Michael Stevenson is President Emeritus of Simon Fraser University. He served two terms as President of SFU from 2000 to 2010, and now concentrates on consulting, governance and volunteer work. His major interests are in social policy (especially related to education and health); international development (especially in Africa); immigration and immigrant adaption in plural societies (especially Canada), and the fine and performing arts. He is active in institutional governance and community affairs. He serves currently as a member of the Boards of GenomeBC; EBound Canada, the PuSh International Performance Arts Festival, and the Vancouver Opera.
Dr. Stevenson was born in South Africa. He is an alumnus of one of that country’s most prestigious high schools and completed his BA in history and politics at the University of the Witwatersrand. He received numerous scholarships for graduate studies in the United States, receiving his PHD from Northwestern University. He won a national Bobbs-Merrill Prize for the top graduate students in political science and a post-doctoral Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for teaching and research in Nigeria.
He has held academic appointments at universities in Canada, the United States and Africa, and was an accomplished scholar before taking up senior administrative positions. He published widely on the post-independence politics of Africa as well as on political culture and public policy issues in Canada. His book Ideology and Politics in Canada, co-authored with Michael Ornstein, won the 2000 Harold Innis Prize for the best book in the social sciences published in Canada.
Dr. Stevenson was the Dean of Arts and subsequently Vice-President Academic and Provost at York University before his decade of service as President of Simon Fraser University. In these leadership positions, he managed significant growth and innovation. At SFU, he was responsible for the incorporation of the former Technical University of British Columbia and the creation of the SFU campus in Surrey; the establishment of four new Faculties (the restructured Faculty of Applied Science; the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Environment, and the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology); the development of a pioneering joint degree program with one of China’s premier universities in addition to other significant initiatives in international education; the building of the Segal Graduate School of Business and the new School for the Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s in downtown Vancouver; an award winning market housing development (UniverCity) and extensive new research and teaching facilities on SFU’s Burnaby Mountain campus.
Under Dr. Stevenson’s leadership, Simon Fraser University received the 2009 Gold Medal for innovation and leadership in the public sector from the Institute of Public Administration in Canada, and the university was ranked the top comprehensive university in Canada for each of the last three years of his presidency. For his leadership in higher education Dr. Stevenson has received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.