The "Original" Faculty Club

[UBC crest] In the period following the University's move to Point Grey in 1925, faculty members had only limited space on campus for interaction - a small faculty dining room in the Auditorium, committee room in the Administration building and a reading room in the Library. The December 1938 Faculty Association minutes provide one of the first references to the need for a faculty club at the University. It was suggested that efforts be made to secure a faculty club room either in the Brock Memorial Building or elsewhere on campus. There was also discussion about the possibility of constructing a faculty club across the road from the Auditorium cafeteria. Preliminary estimates placed the costs for modest dining and club facilities immediately adjacent to the west end of the Auditorium at be approximately $6,000. With the outbreak of World War II faculty efforts were focused elsewhere and the issue appears to have remained dormant for several years.

[Main Mall looking north toward Faculty Club]In 1944, President Norman MacKenzie stressed the "importance and desirability of a well-organized Faculty Club with suitable accommodation". The Faculty Association agreed that the faculty dining room adjoining the Cafeteria had become inadequate. Gordon Shrum suggested obtaining a hut used as a officers' mess at the New Westminster barracks. This option was approved and the University acquired a three-section army hut from the War Assets Corporation. Work to prepared the site at the north end of Main Mall (left) began in 1946 and the Faculty Club opened for a housewarming on January 5th, 1947.

The Faculty Association established a $5 initiation fee and annual dues of $10 with membership compulsory all Association members above the rank of instructor. The affairs of the club were overseen by the House, Furnishings and Picture Committees. The University administration assumed responsibility for the gardens, building maintenance and general operation of the dining room.

Views of the original Faculty Club
[View of the original Faculty Club] [View of the original Faculty Club] [View of the original Faculty Club]

In reporting on the initial eight months of operations, House Committee chair L.E. Ranta suggest that "every effort should be made to encourage use of the facilities by faculty members in order to achieve its objective of providing a congenial place where faculty members might meet not as members of different departments, but rather as members of the same University."

Landscaped grounds behind Faculty Club
[Landscaped grounds behind Faculty Club] [Landscaped grounds behind Faculty Club]

During its early years of operation the new Faculty Club faced its share of growing pains particularly in the form of lunch-time overcrowding and dining room deficits. These concerns prompted the appointment of the Committee Concerned with the Affairs of the Faculty Club which offered two proposals in 1952. The first recognized the growing inadequacies of the existing facilities and involved a major building program designed, according to the committee, "to convert what now might be termed the Faculty Dining Room into a proper Faculty Club." It called for the construction of a two-storey structure with ten rooms for housing and a games room under the existing portion of the building at a cost of approximately $36,000. The second proposal called for a reorganization of the dining and catering facilities to improve the food, reduce costs and free the Club facilities for greater use by the faculty. The committee also suggested that the Faculty Club should cater more to the social needs of the faculty by ensuring the availability of the facilities for members on certain nights. In 1956, the University assumed administrative control of the Faculty Club and operated the facility through a special committee and received a grant of $7.50 per year for each active member of the Faculty Association.

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Date: March 1999
© 1999 University of British Columbia Archives