Senate Memorial Tributes - "B"


With the death of Alden Forrest Barss on July 12, 1980, in his ninety-third year, the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at The University of British Columbia lost one of its founding faculty.

Dr. Barss was born in Hoosick, Rensselaer County, New York, in 1888, and obtained his schooling in Rochester. He received his B.A. degree in Classics and Philosophy from the University of Rochester in 1910, graduating at the head of his class. His excellence in scholarship and his participation in music, drama and a variety of sports already forecast the wide range of interests which were to characterize his whole life. He proceeded to a B.Sc. degree in Agriculture at Cornell University, and then pursued graduate work towards his Masters degree in Horticulture at Oregan State College. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago.

He came to U.B.C. as Associate Professor of Horticulture, and in 1926 succeeded Dean Clement as Head of that department.

Dr. Barss held membership, in many instances as a Charter Member, in Professional and Scientific Societies related to Horticulture, and served on Provincial committees concerned with its problems. He was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society of England and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to his strenuous administrative and teaching duties, Dr. Barss found time to judge fairs, serve as Secretary-Treasurer on the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association for eight years and serve on the Advisory Board of the Pacific National Exhibition for over forty years.

He was a staunch member of St. Helen's Anglican Church, and served from 1927 to 1971 on the Board of Governors of the Anglican Theological College of B.C.; for twenty-five years he was its Secretary.

Dr. Barss was a member of the U.B.C. Senate from 1924 to 1930. He was as much interested in education outside the university as within, and in 1933 he made a submission to Senate which eventually led to the establishment of the Department of University Extension.

Dr. Barss not only lived a long life but also a most interesting and rewarding one. He had an intense and wholehearted interest in people. He had the remarkable talent of remembering people's names and details about their families. He will be warmly remembered by all who had the pleasure of coming in contact with him, but especially by his family, former students and associates.

He was married to Emily Malcomson in 1915, and they celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary in 1975. Mrs. Barss was to predecease her husband that year. Senate extends to his son Walter and daughters Ruth (Mrs. W.H. English) and Elizabeth (Mrs. J.A. Wheat) its deepest sympathy.


Dr. David V. Bates served on Senate as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1972 to 1977. He was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medicine (Respiratory) and Department of Health Care & Epidemiology.

Dr. Bates received his medical training from Cambridge University. Prior to coming to UBC, Dr. Bates was a Senior Lecturer in Medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital and the University of London, and was an Associate Dean at McGill University from 1956 to 1972.

After retiring from UBC in 1987, he continued to be a very active member of the academic community. His area of expertise included occupational and environmental medicine,specializing in respiratory disease related to air pollutants. Dr. Bates was a recipient of many awards, including The Queen's Jubilee Medal, the Connaught Award (Canadian Lung Association), the Trudeau Gold Medal, the Ramazzini Medal, and the Order of Canada. The Environmental and Occupational Health assembly of the American Thoracic Society honoured Dr. Bates on the occasion of his 80th birthday by establishing the David Bates Award. This award is given annually to a research trainee in recognition of the importance Dr. Bates placed on mentoring and supporting young investigators.

Dr. Bates served on a number of boards and committees in the academic and scientific communities. He was chair of the BC Royal Commission on Uranium Mining and of the US EPA Science Advisory Board Task Force on Electromagnetic Fields. He was a member of the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Academy of Sciences, USA and the Science Council of Canada.

Dr. Bates is survived by his children and grandchildren.

JACOB BIELY (1903-1981)

Professor Jacob Biely, an internationally-known Poultry Scientist, died at The Vancouver General Hospital on June 3, 1981, after a brief illness. Professor Biely's association with The University of British Columbia spanned almost 60 years as a student, teacher and researcher.

Jacob Biely was born in Russia in 1903 and was educated in the Siberian town of Chita. He came to Canada with his family following the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. He enrolled at UBC in 1922, and graduated in 1926 as head of the graduating class for the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree.

He undertook graduate studies at Kansas State College, where he received the degree Master of Science in 1929. Returning to UBC, he earned the degree Master of Science in Agriculture in 1930.

Professor Biely worked for the Canadian National Research Council before joining the UBC Faculty on a full-time basis in 1935 as an Instructor in Poultry Science. He was appointed Full professor in 1950, and two years later was named Head of his Department, a position which he held until his retirement in 1968.

Even in retirement, however, there was no let-up in the energy which Professor Biely devoted to teaching and research at UBC, and he was a frequent visitor to his campus laboratory up to a week before his death.

