A Richmond resident and long-time crown prosecutor has been honoured with Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award.
KPU alumnus Winston Sayson, known for his work on high-profile cases in B.C., was one of the university’s first graduates.
Sayson received his honour on Tuesday during convocation ceremonies at the university’s Surrey campus.
“It is deeply meaningful for me to be recognized with the 2022 KPU Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Sayson.
“This brings back good memories of my first two years in Canada in a community college that was just founded. This award affirms the value of an academic education and vocational training from a polytechnic university.”
Sayson, now a retired Crown counsel with the B.C. Prosecution Service, was the first Filipino-Chinese Canadian lawyer given the honorary title of Queen’s Counsel, which recognizes exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession.
He enrolled at Kwantlen College, as it was previously known, in 1981—the year the institution was founded.
At the time, Sayson was a new immigrant from the Philippines and English was his third language. After two years of study, he transferred to University of B.C. to earn a bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws.
“Kwantlen College helped me to quickly and successfully adjust and thrive in a new country and new culture,” added Sayson.
“Kwantlen was instrumental in providing me with a nurturing place to learn. It built me a solid foundation to earn further educational credentials.”
Sayson returned to the institution later in his career, earning his citation in counselling skills in 2004.
He says that provided him with additional skills and practical knowledge to become a better prosecutor.
“The citation in counselling skills gave me the tools and the trauma-informed mindset to effectively help vulnerable victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system.”
Throughout his career, Sayson prosecuted some of B.C.’s most significant and high-profile criminal cases. He is highly regarded for his expertise in working with children and vulnerable victims and helping them through the criminal justice system with genuine care.
Sayson earned a 30-year service award in 2018 before retiring the following year.
Today, he is still involved in the community as a speaker, advocate and volunteer. He remains grateful for the opportunities Canada and KPU provided him, and it’s a message he is leaving with this year’s graduates.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes KPU alumni demonstrating lifetime accomplishments in one or more of three areas: professional, entrepreneurial, innovation; service; and exemplified resilience in the face of adversity.