Westerman honoured for support of Kwantlen, students

September 30, 2008 by  

Margaret Westerman, pictured Monday afternoon outside of her house on 126th Avenue in Surrey. (Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison photo)

Margaret Westerman, pictured Monday afternoon outside of her house on 126th Avenue in Surrey. (Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison photo)

Margaret Westerman, a retired teacher and active volunteer, has received an honourary membership from the KSA for her contributions to the university.

Westerman and her husband, Ernest, sold a large portion of their land in Surrey to Kwantlen in 1982. Although they could have sold it to developers, they opted instead for the university so that a campus could be built on the lot.

Kwantlen President David Atkinson said that without the land and support from the couple, the school would not be where it is today.

“Kwantlen has flourished,” he said. “If it had not had a sense of place, I suspect none of this would have happened.”

Westerman, who still lives next door to the school, was humbled by her honourary membership and was adamant that the students of Kwantlen have done far more for her than she has every done for them. She added that since her husband’s death in 1984, the presence of students and staff have had a calming effect.

“I’ve had 24 years alone in that house, but I haven’t felt lonely once…just seeing those students is what keeps me going.”

Ernest Westerman’s family set down roots on the land when they arrived in the province in 1919. In 1948, after the couple returned from their honeymoon, they built a house by hand to solidify those roots. The small house, on 126th Street between the two parking lots on the west side of campus, is still home to Westerman.

Westerman said that she has no intentions of ever leaving the house and wants to continue her relationship with Kwantlen.

“I hope to die there, and if I don’t, I hope my spirit dies there.”


One Response to “Westerman honoured for support of Kwantlen, students”

  1. Steven Lee on September 30th, 2008 8:30 pm

    Hi Nathalie,

    Great article! In checking my e-mail tonight I see you sent me an e-mail asking if he videos were up and they are now up… you can find them here:


    or here:


    Sorry for not replying sooner. I hope this will be the first of a few stories honouring Mrs. Westerman… I really hope the KSA can lobby to have 126th street renamed “Westerman Road” – at least the part of it that stretches from 72nd Avenue to 68th Avenue (or even 67a Avenue). If you look at a map, 126 stretches through Surrey but that chunk is by itself and separated from all other chunks of that road. I learned so much watching that presentation and I’d even like to see the house and the few apple trees remain intact, as when Mrs. Westerman passes on, the agreement she has with the government will see her land become a part of the Surrey Campus. I could see the Westerman house becoming a part of Kwantlen’s history – just like the Dumais House compliments and forms a part of the Langley Campus and it’s history.


    - Steve

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