At the time of his official retirement his brother, George Biely, established the Professor Jacob Biely Faculty Research Prize for outstanding research. This is the premier research prize awarded by UBC annually to one of its faculty members.

In 1970 UBC conferred on Professor Biely the honorary degree Doctor of Science in recognition of his outstanding contributions to his Alma Mater and to the field of his research.

He was the author of nearly 250 papers on topics related to nutrition and diseases of poultry, and was frequently called on by governments and the poultry industry in an advisory capacity.

His recognition as a researcher led him to be elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Agricultural Institute of Canada. The Poultry Science Association of America elected him a Fellow in 1960 and also presented him with the Ralston Purina Teaching Award for his contributions to the teaching of Poultry Science students. He also received a number of other leading awards for teaching and research, including the Earle Willard McHenry Award of the Nutrition Society of Canada. He was a former president of the Nutrition Society of Canada and former chairman of a number of committees of the National Research Council and the Federal and Provincial Departments of Agriculture.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, this country's most prestigious academic organization; Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada; Fellow of the American Society of Poultry Science and the recipient of numerous awards for his distinguished achievements in research.

He represented the Faculty of Agriculture on the UBC Senate from 1948 to 1954.

Senate expresses its deepest sympathy to his wife, Judith, his brothers, George and Miguel, his sons, Robert and Gordon, his daughters, Mrs. Martin Barer and Mrs. Burle Yolles, and other members of the family.


Charlotte Black, Emerita Professor of Home Economics, died on May 11, 1979 after a lengthy illness.

With a B.Sc. in Home Economics from the University of Manitoba in 1925, Miss Black taught in the Vancouver schools until 1939 when she became Provincial Supervisor of Home Economics for the Department of Education. She completed a Master of Arts degree at Columbia University and became an instructor in Home Management at the University of Washington from 1941 until 1943. Miss Black returned to Vancouver to The University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Home Economics in the year that it was established; in 1948 she became Department Head. Charlotte Black took the lead in the development of Home Economics at U.B.C., saw the faculty's strength rise from two to twelve, and change to a School occupying a newly constructed building in 1949.

Miss Black held leadership positions in a number of professional and community organizations. She was Chairman of the Scholarship Committee of the Canadian Dietetic Association; President of the Vancouver and District Home Economics Association 1945-46; President of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Association of Consumers in 1954; from 1950-52 she served as second Vice President of the Canadian Federation of University Women and from 1952-53 as first Vice President.

Miss Black was a founding member of the Canadian Home Economics Association and served as the Secretary from 1939 until 1941. She also served four years as the Chairman of the Education Committee and four years as the Chairman of the Constitution Committee. In 1953, she represented Canada as a Delegate to the International Congress of Home Economics in Edinburgh. She was Chairman of the Convention Committee when C.H.E.A. met in Vancouver in 1956.

In 1964, the Canadian Home Economics Association presented Charlotte Black with the Honour Award in recognition of her dedication to her profession.

After her resignation in 1965, Miss Black enjoyed her home and community activities. Although troubled by polio for many years, she remained active until last year when she became seriously ill.

All of Charlotte Black's associates and students have benefited from her friendship, dedication, and professionalism.

The Senate expresses its sympathy to her sister, Dr. Elinor Black of Winnipeg, and brother Dr. Donald Black of Kelowna.

SAM BLACK (1913-1998)

Sam Black was an outstanding artist, educator and member of the UBC community. He was born in the Strathclyde region of South-western Scotland and graduated from the Glasgow School of Art. He entered the teaching profession in 1936 and continued his study of art in London, Paris and Brussels prior to World War II.

When the war began in 1939, Sam enlisted in the Royal Scottish Fusiliers and received a commission in the Officer Corps. He was assigned to the Eastern Command Camouflage School during the defence of Britain and was at Normandy with the 1st British Corps in June of 1944. He saw action in France, Belgium and Germany and was decorated with 3 military stars, the Defence Medal, an Oak Leaf and the Belgian Medaille Civile for bravery. Sam finished his military service as a Major in 1945.

He resumed his educational career and became a Principal Lecturer in Arts at the Jordanhill Training College in Glasgow. In 1957, he was a visiting Professor at UBC, teaching Art at a summer school session. He was well received on the Point Grey campus and his UBC colleagues persuaded him to return in 1958 as a full-time Professor of Fine Arts and Art Education.

