University of British Columbia

From Academic Kids

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a university located on Point Grey near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

A twenty-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, the university is near several beaches and has views of the local mountains. The 7.63 km² Pacific Spirit Regional Park serves as a green-belt between the campus and the city. UBC, along with Pacific Spirit Regional Park and the residential community of University Hill form the University Endowment Lands, which technically do not fall within Vancouver's city limits.

University of British Columbia coat of arms
Missing image
UBC Coat of Arms

MottoTuum est (Previous official translation: "It's up to you"; now: "It's yours")
School typePublic
ChancellorAllan McEachern
PresidentMartha Piper
LocationVancouver, British Columbia
Enrollment33,000 undergrad, 7,000 grad
Campus surroundingsForest, ocean, beach
Campus size1.7 km² maintained

Early history

The information in this section is taken from "The History of the University" by former UBC President N.A.M. (Norman) MacKenzie, originally published in "The President's Report", 1957-58, available online at the UBC Archives (

A provincial university was first called into being by the British Columbia University Act of 1890. The act constituted a twenty-one member senate with Dr. Israel W. Powell of Victoria as Chancellor.

Attempts at establishing a degree-granting university with assistance from the Universities of Toronto and McGill saw varying degrees of success. The McGill University College of British Columbia was set up as a private institution granting McGill University degrees until 1915.

In the meantime appeals were again made to the government to revive the earlier legislation for a provincial institution, leading to the University Endowment Act in 1907, and The University Act in 1908. In 1910 the Point Grey site was chosen, and the government appointed Dr. Frank Fairchild Wesbrook as President in 1913. The outbreak of war in August, 1914 compelled the University to postpone plans for building at Point Grey, and instead the former McGill College site at Fairview became home to the University until 1925. The first day of lectures was September 30, 1915.

World War I dominated campus life, and the student body was "decimated" by enlistments for active service, with three hundred UBC students in Company "D" alone. By the end of the war, 697 members of the University had enlisted. A total of 109 students graduated in the three war-time congregations, all but one in the Faculties of Arts and Science.

In 1922 the now twelve-hundred-strong student body embarked on a "Build the University" campaign. 56,000 signatures were presented at legislature in support, and on September 22, 1925, lectures began on the new Point Grey campus.

Except for the Library and Natural Science buildings, all the campus buildings were temporary constructions. Two playing fields were built by the students themselves, but the University had no dormitories and no social centre. Still, the University continued to grow by leaps and bounds.

Soon, however, the effects of the depression began to be felt. In 1932-33 salaries were cut by up to 23%. Posts remained vacant, and many faculty lost their jobs. Most graduate courses were dropped. Just as things began to improve, World War II broke out.

Canada declared war on September 10, 1939. Soon afterwards, University President Klinck wrote:

From the day of the declaration of war, the University has been prepared to put at the disposal of the Government all possible assistance by way of laboratories, equipment and trained personnel, in so far as such action is consistent with the maintenance of reasonably efficient instructional standards. To do less would be unthinkable.

Military training on the campus became popular, and WWII marked the first provision of money from the federal government to the University. By the end of the war, it became clear that the facilities at Point Grey had become totally inadequate. The University needed new staff, new courses, new faculties, and new buildings for teaching and accommodation. The student population rose from 2,974 in 1944-45 to 9,374 in 1947-48.

Surplus Army and Air Force camps were used for both classrooms and accommodation. Fifteen complete camps were taken over by the University in the course of the 1945-46 session alone, with a sixteenth camp, situated on Little Mountain in Vancouver, converted into suites for married students.

Student numbers hit 9,374 in 1948; more than 53% of the students were war veterans in 1967-47. Between 1947 and 1951 twenty new permanent buildings were erected.

The University today

One of UBC's oldest buildings: Chemistry
One of UBC's oldest buildings: Chemistry

UBC's current president is Dr. Martha Piper. She is both the University's first female president and the first non-Canadian born president. She recently announced her intention to retire from her post in 2006.

The Vice-President (VP) Students is Brian Sullivan; VP External and Legal is Dennis Pavlich, Acting VP Research is David Dolphin, and VP Finance and Administration is Terry Sumner.

UBC's 2001 operating income was $366 million CAD.

