KWANTLEN Polytechnic University (KPU) Chancellor Arvinder Bubber has presented more than a dozen honorary degrees at university convocations over the past six years.
In October, the tables will be turned and Bubber will receive one of his own, owing to his tireless dedication to post-secondary education and the success of Kwantlen students.
“Few individuals so perfectly embody the KPU spirit like Arvinder,” said KPU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “Not only was he integral to KPU becoming a university, but he continues to be a powerful and persuasive proponent of Kwantlen’s status.”
Bubber has been the university’s chancellor since 2008. In October, he will hand the reins to George Melville, chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International.
“I’m truly humbled by this recognition,” said Bubber. “I’m so proud of how KPU has grown to accommodate the needs of our students, and I take great pride in being part of that growth. And now to join the ranks of KPU’s other honorary degree recipients is wonderfully heartening.”
Bubber grew up in the Punjab region of India, raised by parents with no higher than a Grade 10 education.
Perhaps by virtue of what they didn’t have, Bubber’s parents placed a high value on education and worked hard to ensure their son had opportunities they didn’t.
Bubber earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Panjab University in 1971, then immigrated to England, where he became a chartered accountant (CA). Bubber moved to Canada in 1976 and B.C. in 1991, where he opened his own accounting firm, A.S. Bubber and Associates in Surrey.
Bubber credits his work as a CA with opening doors and providing opportunities to give back to others. While active with organizations such as the Fraser Health Authority, the Surrey Board of Trade and the Premier’s Asia Pacific Trade Council (vice-chair), he has often said education is his real passion.
Bubber and other members of the South Asian community founded the SPARK Education Foundation in 2003. The foundation – which started as a partnership between SPARK, the Surrey School District and KPU – provided encouragement, counselling, and academic and financial support to high school students who were at risk of dropping out, or who faced economic or cultural barriers to staying in school and pursuing post-secondary education.
Bubber’s community spirit, vision and exceptional commitment in support of education earned him formal recognition from the Surrey School District in 2005.
Bubber was appointed to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Board of Governors in 2001 and chaired the board from 2002 to 2007. He became KPU’s first chancellor in 2008, and was re-appointed in 2011. He is also a member of the Board of Governors, Senate and the Kwantlen Foundation Board.
Again, Bubber’s community service was awarded when he was given a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) designation by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of B.C. in 2009. He was also appointed as an honorary director of the Surrey Board of Trade in 2014, and named Business Person of the Year in 2010.
Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished scholars, creative artists, public servants, people prominent in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally or globally. Members of the community-at-large are invited to nominate honorary degree candidates.
Bubber is one of several outstanding individuals who will be recognized with an honorary degree by KPU at fall convocation. KPU announced in August that Mike McKay, former superintendent of the Surrey School District, and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts will also be receiving honorary degrees.