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Pandemic delays SFU grad ceremony, but this former Coquitlam trustee is is happy to be honoured

Diane Sowden earns honorary degree for her fight to stop exploitation of youth while convocation for SFU grads postponed until October
Diane Sowden, a long time advocate for children and youth,
Diane Sowden, a long time advocate for children and youth, is being recognized by Simon Fraser University with an honorary degree.

A former Coquitlam school trustee has been given one of Simon Fraser University’s top honours for her efforts to stop sexual exploitation of youth.

Diane Sowden, a long time advocate for children and youth, was to have received her 2020 honorary degree from the Burnaby university in June, but the convocation ceremony scheduled for for this June 9 to 12 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, Sowden is thrilled to have received the acknowledgement, although admitting she’s sad for SFU students.

“I am feeling very sad for the students who have worked so hard for many years in order to graduate, but it is understandable and the best thing to do at this time,” Sowden said in an email to The Tri-City News.

The founder of the Children of the Street Society, Sowden has raised awareness and lobbied to change laws in Canada and the Child Protection Act in B.C. to ensure children are safer.

“I want to thank all the people working on this issue, and those who have been so supportive in so many different ways and continue to. Most of all, my heart is with the youth and their families who are the reason that this fight must continue. So much has been done during the past 25 years that I have been part of this battle but there is still lots to be done." 

Meanwhile graduating SFU students, who apply for graduation by Apr. 17, 2020, will receive their parchment and will be invited to participate in convocation ceremonies in Oct. 2020 or June 2021. 

The university will also host an online celebration in mid-June that will allow graduates and their families to gather virtually and celebrate. More details here.

Find out more about Sowden here.