In 2003, UBC had 3,167 full-time faculty, and 4,612 non-faculty full-time employees. It had over forty thousand students (33,566 undergraduate students and 7,379 graduate students), and more than 180,000 alumni in 120 countries. Enrollment continues to grow. The founding of the new Okanagan campus will increase these numbers dramatically.

Buildings on campus currently occupy 1,091,997 gross m2, located on 1.7 km² of maintained land.

The university's street plan is mostly in a grid of malls (for driving and pedestrian-only). Lower Mall and West Mall are in the southwestern part of the peninsula, with Main, East, and Wesbrook Malls northeast of them.

Tuition issues

In 2001-02, UBC had one of the lowest undergraduate tuition rates in Canada, at an average of $2,181 CAD per year for a full-time program. This was due to a tuition freeze instituted by the New Democratic Party (NDP) government.

In 2001, however, the Liberal government came into power and lifted the tuition freeze. In 2002-03 undergraduate and graduate tuition rose by an average of 30%, and by up to 40% in some faculties. This has led to increased enrollment and better facilities, but also to student unrest and union strikes.

UBC again increased tuition by 30% in the 2003-04 season, again by approximately 15% in the 2004-05 season, and 2% in the 2005-06 season. Increases were lower than expected because, in the 2005 Throne Speech, the Liberal government capped tuition increases to be at par with inflation (

The University library

UBC Library is the second largest research library in Canada. There are twenty-one branches and divisions at UBC and at other locations, including three branches at teaching hospitals (St.Paul's, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, and Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC) and one at UBC's Robson Square campus in downtown Vancouver. Plans are also underway to establish a library at the Great Northern Way Campus on the Finning Lands.

The Library's collections are large and diverse, and include four million books and journals, 4.9 million microforms, more than 1.5 million maps, videos and other multimedia materials and over 33,500 subscriptions. UBC Library has the largest biomedical collection in Western Canada and the largest collection of Asian Language materials in the country. It is a depository library as well for publications of the governments of BC, Canada, Japan and the United Nations.

Collections of special and rare materials include the H. Colin Slim Stravinsky Collection, the largest collection of its kind in Canada; and the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, containing more than 25,000 rare and one-of-a-kind items relating to the discovery of BC, the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Chinese immigration to Canada.

Library branches

  • Asian Library: The Asian Library houses the largest research collection in Asian languages in Canada, its holdings in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South Asian and Indonesian exceeding 500,000 volumes. Special materials include the valuable Puban collection (蒲坂藏書樓藏書), Swann collection, Song Xuepeng collection (宋學鵬藏書), Jing Yi Zhai (景頤齋藏書), Japanese government publications, research materials on Chinese Canadian settlement in British Columbia and Pearl Delta Area as well as Japanese Canadian studies collections. Its rare book collection, mainly from the Puban collection, ranks 5th in North America. The Chinese collection ranked 11th in North America in number of volumes at the time of publication of Endymion Wilkinson's _Chinese History: A Manual_ in 2000.
  • Main Library: After a recent renovation of the third-floor atrium in 2001, the Chapman Reading Commons [1] ( and the Chung Collection of immigration documents [2] ( were created. In autumn of 2003, one-third of it (formerly Ridington Computing Room, Fine Arts Library, and the Design Art Gallery at the basement) was demolished in preparation for new glass-walled study areas, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre [3] (, to be completed in 2005.
  • Walter Koerner Library: built in 1997, adding to the Sedgewick Library. Koerner Library is almost entirely dedicated to the humanities and is home to 800,000 volumes. Its postmodern architecture (most walls are see-through glass) contrasts the Gothic revival design of Main Library, which is located across from it through a plaza that contains a fountain and the 33.8-metre Leon Ladner Bell Tower (ringing every half an hour, sometimes with classical music). The Main Library contains the contents of the former Sedgewick library in its lower levels.

Current faculties and schools

Sites of interest


  • UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research [27] ( the first UBC department, it holds a collection of over 8000 different kinds of plants used for research, conservation and education
  • Nitobe Memorial Garden [28] ( built to honour Japanese scholar Inazo Nitobe, the garden has been the subject of a 15+ year study by a UBC professor, who believes that its construction hides a number of impressive features, including references to Japanese philosophy and mythology, shadow bridges visible only at certain times of year, and positioning of a lanterns that is filled with light at the exact date and time of Nitobe's death each year. The garden is behind the university's Asian Center, whose roof features a glass and wood structure from Japan's exhibit at Tokyo Expo.

