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.
â€œKwantlen has flourished,â€ he said. â€œIf it had not had a sense of place, I suspect none of this would have happened.â€
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 husbandâ€™s death in 1984, the presence of students and staff have had a calming effect.
â€œIâ€™ve had 24 years alone in that house, but I havenâ€™t felt lonely onceâ€¦just seeing those students is what keeps me going.â€
Ernest Westermanâ€™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.
â€œI hope to die there, and if I donâ€™t, I hope my spirit dies there.â€