Sam was an excellent teacher at UBC. When Walter Koerner established the Master Teacher Award in memory of his brother Leon in 1969, Walter Gage was awarded the first Master Teacher Award. In 1970, Sam Black was the second UBC faculty member chosen as a Master Teacher. He was also active in the University community and served as a member-at-large Senator from 1967-1972.

Sam Black received many awards and honours for his artistic works and accomplishments during his academic career at UBC. One of the most prestigious honours came in 1977 when he was elected to membership in the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Those elected to membership in the Academy must be men or women who have exhibited outstanding creative merit and are acknowledged to be Masters in the particular discipline of visual or environmental arts in Canada. The Master Teacher was also deemed to be a Master Artist.

He retired to his studio and gallery - the Shieling - on Bowen Island in 1978. He continued to be recognized nationally and internationally for his outstanding creativity. In 1990, UBC recognized Sam's unique contributions to the University, the Province, Canada and the world by conferring upon him a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

UBC was fortunate to have had Sam Black as a member of their Academic community. Over the 41 years that he was associated with UBC, he brought it honour, wisdom, humour, inspiration and respect as a teacher, an artist, a public speaker, a faculty member and a committed supporter of the campus community.

JOHN BLEWETT (1906-1981)

John Blewett came to Vancouver in 1959 as Professor of Church History and Liturgics at the Anglican Theological College. One year later he became Principal of the College, a position that he filled with distinction until 1971. It was during this period that he served as a member of this Senate.

He felt strongly that, with common aims and aspirations, the Union and Anglican Colleges should share their resources and draw closer together. It was in no small measure due to his vision and encouragement that the two colleges did join to form the Vancouver School of Theology in 1971, - a School not confined to the Anglican and United Church tradition, but one reflecting a broader ecumenical scope. John continued as Professor and Vice-Principal of the new School until his retirement in 1976.

John Blewett was born in St. Ives, Cornwall, England, in 1906 where he obtained his early schooling. He came to Canada in 1923 on a scholarship which permitted him to attend normal school in Saskatoon. After completion of his course he taught for several years in Indian Mission Schools in the northern parts of the Prairies. He returned to Saskatoon to complete the Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Saskatchewan. He then attended Emmanuel College where he became a Licentiate in Theology in 1934.

He served as a priest in parish churches in Alberta and British Columbia until 1942, when he became a Chaplain to the R.C.A.F.

In 1946 he joined the teaching staff of St. John's College, Winnipeg as a Lecturer, later becoming a Professor. Meanwhile he was rector, first of St. Anne's, and then for ten years at All Saints', in Winnipeg.

John Blewett was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from his alma mater, Emmanuel College, and by the Anglican and Union Theological Colleges of British Columbia.

Following his retirement, he and his wife Sydnay lived in Victoria. Illness during the past year took its toll, resulting in his death on the last day of February.

To his wife Sydnay, to his daughter Barbara, to his sons David, William and Edwin, and to all members of the family, Senate extends its deepest sympathy.


Theodore Harding Boggs, who served The University of British Columbia as Professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Economics, Sociology and Political Science from 1916-1930, died June 10, 1969, at the age of eighty-seven. Born in southern India, he was educated at Acadia and Yale and taught at Yale and Dartmouth before his appointment to British Columbia. he moved to Stanford University in 1930 and remained there until his retirement in 1947. As a member of the Faculty of The University of British Columbia he became well known nationally as an economist and at the same time as one of the pioneers who helped to build the young University. lie represented the Faculty of Arts and Science on Senate from 1918 to 1924 and three years later was elected by Convocation for another term. His former students remember him as a gifted and humane teacher, his colleagues recall him as an able administrator and a congenial companion. Upon his retirement he settled in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island, where he retained his deep affection and concern for The University of British Columbia and all its affairs. The University granted him an Honorary Degree in 1930 and he proved to be a true and loyal Alumnus for the rest of his life. The members of Senate, representing the University as a whole, convey their sympathy to the surviving members of the family.


Born in Barbados, Dr. Charles Bourne moved to Canada to pursue a career in law. He completed  a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1945, and went on to earn an L.L.M. from Cambridge in 1947, and an S.J.D. from Harvard in 1970. Following several years at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law, Dr. Bourne took a position at UBC’s Faculty of Law in 1950.

During his academic career, Dr. Bourne became a world renowned scholar in the areas of water resources law and the law of the sea. His leadership roles included President of the Canadian British International Law Association, Academic-in-Residence for External Affairs, President of the Canadian Council of International Law, member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, advisor to the International Joint Commission in Ottawa, and Chairman of the International Law Association Committee on International Water Resources Law. He also wrote numerous articles, and served as Editor-in-Chief for The Canadian Yearbook of International Law.

