History of the University of British Columbia

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University of British ColumbiaIn 1877 an act for the University of British Columbia passed by the provincial assembly. However, the political tension between Vancouver Island and the mainland made a disputation about where the university should be existed.

In1899 Vancouver High School established Vancouver College. Vancouver College was administered by McGill and changed its name as McGill University College of British Columbia. McGill University College offered only two-year programs in arts and sciences. Students were advice to go anywhere to complete their degrees.

In 1907 University provided for the funding of a provincial university through the sale of up to 2 million acres of Crown land in central and northern British Columbia.

In 1908 Provincial assembly passed a new University Act establishing the University of British Columbia. It provided for a Chancellor, Convocation, a President and   Board of Governors to control the University’s administrative, property, and business affairs, and a Senate to run academic matters. After a province-wide survey, Point Grey, near Vancouver, was selected as the site of the UBC campus.

In 1914 Construction of first permanent buildings at Point Grey started. Due to the First World War work stopped. The next year, with only land-clearance and the frame of the Science Building completed.

Librarian J.T. Gerould from the University of Minnesota advised to purchase books in Europe. He arrested as a spy in Leipzig, Germany. When war came to an end, the criminal evidence was a copy of the UBC site plan in his baggage.

In 1915 University of British Columbia opened in temporary headquarters at the former McGill University College facilities adjacent to Vancouver General Hospital.

There were three faculties:

1- Arts

2- Applied Science

3- Agriculture

In the same year students formed their union named Alma Mater Society.

The admission of the students increased when they return from war-time duty. The University became over-crowded and the   classes were held in tents, churches, and Sunday schools; however, construction at Point Grey is not restarted. The University offered first degree program in nursing in the British Empire.

In 1923 Government gave contracts for completion of Point Grey buildings, the Science building, the Library, a power plant, and nine “semi-permanent” buildings.

In 1929 the first gymnasium, built with funds collected by students. In 1932 it was decided that there will be reduction in University operating grants by provincial government. Students started a campaign against the suggestion that the University be closed; however, the budget was reduced.

In 1937 Students collected funds for building of UBC Stadium. In 1939 Canadian Officer Training Corps unit doubled as Second World War started. A total of 1680 students   enlisted in the armed services.

In 1940 students collected funds for construction of Brock Hall, the first student union building.

In 1944 Dr. Norman A.M. MacKenzie appointed as 3rd President of UBC.

In 1945 University started a period of post-war academic expansion by inaugurating the Faculty of Law, and established new programmers in social work, pharmacy, home economics, and physical education. To accommodate the new programmers and expanding enrolment, 15 olden army and air force camps were bulldozed and shipped to Point Grey, where the huts used as classrooms, laboratories, and residences for students and faculty.

In 1947 admissions increased to 9374, with war veterans making up some 50 percent. Postwar construction would add more than 20 new buildings up to 1951, including facilities for physics, engineering, and biological sciences.

In 1948 Faculty of Graduate Studies established to administer masters and Ph.D. programmers. In the same year first Museum of Anthropology opened in the basement of the Library. In 1950 Schools of Commerce and Education established.

In 1951 Student initiative leaded to construction of War Memorial Gymnasium, as a memorial to British Columbia’s war dead.

In 1954 British Empire Games swimming and diving events held at newly-constructed pool adjacent to War Memorial Gymnasium.

In 1958 University celebrated its “Golden Jubilee” and launched the “UBC Development Fund”, this was the first public appeal for capital funds by any Canadian university.

In 1962 Dr. John B. Macdonald becomes 4th   President of UBC.

UBC celebrated the 75th anniversary of its opening with a many of special events, including the largest Open House in its history.

In 1993 U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin made a meeting at UBC during the “Vancouver Summit”.

In 2006 Dr. Stephen J. Toope is appointed as   12th President of UBC.

In 2009 the UBC Plan launched in Nov, in a   public relations campaign utilizing print, broadcast, and digital media.

In 2010 UBC-Vancouver is one of the host sites for the 2010 Olympic and Winter Games. Events are held at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, and UBC Robson Square is leased as the site of the International Media.

A Biodiversity Museum is officially opened, bringing together various zoological and botanical collections of UBC in one facility, providing a new home for the University’s biodiversity researchers, and featuring Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton exhibit.

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