Senate Tributes - "N", "O"


Kaspar David Naegele was born in Stuttgart, Germany.... He was an undergraduate at McGill, he took his Master's degree at Columbia in 1947 and his Doctorate at Harvard in 1952. He began his teaching career at Harvard, he served as Assistant Professor at the University of New Brunswick, and he joined the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of British Columbia in 1954. Here he rose to the rank of Professor by 1963. He had enjoyed a year as Visiting Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Oslo. On April 1, 1964 he assumed the office of Dean of the Faculty of Arts; he had been a member of Senate since September 1963....

His work in Sociology became known in many countries and guarantees his scholarly reputation. But it is as a teacher that he will be remembered at the University of British Columbia. His lectures were carefully prepared and clearly spoken; more than that, inside the classroom and outside he showed an unusual compassion for and understanding of his fellow men. Students are quick to sense these qualities and for some years he was ranked with the most respected and popular of professors. Among the most impressive tributes paid to him have been those by students, in private as well as in public. To be beloved by his students is the professor's highest goal.

Naegele was a man who thought deeply about education and its problems; and he had ideas. The Deanship gave him the opportunity that he needed to put these ideas into practice. In his brief tenure he began many investigations and he initiated what he considered were necessary reforms.... He was conscientious, he worked hard, and he was determined....

NATHAN NEMETZ (1913-1997)

Chief Justice Nathan Nemetz was born in Winnipeg in 1913 and moved with his family to Vancouver when he was 10. He received a bachelor's degree in History at UBC in 1934 and was called to the Bar in 1937.

Mr. Nemetz was a passionate and articulate supporter of civil and human rights all his life. He was a founding member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Union in Vancouver, and was active in the 1950s lobbying for anti-discrimination legislation in BC. He co-chaired the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews in the 1950s, served as president of B'nai Brith and was involved with the Canadian Jewish Congress.

His strong social consciousness also affected the direction and growth of his professional career. Before the beginning of the Second World War he became involved in labour law as a way of dealing with the high unemployment of the time. He represented unions and workers' associations in Vancouver and represented the Marine Workers' Union in the last BC case to be appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

In 1963 his hard work and extraordinary abilities resulted in his appointment to the Supreme Court of BC. Ten years later he was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court, then in 1978 he became chief justice of the BC Court of Appeal, the highest judicial post in the province. In a special edition of UBC's Law Review in 1988, Justice Peter Seaton summed up his career eloquently, calling him "the leading judicial administrator in Canada."

In spite of his demanding career, Chief Justice Nemetz gave much time and expertise to his alma mater. He was active in the Alumni Association from graduation and became its president in 1956. He served on the university's Senate from 1957 to 1963, and on the Board of Governors from 1957 to 1968. He was chairman of the Board from 1965 to 1968.

He also served as Chancellor of UBC from 1972 to 1975. He was given an Honorary Degree in 1975.

Mr. Nemetz was an early supporter of the World of Opportunity Campaign. As a member of the Campaign's Leadership Advisory Committee, he helped develop the aims and focus of the campaign in its beginning stages. Through the campaign, his many friends and colleagues established the Nathan T. Nemetz Chair in Legal History at UBC in recognition of his contribution to Canadian society.

Throughout his life, he maintained a strong affection for his alma mater and a deep concern for its development. The University of British Columbia has had few graduates as distinguished and dedicated as Nathan Nemetz.


Frank Noakes, Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science, died suddenly on the evening of August lst, 1969, at the age of 55.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Frank Noakes took his baccalaureate degree at the University of Alberta in 1937. He proceeded for advanced study to Iowa State University, where he won the M.S. in 1938 and the Ph.D. in 1940. His first academic appointment came from the University of Toronto, where he served for three years. After a similar period in industry as a research engineer, he came to The University of British Columbia in 1946 as Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering. He soon rose to the rank of Professor and in 1953 he assumed the Headship of the Department, in which post he worked continuously until his death.

Professor Noakes, in a sense, adopted the University as his own. He built a Department that commanded respect throughout the continent; he served on innumerable committees dealing with a broad range of the University's activities, his devotion to his profession and to this institution led to his election in 1957 to Senate, where he sat a full term. More recently, his deep knowledge of his Faculty and its problems and of the University as a whole made natural his appointment as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science.

A mere recital of the facts of his academic life does scant justice to Professor Noakes. A man of diverse interests, he was known in all parts of the University, by humanists and by social scientists, by scientists and by engineers, by doctors and by teachers. And he was known by generations of students, for whom he never ceased to struggle. He was a humanist himself and he possessed an enviable sense of curiosity. He was just as ready to discuss the Greek way of life as he was to expound the intricacies of his own specialized field. Wherever he went on this campus, from office to classroom to committee room to the Club, he was a genial and stimulating colleague. The institution was still young when Professor Noakes joined its staff. He can be justly considered one of the builders of the present University of British Columbia. We shall all of us miss him.