Dr. Bourne received many honours, including Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1979, the John E. Read Medal from the Canadian Council of International Law in 1986, and the UBC Alumni Award for Research in 2011.

Between 1954 and 1981, Dr. Bourne served on the UBC Senate, as representative of the Faculty of Law and of Joint Faculties. He also acted as special advisor to the President from 1975 to 1986, when he retired Professor emeritus. In recognition of his long-standing service to UBC, the University bestowed upon Dr. Bourne an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1993.


Paul-Axel Boving, the first professor, and later professor emeritus, of Agronony, brought to the University an experience that was rare in its breadth and a rich store of humane culture. His fellows will thankfully remember him for his wit and his warmth of personality; and a generation of students have been impressed by his persuasive skill in classroom and laboratory.

FRITZ BOWERS (1925-1996)

Fritz Bowers was born in Stettin, Germany, on December 13, 1925. Prior to the Second World War, he escaped from Gennany and settled in England with his brothers and parents. He graduated from Cambridge and moved to Vancouver in 1948. His first appointment at UBC was as an associate professor in Electrical Engineering. He was promoted to full professor in 1964. He also served on Senate from 1963-69 as a member at-large.

His career was broad-based and he served both UBC and the community of Vancouver with distinction. As an academic, scientist and administrator at UBC he was well respected and his inventiveness lead to the development of four patents in the field of communications. He entered civic politics in 1969 when he was elected as a Vancouver School Trustee. In 1971 he was chair of the Vancouver School Board and in 1972 he was elected to Vancouver City Council as an aldennan. He served as City Manager of Vancouver from 1977-90. He retired from UBC in 1976 and was accorded Professor Emeritus status upon retirement in 1990.

Fritz Bowers combined his academic and civic careers for the betterment of his university and community. He distinguished himself as an academic, a professional and as a civic leader.


Dr. Katherine T. Brearley was born in Calgary and moved to White Rock as a young girl. After high school, Dr. Brearley completed her BA at UBC in English, French and History in 1935, her professional year in Education in 1936, and her MA in English in 1939. She taught at Semiahmoo Secondary School in Surrey from 1937 to 1947, before going on to earn her PhD at the Université de Paris. Dr. Brearley returned to UBC in 1950, where she was in charge of the Women’s Residence from 1950 to 1954, and Assistant Dean of Women from 1959 to 1962.

In 1969, Dr. Brearley was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of French, and Senior Faculty Advisor in the Faculty of Arts. She served in these roles until her retirement from UBC, upon which she became Associate Professor emerita. The Kay Brearley Service Award is given annually to the student or non-student whose service to the Women’s Athletic program has been judged to be exceptional. Dr. Brearley was both a member and Chair of the Women’s Athletic Committee for many years. She had a genuine interest in students, and was committed to encouraging student involvement and leadership. In addition to her many other contributions to UBC, Dr. Brearley served on the Senate from 1975 to 1981 as a representative of Joint Faculties.

A textbook case against mandatory retirement, Dr. Brearley returned to high school teaching at Little Flower Academy from 1981 to 1988. After retiring from LFA, she volunteered with neighbourhood agencies and remained active with UBC Retired Faculty. Dr. Brearley also became an accomplished painter of watercolours, her works being shown at venues such as “Artists in our midst”.

DAVID M. BROUSSON (1920-1992)

Among the large group of dedicated and loyal alumni of which this university can be justly proud, the name of the late David Brousson will always be high on the list.

Mr. Brousson was born in 1920. After completing high school in Victoria he earned a teaching certificate from Victoria College in 1939. Following service as a Lieutenant of Artillery in World War II, he entered this university and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Applied Science. During his university years he assumed many leadership positions in the Alma Mater Society and served as President in his senior year. The class of 1949 produced many notable alumni, including the names of Paul Plant and John Turner. It was a group who remained lifelong friends and untiring supporters of the university.

After graduation David Brousson founded Century Sales and Controls Ltd. and built it into a highly successful business. He changed careers in 1975 and followed his lifelong interest in education by accepting the position of Dean at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

David Brousson's life was one of continuous and unselfish service to his province, to the betterment of education, and to this university. As an elected member of the legislature from 1968 to 1973, he earned respect from all sides of the house for his integrity and his dedication to the interests of all British Columbians. He gave his time willingly to many organizations, including trusteeships in the B.C. Advanced Systems Foundation, Discovery Foundation, Terry Fox Foundation, and as Chairman of Lions Gate Hospital Foundation. He was an active environmentalist who often raised his voice in support of the preservation of the Skagit Valley.

In the field of education there were few more active supporters. He served on the Senate of this university from 1966 to 1978 and later as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Victoria. He also served as an articulate President of the Alumni Association of The University of British Columbia.

David Brousson played many roles and was a credit to each one. He was not only a leader, but he inspired others to give as generously as he did. No better tribute could be paid to David Brousson than those words written by his lifelong friend Pat McGeer:

"We enjoyed him as a cheerful companion. We trusted him as a loyal friend. We admired him as a strong leader. We respected him as a gentleman of character, we were privileged to know him well, and we are better for it."

To his wife, Trix, and to others of his family, the Senate of this university extends its deepest sympathy.

REVEREND J.G. BROWN, M.A., D.D. (1880-1956)

Dr. J. G. Brown was born in Lakefield, Ontario in 1880. He received his University and Theological Education at Toronto. After a few years in pastoral work in Ontario, he came to British Columbia where he ministered in several congregations, including his last charge of Ryerson Church in Kerrisdale, Vancouver.

From here he was appointed to the Principalship of Ryerson Theological College and when, in 1927, Ryerson College and Westminster Hall were merged, he became the first Principal of Union College of British Columbia on the University Campus.

Under his administration were erected the Main building of the College, viz., the West Wing in 1927 and the Tower Section in 1934. His was the difficult task of guiding the College successfully, first through the period of the depression and then through World War II.

After his retirement in 1948, he lived for three years in Oxford, England, until his return to British Columbia, when he assumed the pastorate of The Church of our Lord in Victoria.

He remained on active duty to the end, having conducted divine service twice on Sunday, October 14, the day before his death.

The Union College Building will remain a visible memorial to Dr. Brown. More endearing is the deep impression which he wade on the minds and hearts of his associates in all walks of life, and on the many students whom he assisted in their perplexities. These will remember him best for his unfailing spirit of kindliness and Christian charity.

Dr. Brown's three children are graduates of the University of British Columbia, viz., Professor James B. Brown, B.A. '40, D.Phil. (Oxon.), Ellen Lillian, B.A. '42, and Professor Donald G. Brown., B.A. '47, D. Phil. (Oxon.).

To his widow, and to the other members of his family, the Senate extends its deepest sympathy.


In the death of William Alistair Bryce at the age of 42, on May 15, 1964, the University lost one of its most promising younger men. Outstanding as teacher and scholar, he was also an unusually able administrator. At the time of his death he was Acting Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia, and had recently been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Victoria. He collaborated in the publication of over thirty scientific articles, and was from 1958 to 1961 a director of the Chemical Institute of Canada. His other activities included assisting the Department of Education in Victoria in the revision of Chemistry courses for school curricula, and twice serving on the Board of the Central Y.M.C.A.

Born in Kelliher, Saskatchewan, Alistair Bryce received his B.A. degree in 1943 and his M.A. in 1944 from the University of Saskatchewan, and took his Ph.D. degree at McGill University in 1947. He proceeded to further graduate study at Oxford, where he took a second doctorate in 1949, and in the same year joined the teaching staff of the University of British Columbia. In 1958-59 he had the distinction of being visiting research fellow at Cambridge on the Nuffield Foundation.

Those of his colleagues who worked with Dr. Bryce on committees can testify to his genial and co-operative manner, his intelligent and informed judgments with respect to the larger affairs of the University, and his sympathetic interest in the problems of disciplines other than his own. His period of service as a member of Senate was brief, from the time of his election as a representative of the new Faculty of Science in September, 1963, to his tragically sudden death nine months later. Yet short as was the period of his membership, it sufficed to give other members of Senate a glimpse of his intellectual quality, and to underline their sense of grievous loss in the untimely ending of a life notable in achievement and rich in potential.


The Senate records with deep regret the death of its former member Dean Daniel Buchanan and pays tribute to him. In some three decades of service to the University, his frank and ingenuous spirit, his humane outlook, his natural gifts as a teacher end his energy and competence as an administrator became the foundations of a living tradition. His humour and good humour in personal and public relations will be affectionately remembered by his colleagues, his sound research by his fellow mathematicians; student veterans will ever be grateful for his realistic handling of regulations on their behalf. His life was one of unbroken service; write him as one who loved his fellow men.


