It is with great sadness that we note the recent, and sudden, passing, on June 2, 2015, of Dr. Patricia Hibbitts, Vice President of Finance and Administration at Simon Fraser University and a widely admired leader in the local finance community.
Pat Hibbitts made enormous contributions to advancing women in finance and was recognized for her achievements in 2011 with the PEAK Award for Excellence in the Public Sector. SFU's VP Finance since 2001, she managed a budget of more than $500 million and oversaw the administrative infrastructure supporting SFU's academic, research and community betterment mission. Any one of the 350 people in seven SFU departments within her purview could attest to Pat's brilliance, her wit and, especially, of her support - her willingness to help people learn and to let them do their jobs. She also was acknowledged as having been instrumental in making SFU one of the best-managed universities in the country; its administrative overhead, at just 8%, is half the average at Canadian universities and the lowest in British Columbia.
Prior to joining SFU, Pat served as Vice-President Business and Finance at the University of Northern British Columbia (she was the first female VP Finance at any western Canadian university) and as Director of Finance and Administration at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University.
Pat held a BA from the University of Toronto, an MBA from York University and a Doctorate in Education, from SFU, a degree that she earned and accepted in 2010, at a time when she had been VP Finance for almost a decade. An Affiliated Scholar with the Centre for Studies in Educational Leadership and Policy at SFU, Pat wrote extensively on the power of narrative and the human experience in the education system. She was a passionate advocate for community and sustainability, including serving on the Board of Directors of the SFU Community Trust, overseeing the development of the model sustainable community that is UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain. She was also active in issues of Aboriginal and health policy.
In addition to the AWF PEAK Award, Pat earned numerous other honours, including the 2013 Ken Clements Distinguished Administrator Award, the 2012 CAUBO Outstanding Contribution Award and the 2005 Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Award.
A celebration of Pat's life will be held at SFU's Convocation Mall on Friday, June 26, at 3:00 p.m.