Senate Tributes - "R"


Born in Victoria in 1912, he was a graduate of UBC and of McGill University where he received his MD in 1936. Following an internship, he studied Surgery at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh from 1938-39. He served with the 2nd Canadian Surgical Unit in the Sicilian Campaign and completed his war service as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Shortly after returning to Montreal in 1945, he resettled in Vancouver as Chief Surgeon at Shaughnessy Hospital. When the new Faculty of Medicine at UBC was founded in 1950, Dr. Robertson was appointed as the first Professor of Surgery at the Vancouver General Hospital Campus. He was an outstanding leader and surgeon and developed a strong teaching and clinical training environment at UBC. He served on the UBC Senate from 1954-57 as a representative of the Faculty of Medicine and again in 1958-59 as the Acting Dean of Medicine.

In 1959, Dr. Robertson was asked to be Surgeon-in-Chief of the Montreal General Hospital. He was subsequently appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill in 1962 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1970. He received numerous Honorary Degrees including a Doctor of Science, honoris causa from UBC in 1964. He was also a Companion of the Order of Canada, and a Regent of the American College of Surgeons.

He was a distinguished UBC alumnus, a founder of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and an outstanding Canadian.


With the death of Phyllis Gregory Ross, The University of British Columbia has lost one of its most talented, loyal and widely acclaimed alumni.

Born in Rossland, B.C., the daughter of a miner who moved to this province, Phyllis Ross earned her baccalaureate degree at The University of British Columbia with first class honours in Economics and Political Science. She continued her studies at the graduate level at Bryn Mawr, the London School of Economics, and the University of Marburg.

Widowed in her late twenties, and with two young children to support and educate, Mrs. Ross moved to Ottawa where, for eleven years, she held major positions of responsibility with the Canadian Tariff Board, the Dominion Trade and Industry Commission, and the Wartime Prices and Trade Board.

Phyllis Ross was widely applauded as an outstanding administrator and a major force in the direction of Canada's wartime economy. Her services were recognized by her appointment to Commander of the Order of the British Empire and by her inclusion among the group of University of British Columbia graduates who received the degree of LL.D. in 1945 for their contribution to the nation during the war.

Phyllis Ross served as a member of Senate between 1951-1954 and from 1960-1966. She was appointed to the Board of Governors in 1957 and, in 1961, became the first woman in the Commonwealth to be elected to the position of Chancellor. Phyllis Ross devoted the same high degree of energy, grace, and commitment to her university responsibilities which had characterized her entire life.

In 1945 she married Frank MacKenzie Ross, who was later to serve as Lieutenant Governor of the province from 1955 to 1960. As Chatelaine of Government House her devotion to duty made her a familiar figure to many thousands of British Columbians.

Mrs. Ross' list of awards and honours is extraordinary. They reflect her active interest in many cultural, philanthropic and medical associations, and include her appointment as Dame of St. John of Jerusalem and as Dame of the Sovereign and Military order of Malta.

Phyllis Gregory Ross was a truly remarkable woman and an outstanding Canadian. She loved this University and never tired in her efforts to further its cause. Her life was one of dedication to duty, and unselfish devotion to the service of her family, her province, and her country.

To her surviving relatives the Senate of The University of British Columbia extends its deepest sympathy.

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