John Buchanan died peacefully at sea Thursday, April 29, at the age of 77. Born in British Columbia, he was, in 1917, one of the University's early graduates. He entered business and in 1928 he joined B.C. Packers. One could write at length of his striking successes in the mercantile world and of his willing response to the many demands made upon him in the public interest. Suffice it to note that by 1958, inevitably, it seems, he had become President of his firm and Chairman of its Board.

We in this Senate will recall a man whose selfless devotion to the University of British Columbia has been unsurpassed through the years. He helped organise the Alumni Association and became its President in 1949. In 1951 he won the Great Trekker Award, of which he remained constantly proud. In the same year he began a six-year term on Senate and that body at once elected him to the Board of Governors. In 1966 he won election as Chancellor. For three critical years, in an era of turbulence, his calm wisdom, his ability to see the whole problem, his humane understanding of others, and his omnipresent sense of humour preserved the dignity of his office and therefore of the University.

Whatever he undertook to do, he did with his whole heart, whether in business, in his church, or for the University, on the campus and off. Few men have been so loved, as the crowded church at the memorial service testified.

At the Congregation of May 28, 1969, he said, with the characteristic twinkling of his eye:

"On each day, I shall be confronted as today by a sea of faces but each face presents a unique and important individuality of soul, mind, and body. I try to remember this as each graduate receives his degree. Each will go out of this University to a different endeavour. Soon, by the simple phrase, "I admit you," and a tap on the head, each of you will be changed in the twinkling of an eye from a student to a graduate. Cynics are scoffing more and more these days at the rituals and colourful symbolism of many of our inherited traditions - those of Parliament, church, university, and other realms of society. It may someday even be suggested that we should do away with the handshake of friendship. Wise men cherish these traditions by which we make visible those otherwise invisible, but supremely important, realities that add value and dignity to life. They are to life what music is to song."

In May, 1970, an appreciative University conferred upon him the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.

To Mildred, his wife and partner of fifty years, to his son and daughter, to his ten grandchildren, we of the University of British Columbia express our sympathy and our pride in numbering such a man among our alumni.


Not many members of Senate will have personal memories of Dr. William Brenton Burnett, whose term as a member of Senate extended from 1921 to 1933. Yet his death at the age of 94, on May 20, 1964, must bring to all of us a vivid sense of historical realities in the life of the university and the province of British Columbia. His career reflected and influenced the stages of growth in city and province, from a period that had barely emerged from the days of the pioneer, to the present complexity of professional, industrial and educational progress.

Born in Sussex, New Brunswick, in 1870, William Burnett came to Vancouver in 1891, following graduation from Acadia University. An early Canadian pattern of energy and diversity is seen in the variety of his work: unloading cargoes from the Empress of India, the first C.P.R. Empress ship; making boxes in a sawmill; selling insurance; teaching and becoming principal of the old Central School facing the present Victory Square. Determined to be a physician, he returned to the East to take his degrees of M.D. and C.M. at McGill, and began practice as a doctor in Vancouver in 1900.

From that time Dr. Burnett's life paralleled the development of his adopted province. He was appointed to the surgical staff of the Vancouver General Hospital in 1905., and was chief gynaecologist from 1913 to 1938. He took post-graduate studies at London and Vienna in 1913. During his medical career he achieved recognition in his field as honorary life member of seven professional organizations in Canada and the United States.

His second interest was in mining. Ignoring advice that the Barkerville area had no further value, he fostered and for thirty-five years headed the prosperous Cariboo Gold Quartz Mines. Other mining ventures were Surf Inlet, Pioneer, and Bralorne. His prominence in the development of one of British Columbia's major natural resources is reflected in his being the President of the B. C. Chamber of Mines from 1935 to 1941. and a member of the executive of the Mining Association of British Columbia for twenty-five years.

Dr. Burnett's continuing interest in higher education is evident not only in his service on the Senate, but also in his early experience as instructor in Chemistry at the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, a forerunner of the University of British Columbia, and as lecturer in the School of Nursing. The breadth of his interests and of his services to the community at large is suggested by his many offices and honours, including those of President of the Kiwanis Club, honorary life member of the Vancouver Board of Trade, and President and charter member of the Canadian Club.

The close of such a life brings no note of sadness, but rather an admiring awareness of what one man in his lifetime may accomplish in so many ways, while meeting the exacting demands of his profession. That for twelve years Dr. Burnett should also have contributed to the deliberations of Senate is a reminder to us of how inseparably the growth of this university is bound up with the growth of British Columbia as a whole. In recording its gratitude for his services, Senate feels honoured in paying tribute to the memory of a man of such fruitful and many-sided achievement.

Back to Senate Tributes Index