Leadership in his profession, commitment to his community, and a passion to support access to higher education. These are the hallmarks of Ken Hahn’s legacy to the credit union system, the communities of South Fraser region and to Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).
That legacy will be honoured on May 29, when Hahn is awarded an honorary degree from KPU.
Hahn began his career in human resources while working at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Ontario. He was transferred to British Columbia in 1975, and decided to stay on the West Coast. That decision led him to positions in the credit union system, where he became a highly regarded leader in human resources at Surrey Credit Union, Richmond Savings Credit Union, Credit Union Central of B.C. and Coast Capital Savings.
In 1996 he joined Surrey Metro Savings as senior vice president, human resources and remained in that senior executive role after the merger that resulted in the formation of Coast Capital Savings. He retired in 2007. Throughout his professional career, Hahn was a constant advocate for employees, with a special commitment to mental health in the workplace.
His dedication to employees was always central to his work, with one former colleague remarking that at a time when Coast Capital Savings had 1,650 employees, Hahn seemed to know each of them by name.
Hahn, a resident of North Delta, first became involved with KPU in 2001, when he was appointed to the Board of Governors of what was then Kwantlen University College. During his six years as a governor, Hahn was also appointed to the board of the KPU Foundation. He later became chair of the KPU Foundation Board and his leadership skills were matched only by his passion for KPU’s students.
Hahn is a tireless champion for access to higher education, and worked for many years to support the foundation’s work of raising money for student scholarships, awards and bursaries. His expertise in HR, finances and strategic planning, combined with his innately intuitive leadership style, meant that he could anticipate the needs of the organization, always focused on the long term, but never losing sight of the current needs of the university and its students.
“Ken is one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Alan Davis, KPU president and vice-chancellor. “I have valued his insight, his wisdom and his passion, and I thank him for the dedication he has shown to KPU, and to the KPU Foundation and the many students it supports.”
KPU is not the only organization to benefit from Hahn’s experience and noteworthy community service. He has also served as a director for The Centre for Child Development and can often be found at the South Surrey Arena, where he volunteers as a scoring official for the Surrey Eagles of the B.C. Hockey League. Through the years he has also volunteered his time, talent and expertise with North Delta Minor Baseball, North Delta Minor Hockey and with the North Delta Rotary Club. He remains a trustee and board member for the BC Credit Union Pension Fund.
Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Members of the university community and the community at large are invited to nominate candidates. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished scholars, creative artists, public servants, prominent people in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally or globally.