gift established the Beedie School of Business.

Keith Beedie (right) and son Ryan’s $22 million gift established the Beedie School of Business.

Keith Beedie, founder and former president of the Beedie Development Group, was honoured by Simon Fraser University with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the summer convocation ceremony, held on June 7 at the SFU Burnaby campus.

The award recognizes Keith Beedie’s visionary business leadership and philanthropy. It honours his dedication to integrity, innovation, and community, and the role he has played in inspiring today’s emerging leaders and entrepreneurs.

In 2011, Keith and his son Ryan made a record $22 million gift to SFU that established the Beedie School of Business. The gift has since been used to create an endowment supporting students, professorships, and research chairs, and has helped establish the School as a global thought leader in areas such as entrepreneurship & innovation and international business.

“It is a tremendous honour to receive this honorary degree from SFU,” says Keith Beedie. “The gift my family made to SFU to establish the Beedie School of Business has been very meaningful for us. It is a great feeling to know that I have helped to contribute to the education of the next generation of business leaders.”

Honorary degrees are awarded to distinguished individuals for their scholarly achievements, as well as their outstanding contribution to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity.

Keith Beedie began his career in 1945 at the age of 19, when he and a partner bought a 50 square meter lot in Vancouver’s Marpole area for $200, upon which they constructed a concrete woodworking shop with their own hands. Over the ensuing decade Keith Beedie became a general contractor, building quality homes, including PNE prize homes, in the Lower Mainland.

After a downturn in the housing market during the early 1960s, Keith Beedie diversified by investing in commercial and industrial construction projects, becoming Metro Vancouver’s largest private industrial landowner, developer and landlord. In 60 years the Beedie Development group has completed 20 million square feet of construction in British Columbia and Alberta.

In 2001, Keith Beedie was succeeded by his son Ryan as president, allowing him to focus on philanthropic efforts through the Keith and Betty Beedie Foundation.

“Keith Beedie’s generosity helped transform the Beedie School of Business into a world-class hub of business education and research” said Ali Dastmalchian, Dean of the Beedie School of Business. “His contributions to the education of future business leaders can not be overstated, and I am delighted that SFU is recognizing his life’s work through this honorary degree.”

Beyond the foundation’s generous donation to the Beedie School of Business, Keith Beedie has supported SFU by constructing the Beedie Softball Field, a world-class training facility for SFU’s women’s softball team.

He has advocated for better access to health care by building a family health care clinic in Sri Lanka and donating equipment to St. Paul’s, Burnaby General and Vancouver General hospitals. The foundation also supports Burnaby Kidsport, which enables underprivileged kids to participate in organized sports.

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