Dr. David Helfand has a lot to smile about these days.
The president of Quest University has witnessed firsthand the growth of the school and that growth has continued into the new fall session, which saw a 156 first-year students enrol — a seven per cent increase over last year’s record incoming class.
The school now boasts 430 students but Helfand said despite the growing numbers, the spirit of the school remains strong.
“I found that there was that same sort of spirit this year that we had five years ago in my very first class,” he told The Chief. “Despite growing by so much, we haven’t lost our energy or our sense of community.”
The intake of students for this year was limited by the number of beds available in residence, as every single bed is occupied this year. With a new dormitory being built for next year, the 2013-’14 target for incoming students will be a record 180.
“We're very pleased with our enrolment numbers again this year,” he said. “We’re ahead of our projected growth rate and expect to be at our full capacity of 650 students on campus in 2016, one year ahead of schedule.”
The aforementioned new residences are one of next major steps in Quest’s development. The westernmost unit will be completed first and is scheduled to welcome its first 115 students by September 2013, with the second building being completed the following September.
The increase in students has also led to an increase in faculty, with the school having added 11 new faculty members, bringing the number of full-time “tutors” (as they’re called at Quest) to 30.
“We have a terrific new group of faculty joining us from places such as Stanford, Cal Tech, Yale, Princeton, UBC, McMaster, Dalhousie, and the University of Alberta,” Helfand said. “Quest seeks out tutors who are exceptional in their fields, and who have a true passion for teaching. It’s a big part of what sets Quest apart.”
As in previous years, the school will host several lectures throughout the year. As well, festivals will include the Spirits Within Festival later this month and the Squamish Culture and Heritage Festival in November. Squamish residents are encouraged to come check out the free public events.
Helfand also pointed out that the school will host the Pacwest soccer provincial tournament in the first week of November.
For more information on the school, visit www.questu.ca.