Dr. Vladimir Okulitch was the first Dean of Science at The University of British Columbia. Born in Russia in 1904, he immigrated to Canada in 1927 and enrolled at UBC. He graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in 1931 and received a Master of Applied Science a year later. His doctoral studies were done at McGill in the fields of Geology and Paleontology. Following the completion of his Ph.D., he went to Harvard as a Research Fellow.

Dr. Okulitch was an outstanding scientist, an enthusiastic teacher and talented achninistrator. He was recognized as a world expert on trilobites, a common marine organism of the Paleozoic era. His research in this field led to his election to the Royal Society of Canada. He was also a keen amateur astronomer and an accomplished photographer. Dr. Okulitch's photographic work was frequently exhibited on the campus and throughout North America.

In 1972, the Senate of The University of British Columbia recognized Dean Emeritus Okulitch's contributions to UBC by conferring upon him an honorary degree, Doctor of Science, honoris causa.


Margaret Ormsby was a distinguished British Columbian, Academic, Historian and individual. She was born in Quesnel, B.C. in 1909 and died at her beloved home on the shores of Kalamalka Lake on November 2, 1996. She was a Member-at-Large on the Senate from 1963-1966 and had served on Senate committees prior to her term.

Margaret Ormsby's parents encouraged her to be educated, independent and liberated. She attended UBC from 1926-31 and obtained a B.A., a Teacher's Training Certificate and an M.A. Her Master's theses was entitled: "A Study of the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia." She then attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania on a scholarship as a Ph.D. Candidate in History. She received her doctorate in 1937 following completion of her thesis on "Relationships between the Province of British Columbia and The Dominion of Canada." During her doctoral studies she also worked briefly as an assistant in the UBC Department of History but was unable to get an appointment following her graduation from Bryn Mawr College. She took her first academic appointment as the Chair of History in a private school in San Francisco, The Sarah Dix Hamlin School. Dr. Ormsby returned to the History Department at UBC in 1943 and rose through the ranks to become Professor in 1955 and Head from 1964-1974 when she retired.

At UBC she fostered the development of the Doctoral Program in History; expanded the department size four-fold; and brought the UBC History Department into a national, North American and international context. Her major work, British Columbia: A History was published in 1958 and republished four times in '59, '62, '64 and '71. She championed a non-Toronto and non-Vancouver view of the history of B.C. A quote from her obituary in the Globe and Mail states "For Vancouver and Victoria to abandon their sense of community within the vast historical geography of British Columbia, she said, would be for the Province to lose its soul."

Margaret Ormsby was richly honoured for her work and her academic and social contributions. She was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was elected president of both the B.C. and the Canadian Historical Associations. She was also a member of the Champlain Society, Humanities Research Council of Canada and the American Historical Society. Professor Ormsby also served as Secretary to the UBC Faculty Association in 1956-57. She received Honorary Degrees from all four B.C. universities as well as from the University of Manitoba and the University of Notre Dame in Nelson, B.C. In 1966 she was awarded the Order of Canada.

The UBC Senate awarded her an Honorary D.Litt. in 1974 and approved the Margaret Ormsby Scholarship in 1990. She was an outstanding academic and citizen and she was uniquely recognized as British Columbia's Historian of Record.

ROBERT F. OSBORNE (1913-2003)

Robert (Bob) Osborne was a UBC Athlete, coach and a founding father of the UBC School of Physical Education. He enrolled at UBC in 1930 and excelled as a student athlete in basketball and track and field. He led the 1930/31 Basketball team to UBC's first national championship. In 1936 he played on Canada's Olympic Basketball team. They finished with the silver medal in the Berlin Olympics. He taught high school at Lord Byng Secondary and coached Women's Varsity Basketball during WWII. Following the war, in 1945, Dr. Gordon Shrum appointed Bob Osborne to the position of Director of the School of Physical Education. He was also coach of the basketball and the track and field teams. In 1945/46, UBC played in the US Pacific Northwest Basketball Conference and was the first Canadian Basketball team to win an American Intercollegiate Conference Championship. This team, coached by Osborne, also defeated the Harlem Globetrotters. Osborne also coached the 1947/48 UBC Basketball team to a National Championship and the 1948 Canadian Olympic Team.

As Director of Physical Education, he implemented the Degree Program in Physical Education and developed a Bachelor of Recreational Education Degree, as well. He also played an important role in the construction of the War Memorial Gymnasium. In the early 1960's, he was one of the original founders of CIAU - national league for Canadian university sport.

Bob Osborne served on the Senate of UBC from 1969-78. He retired in 1978 after serving 33 years as the Director of Physical Education. He received the Order of Canada in 1981. Bob Osborne's association with UBC Athletics covered seven decades. He not only established precedents and standards as a UBC and Canadian athlete and builder, but this dignified and ethical gentleman was a special person in UBC's history. UBC's Osborne Gymnasium is named in his honour. Bob Osborne passed away in May of 2003, following his 90th birthday.

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