Museums and galleries

Performance arts theatres

  • Chan Centre for the Performing Arts: a concert hall and events centre.
  • Frederic Wood Theatre ("Freddy Wood Theatre"): plays performed here, mostly performed by UBC's own BFA drama students.

Student Clubs

  • UBC has a vibrant campus community with over 200 student run clubs, ranging from Ski and Board Club, to Chinese Chess Club, to Wine Tasting Club [31] ( The club directory lists all of the clubs [32] (

Student services and residences

  • Student Union Building (SUB) [33] ( offices of many clubs, half a dozen restaurants, and the inexpensive 425-seat Norman Bouchard Memorial Theatre ("The Norm Theatre"). The SUB Gallery contains mostly students' work. Beside the SUB, there is a small mound, about 2-metre, which is the content of the open pool dug near the Aquatic Centre. The grassy knoll is slated to be destroyed due to the planned construction of an underground bus loop; the destruction is an unpopular move among students.
  • Totem Park: A residence primarily for first and second year undergraduate students (houses 1163).
  • Place Vanier: A residence primarily for first and second year undergraduate students (houses 1370).
  • Gage Towers: A residence primarily for second and third year undergraduate students.
  • Fairview: A residence primarily for second, and third year undergraduate students.
  • Thunderbird: A residence primarily for graduate students and fourth year undergraduate students.
  • Ritsumeikan-UBC House: A residence with a Japanese cultural setting, named for Ritsumeikan University.
  • Marine Drive Residence: A new residence with target opening date of Fall 2005.
  • Green College: A residential college for graduate students.
  • St. John's College [34] ( A residential graduate college with an international focus.

Sports arenas and recreation

  • Aquatic Centre [35] ( except for designated times, there is a charge for students and non-students alike.
  • Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre: when unused during final exam periods (December and May), hundreds of chairs and tables are placed inside for students to take tests.
  • In between Main and Koerner Libraries is an artificial 6-metre deep valley, whose massive amount of dirt was transported to a bog in the Pacific Spirit Park decades ago, now being criticized as an anti-environmental act. The valley was intended as a student gathering place for eating lunches, meeting and relaxing. But it is mostly unused due to its lack of visibility and dangerously slippery muddy grass.
  • SUB contains an arcade, which some students, mostly males, admit to being very addicted to. There is also a rock-climbing wall in SUB, hidden behind the movie theatre screen, which is operated by the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club.[36] (
  • The UBC Debating Society is the only debating team in Canada that is a part of a university's varsity athletics program.[37] (

Student media

  • The Ubyssey [38] (, a twice-weekly student newspaper. Established in 1916.
  • The Graduate [39] (, a monthly magazine of news, opinion, and humour, by graduate students.
  • Discorder ("That magazine from CiTR") [40] (, a music and entertainment magazine produced by the campus radio station.
  • CITR "Thunderbird Radio" [41] (, the campus radio station.
  • The Point, a weekly student paper of athletics, clubs, and whats happening at UBC.
  • The 432, a humorous, biweekly publication of the Science Undergraduate Society.
  • The Paradigm, an academic publication of the Science Undergraduate Society.


UBC is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the UBC Thunderbirds.


The most famous alumni from UBC include:

Famous instructors

List of Presidents

  1. Frank Wesbrook (1913-1918)
  2. Leonard Klinck (1919-1944)
  3. Norman MacKenzie (1944-1962))
  4. John B. Macdonald (1962-1967)
  5. Fredrick Kenneth Hare (1968-1969))
  6. Walter Harry Gage (1969-1975)
  7. Douglas Kenny (1975-1983)
  8. George Pedersen (1983-1985)
  9. Robert Smith (1985)
  10. David W. Strangway (1985-1997)
  11. Martha C. Piper (1997-present)

See also

External link

Template:BC Uni Template:Universitas 21fa:دانشگاه بریتیش کلمبیا


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools