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Past chancellors

Select a name below to view UVic's previous chancellors' biographies. The nine previous chancellors are listed in reverse chronological order. For the current chancellor, visit the University Secretary's website to view Murray Farmer's biography.

Ronald Lou-Poy

Lou-Poy on his time as Chancellor: “It’s been a terrific experience. I really enjoy seeing the smiles on the students’ faces. It gives you some idea of how hard they’ve had to work for this accomplishment.”

Ron Lou-Poy during a 50th Anniversary reception. Credit: Photo Services.Ronald Lou-Poy, CM, QC, BCom, LLB, Hon LLD, served as UVic’s ninth Chancellor from 2003 to 2008. Born and raised in Victoria, Lou-Poy is a third generation Victorian. Lou-Poy attended Victoria High School, Victoria College and completed his commerce and law degrees at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  At UBC, Lou-Poy met his wife May; together they had two children, Anne Marie and Patrick.

Lou-Poy is a senior partner in the Victoria law firm of Crease Harman & Company, the province’s oldest law firm.


Lou-Poy and UVic

Prior to his position as chancellor, Lou-Poy served two terms on the UVic Board of Governors (1972-74 and 1992-95), and was an original director of the UVic Innovation and Development Corporation.

The Lou-Poy family have long been supporters of UVic. The family supported the construction of the Harry Lou-Poy Infant and Toddler Child Care Centre, named for Ronald Lou-Poy’s father, and they also created the May and Ron Lou-Poy Fund of Excellence in the Faculty of Law.

Upon Lou-Poy’s election to the post of UVic’s chancellor, Lou-Poy stated “I am very honoured, proud, and privileged.”  He was acclaimed to the post again in 2006.  President Turpin noted “Ron has been an inspiration to all of us at the University of Victoria.” By the end of his position Lou-Poy had presided over more than 70 ceremonies and conferred degrees, diplomas and certificates to more than 25,600.  Standout moments during Lou-Poy’s time as chancellor include the conferring of honorary degrees in China’s Great Hall of the People in Beijing and awarding UVic law degrees to Inuit students in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Chancellor Ronald Lou-Poy. Credit: The RingPublic Service
Lou-Poy is a dedicated member of the community and has held positions with the Kiwanis Club, the McPherson Foundation, the United Way, Victoria Crime Stoppers and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

Honours
Lou-Poy has received many honours in recognition of his years of public service. He is a Queen’s Counsel, an Honorary Citizen of Victoria and a freeman of the Municipality of Saanich. He has been awarded with the Community Service Award from the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch), the Leadership Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award and the Golden Mountain Canada-wide Lifetime Public and Community Service Award. He has received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Order of Canada. In 2000, UVic conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Laws on Lou-Poy.  Most recently, Lou-Poy became a 50th Anniversary Honorary Cabinet member.

Norma Mickelson

Mickelson on UVic: “my years here gave me a chance to serve students to serve education. I could not have had a better opportunity.”

Norma Mickelson, CM, OBC, BEd, MA, PhD served as UVic’s eighth chancellor and first female chancellor from 1997 to 2002.  A respected leader in university equity and a world-class researcher in education, Mickelson is an inspiring figure in the university community.

Chancellor Norma Mickelson. Credit: Photo ServicesA Passion for Education
Mickelson was born in Victoria and early on her family emphasized the importance of education.  She soon showed her academic promise, receiving the Normal School’s Denton Memorial Award as the leading graduate. After gaining her BEd at Victoria College in 1963, she taught in the elementary school system for 15 years. She pursued her MA at the University of Victoria and received her PhD in educational psychology from the University of Washington. 

Mickelson brought her expertise in education, passion for equality and dedication to learning to UVic when she joined the Faculty of Education. In 1975, Mickelson was appointed Dean of Education, becoming the first female dean at a major Canadian university.  She was appointed as the first UVic advisor to the president on equity issues.

Research
Mickelson’s research specialized in reading and language acquisition.  During her career, she published more than 140 articles, co-authored several textbooks, wrote a book, lectured internationally and even hosted a telecourse on reading instruction. Her research focused on how to teach children to read in a supportive environment, and she consistently stood against restrictive techniques that labelled and demeaned children.

A Woman of Firsts
In an interview with The Ring Dr. Barbara Whittington, who worked alongside Mickelson for equity, stated “Norma saved peoples’ careers. She righted wrongs. She did it in confidence, quietly. She’s been the first to do many things at UVic, but she made sure she wasn’t the last.”

Mickelson paved the way for many women in leadership roles in academia. She was the first female dean of education, the first woman president of the UVic Faculty Association, the university’s first advisor on equity issues and the first female chancellor at the university. As part of her position as equity advisor, she helped to establish UVic’s equity office and create UVic’s equity policy. As mentor, advisor and advocate, Mickelson has worked continually to improve the status of women in universities.

As testament of Dr. Norma Mickelson’s work in gender equity and her career at UVic, watch Dr. Laurie Rae Baxter’s documentary “Madama Chancellor”– available at the UVic library.

Chancellor Mickelson. Credit: The RingTime as Chancellor
On January 1, 1997 Dr. Mickelson became UVic’s eighth chancellor. Upon taking the post Dr. Mickelson told The Ring, "I have served the University for almost 30 years and have an enormous gratitude for the opportunities it has given me. I felt if I could continue to serve, it would be a privilege to do so." As Chancellor, Mickelson conferred degrees on more than 20,000 UVic graduates.

Public Service
Mickelson also dedicated her personal time to the community, serving on numerous Ministry of Education committees, as a past member of the board of the Greater Victoria Music Festival and the United Way.

Honours
Mickelson has been recognized with many honours. She holds two honorary degrees and is a recipient of the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada. In 1991 she received the inaugural Sarah Shorten Award for her role in establishing equity for women in universities. In 1995 she was awarded UVic’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1998 she received the Victoria Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award. 

In recognition of her importance to UVic, she is a Chancellor Emeritus. Additionally, two awards at UVic bear Mickelson’s name: the Dr. Norma Mickelson Entrance Scholarship and the Dr. Norma Mickelson Legacy Scholarship.

Further reading
  • Norma Mickelson’s memoir Herstory: A Canadian Journey is available at the UVic Bookstore.

Robert G. Rogers

Colonel, The Honourable Robert Gordon Rogers (1919-2010) was the University of Victoria’s seventh Chancellor from 1991 to 1996.

Chancellor Rogers. Credit: The RingRogers was born in Montreal, Quebec and spent his early years in Montreal and Toronto.  He graduated from the Royal Military College in Kingston and the University of Toronto.  During the Second World War, Rogers served with the Royal Canadian Armour Corp. (1st Hussars) in Britain and Europe. He fought on Juno Beach during the D-Day invasion in 1944.

Business Connections
Following his military service, Rogers, a graduate civil engineer, began working in forestry. This career would last nearly 40 years. By 1976, Rogers was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Zellerbach Canada Limited.  He was a committed leader in the forest industry and served on many industry association boards. In 1982, Rogers became Chairman of the Canada Harbour Place Corporation.

Lieutenant-Governor of BC
From 1983 to 1988, Rogers served as BC’s 24th Lieutenant-Governor. Observing Rogers’s dedication to his role as Lieutenant-Governor, former BC Premier Gordon Campbell stated, “Rogers served our province with high distinction and a generous spirit.” In this position Rogers acted as an outstanding ambassador to BC, particularly during the mass attention brought to BC by Expo '86. Rogers pioneered improved access to Government House, and he helped establish the Government House Foundation. One project supported by the Foundation was the Rogers Window – a project initiated by former chatelaine, Mrs Jane Rogers.

The Seventh Chancellor
As UVic Chancellor, Rogers conferred degrees on more than 12,000 UVic grads. During his service, Rogers’s strong ties to business and the local community proved invaluable when UVic launched its first Capital Campaign in 1991 and during the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Reflecting on his time at UVic, Rogers declared, "I'll be gone from the scene, but I'll certainly be behind it in spirit."

The Hon. Robert G. Rogers. Credit: Order of BCPublic Service
Rogers’s commitment to public service was shown through his work supporting youth, education, the forest industry and Pacific Basin trade. He worked with multiple organizations including the Boy Scouts of Canada, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews and the Canadian Geriatrics Research Society. He served as the Vice Chair of the board of governors at Lester Pearson College of the Pacific and was a founding member of convocation of Simon Fraser University.

Honours
Rogers received honorary doctorates from UVic, Simon Fraser University, Royal Roads Military College and the University of British Columbia. In 1990, he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia. Rogers was an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Knight of the Order of St. John.

William C. Gibson

“No time to slow down"

Dr. William C. Gibson outside Cadboro Commons. Credit: Kevin Doyle.This phrase, also the title of his autobiography, is an appropriate motto for Dr. William C. Gibson (1913-2009), who served as chancellor of the University of Victoria from 1985-1990. Gibson was a well-known physician, scientist and medical historian who worked ceaselessly to institute formal medical education on Vancouver Island. Gibson aided the establishment of a partnership between Vancouver Island Health Authority and the University of Victoria and, in 2005, the physician proudly welcomed the first group of Island Medical Program students to the UVic campus.


International Education and Academic Career
Born in Ottawa in 1913, Gibson moved to British Columbia at a young age, and the cities of Victoria and Vancouver remained his primary places of residence throughout his life. Gibson attended Victoria College, and received a bachelor of arts as a member of UBC’s first graduating commerce class in 1933. He later gained a master’s of science (1936) and an MD degree (1941) from McGill, and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford (1938). Gibson maintained close relationships with these academic institutions throughout his distinguished career, working with the Montreal Neurological Institute, the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Foundation in London, and Oxford University’s Green College to solidify his reputation as a top Canadian academic physician. Despite his strong international ties, however, Gibson remained dedicated to British Columbia and strove to better the province’s medical, educational, and civic institutions. During his three decades as a professor of neurological research and medical history at UBC, Gibson helped build the university’s Faculty of Medicine and oversaw the creation of the Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research and the Woodward Biomedical Library, home to a collection of rare medical books. Due to Gibson’s influence, the library was given several significant donations, including a set of Leonardo da Vinci’s biological drawings and a first edition of William Harvey’s 1628 treatise on blood circulation.

Honors and Achievements
Gibson received numerous honors, including the BC Centennial Medal (1967), an honorary doctorate from the University of Victoria (1991), and the Order of Canada (2002). He also served as chair of the Universities Council of British Columbia from 1978-1984 and chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the US Muscular Dystrophy Association. During his academic career, Gibson published prolifically, authoring over 125 scientific papers and 10 books, including biographies, autobiographies, and general interest texts. His last book, Old Endeavour, was published by the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine in 2007, on Gibson’s 93rd birthday.

University of Victoria Legacy
Gibson made numerous contributions to the UVic community. During his two terms of service as chancellor (1985-1990), Gibson conferred approximately 12,000 degrees. He served as chair of the advisory board of UVic Centre on Aging and is considered the “intellectual founder” of the university’s School of Health Information Science.

Chancellor William C. Gibson. Credit: UVic Archives.At his memorial service, Gibson’s son-in-law described him as “a historian who looked forward.” Gibson’s role in the founding of the School of Health Information Science and the Island Medical Program demonstrates that, while his interest lay in medical history, the physician had a clear vision for the future of medicine and medical education at the University of Victoria. Gibson successfully advocated humanitarian medicine, enhanced accessibility to medical history, and promoted international relations amongst medical educators. Gibson will always be fondly remembered for planting a sycamore seedling specially imported from the Aegean island of Cos, sprouted from the tree under which Hippocrates is believed to have taught. Thanks to Gibson, current UVic medical students can sit under the giant sycamore on campus, gaining inspiration and wisdom from the tree and its planter.


 

Ian McTaggart-Cowan

Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan in his Chancellor's robes, 1979. Credit: University of Victoria Photographic Services/UVic Archives.

“If you spend part of your life alone in the wild, you will never be the same again"
- Ian McTaggart-Cowan

Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan led a distinguished career as a wildlife biologist and conservationist; he pioneered wildlife education through his academic work, via his television programs and with his public service. His teaching inspired generations of future biologists and conservationists and he dedicated his life to protecting Canada’s wildlife. McTaggart-Cowan became UVic’s fifth Chancellor, a position he held from 1979 to 1984.

Early Life
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1910, McTaggart-Cowan immigrated to Canada at age three. As a boy his passion for natural history developed; he achieved his Boy Scout proficiency badge with a year-long diary of birds spotted around his home. McTaggart-Cowan married his mentor Kenneth Racey’s daughter, Joan, a marriage that lasted over seventy years, and together they had two children, Ann and Gary.

Academic Career
McTaggart-Cowan completed his undergraduate degree at UBC and his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. His early academic career was enriched through field work with Racey, an eminent naturalist. In 1931, they discovered the Pacific Pallid bat in the southern Okanagan and rediscovered the Vancouver Island marmot. Following his doctorate, McTaggart-Cowan became a biologist at the Provincial Museum, Victoria (now the Royal B.C. Museum). McTaggart-Cowan was lured back to academia by UBC. During an outstanding 35 year career, he served as a professor of zoology, head of the Department of Zoology and Dean of Graduate Studies. McTaggart-Cowan established Canada’s first vertebrate zoology program at UBC that included the biological basis of wildlife conservation; the program was established partly around his own specimen collections, which are housed in the Cowan Vertebrate Museum.
 
McTaggart-Cowan supervised over 100 graduate students including well-known scientists Ian Stirling, Valerius Geist, Buzz Holling, and Charley Krebs. His research was widely published through hundreds of papers, pamphlets and books. He was well-known for having an encyclopedic knowledge; his friend Rod Silver recalled, “He was also one of the last of the ‘Renaissance men’ in the field of biology. He did everything and made a major mark in the fields of research, field biology, education, administration and communication.”

Public Service
McTaggart-Cowan worked actively to improve government wildlife policy; he campaigned for the recruitment of biologists to wildlife management agencies and advocated abolishing the then prevalent cash bounty system for hunting “undesirable” animals. He was a founding member of the National Research Council of Canada, Chair of the Environment Council of Canada and served as the inaugural and then 19-year Chair of the Public Advisory Board of the BC Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. His work as a member and Chair of the Birds of British Columbia authors team is fondly remembered by Neil Dawe, a co-author, who recalled McTaggart-Cowan as "one of those rare individuals who listens, encourages and respects other people's ideas and viewpoints, while not necessarily agreeing with them, and treats everyone with equity and fairness, no matter their position in life." Consult the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund for a full list of his impressive public service.

Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan in 2005 when UVic established the Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan Professorship in Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration. Credit: UVic Communications.Recognition
In 1985, McTaggart-Cowan received an honorary degree from UVic and in 1998, a Commonwealth Village residence was named in his honour. Two awards at UVic bear his name: The Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship and Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship in Environmental Studies. Most recently, in 2005, UVic established the Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan Professorship in Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration which was awarded in 2009 to Dr. Brian Starzomski. On receipt of his new post, Dr. Starzomski declared “Dr. McTaggart-Cowan is the premiere Canadian ecologist of the 20th century. He is a wonderful researcher, teacher, mentor and conservationist and it’s my hope to follow in his footsteps.” McTaggart-Cowan was awarded numerous honorary degrees by Canadian universities and received multiple awards for his work as a biologist. He was an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Order of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

McTaggart-Cowan died in 2010. His legacy continues to thrive at UVic and throughout Canada echoing his own belief that “evolution is never finished and this applies equally to ideas and to organisms.”

Further References
UVic Archives holds a wonderful interview with McTaggart-Cowan by Rick Searle where you can hear McTaggart-Cowan’s biography in his own words

Robert T. D. Wallace

Portrait image of Robert T. Wallace (Chancellor 1973-78). Credit: Campbell Studio/UVic Archives.

From 1973-1978, Robert (Bob) T. D. Wallace served as the chancellor of UVic. Wallace had previously offered much stability to UVic when he was the university’s acting president (1968-1969). Wallace is the only person in UVic’s history to have served as both acting president and chancellor.

Wallace (1907-1999) was born in William Head, BC. After attending Victoria High School, he studied at Victoria College and obtained his BA from UBC and his MA from the University of Washington.

UVic’s Everyman
Wallace’s life was intertwined with UVic’s history. He attended Victoria College in its early location at Craigdarroch Castle, taught at Victoria College’s Lansdowne campus and then accompanied the move to UVic’s new university location at Gordon Head campus. In fact, Wallace could be called the Everyman of UVic, since he was a student, a faculty member, head of the mathematics department and held nearly every administrative position from chancellor, acting president, vice president, dean of arts and science (twice) to dean of administration and he even filled in, at various times, as registrar and bursar.

Vice-president Robert T. Wallace and Mrs. Norah Wallace holding a gift presented to them at a reception held in honor of his retirement from the University of Victoria. Credit: Victoria Daily Times/UVic Archives.For over 47 years, Wallace was involved in secondary education in Victoria. Wallace, as the one-man mathematics department at Victoria College, taught every single student from 1935-1945 due to the college’s mandatory first year math course. A passionate believer in universal education, Wallace introduced the Victoria College evening division in the 1950s, becoming its first Director. This division was the foundation of the current Continuing Studies.

Wallace was popular across Victoria. Former UVic Vice President of Administration, Trevor Matthews, once noted in the National Post that Wallace was so liked that “when you went down the street everyone knew him. If we were going to a meeting we would have to schedule extra time so he could say hello to everybody.” As testament to the esteem in which he was held, Wallace was named the Victoria Man of the Year in 1978. This respect for Wallace came from his empathy and interest in people; as one student of Wallace’s fondly remembers: "if you became a member of one of Bob's classes you became important to Bob."

“The hero of 1954”
Another example of Wallace’s empathy can be found when McCarthyism hysteria found its way to the Victoria library board. Wallace was the only voice on the board to stand against the decision to fire a staff member accused of communist leanings.  That staff member, John Wallace, later called Wallace “the hero of 1954.”

In 1994, Wallace was made a Member of the Order of Canada. Wallace’s recollection of this occasion demonstrates his typical modesty: ‘I still do not know how I could have qualified for this great honour … I was just lucky enough to have been able to stay in my home town, do a job that I loved doing, and make some good friends along the way."

Howard Gerwing and Robert T. Wallace holding a plaque from the 1971 B.C. Rugby Union Inter-City Club Championship. Credit: University of Victoria Photographic Services/UVic Archives.Legacy
After Wallace’s retirement in 1971, UVic granted him an honorary doctor of laws degree. Wallace’s name is also found across campus; for example, in 1978, Wallace Hall, part of the Gordon Head residence complex, was named after him. Wallace was also a keen rugby enthusiast and to honor his dedication to UVic Rugby Club the main rugby field was renamed Wallace Field in March 1992.

Two awards bear Wallace’s name at UVic today. The Robert T. and Norah L. Wallace UVic Scholarship Fund grants five scholarships to outstanding students entering one of the final two years of undergraduate studies. The Robert T. Wallace Shield honours Wallace’s dedication to young people and sport and “recognizes the outstanding student-athlete in his or her first year of competition in intercollegiate sports, but not necessarily the first year at university.”

Roderick L. Haig-Brown

Installation of Dr. Haig-Brown as Chancellor in 1970. Credit: UVic Photographic Services/UVic Archives.Roderick L. Haig-Brown, LLD. was Chancellor of UVic from 1970 to 1972. Haig-Brown was born on February 21, 1908 in Sussex, England but lived in British Columbia for the majority of his life. Growing up in a well-to-do literary family, the young Haig-Brown once went for tea with the Dorset author Thomas Hardy. Haig-Brown moved out to the Pacific Northwest in his youth and worked at various positions in logging, timber cruising, trapping, fishing and beachcombing.

In 1932, Haig-Brown married Ann Elmore, who shared his passion for conservation and activism. The Haig-Browns moved into a 20 acre property in Campbell River where they raised their four children, Valerie, Mary, Alan and Celia. To ensure its protection, Haig-Brown donated the family property to the Government before he died; this property is now known as the Haig-Brown Heritage Site. Haig-Brown served as a Magistrate in Campbell River for over 30 years and as a Judge of the Provincial Court of B.C.

Writing Career
Haig-Brown was renowned for his writing, particularly his works on fly fishing, angling and the natural environment. In total, Haig-Brown published twenty-eight books – five of which were published posthumously. Haig-Brown wrote hundreds of articles and essays and created several series for CBC. Some of Haig-Brown’s most famed works include The Western Angler, A River Never Sleeps, Fisherman's Fall, Measure of the Year, and Saltwater Summer, for which he won the Governor General's Award. The Western Angler (1939) is noted as a seminal work and was often used as biology textbook. Haig-Brown’s very first paid piece of writing “The Morning Rise on the River F,” written in 1925, can now be found online. As testament to Haig-Brown’s influence on writing about the natural environment, the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize is awarded to authors who “contribute most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia.”

Conservationism
Haig-Brown’s close friend, Van Egan, recalls Haig-Brown saying, “You never win a conservation battle – but you've got to fight them.” Haig-Brown was a passionate defender of environmentalism long before it became the popular issue that it is today. Haig-Brown was involved with multiple environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, BC Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, Federation of Flyfishers and the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission.

Haig-Brown petitioned for the defense of rivers and protected wildlife’s natural habitats. From the 1930s to 1950s, Haig-Brown often wrote against clear-cutting practices by forest companies and hydroelectric dam projects; in particular, he is well known for his opposition to the damming of Buttle Lake and the Moran project on the Fraser River. Friends of Haig-Brown continue his work today, including the Haig-Brown Kingfisher Creek Society who restore and protect the Haig-Brown property and the Kingfisher Creek watershed.

In Haig-Brown’s Measure of the Year (1950) he wrote, “I have been, all my life, what is known as a conservationist. It seems clear beyond possibility of argument that any given generation of men can have only a lease, not ownership, of the earth; and one essential term of the lease is that the earth be handed down on to the next generation with unimpaired potentialities. This is the conservationist's concern” (p. 26).

Chancellor Roderick L. Haig-Brown fishing in 1970. Credit: Alumni Quarterly Spring 1970.Legacy
In 1952, Haig-Brown received an honorary LLD from UBC. In 1978, in honour of UVic’s former Chancellor, a residence in the Gordon Head complex was named the R. Haig Brown residence. In 2008, UVic remembered Haig-Brown with the Roderick Haig-Brown Centenary Lecture in Environmental Law, a free public lecture from Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger on “Globalization, International Justice and Our Planet.”

Haig-Brown’s name can be found across BC. The Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park near Kamloops honours Haig-Brown’s efforts to preserve salmon habitats. This beautiful park is famous for the October run of the Adams River sockeye salmon. Mount Haig-Brown, 1948 m, in Strathcona Park, Vancouver Island is named after Roderick and Ann Elmore. The couple’s daughter, Valerie Haig-Brown, climbed the mountain at age 70.

The Haig-Brown Institute preserves Roderick and Ann Elmore Haig-Brown’s legacy by promoting the Haig-Brown Heritage Site, advocating watershed conservation, supporting a writer-in-residence program and engaging in local restoration projects. The institute also helps organize the Haig-Brown Festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on September 25, 2011 and is themed around fishing, literature and conservation.

To learn more about Haig-Brown, watch part one and part two of Fisherman’s Fall (1967), produced by the National Film Board.

Richard B. Wilson

Portrait image of Chancellor Richard B. Wilson, ca.1967. Credit: Simpson Studio/UVic Archives.Richard B. Wilson, B. Com., LLD, was a third-generation Victorian and a prominent local businessman.  As the grandson of the founder of W & J Wilson’s clothing store, Wilson followed his family’s entrepreneurial heritage and became the president of his own company, Wilson Motors Ltd. In 1924, Wilson earned his Commerce degree from McGill University. During World War II, Wilson served as an officer in the army reserve. 

A Community Man
Wilson was actively involved in the local community and held posts such as president of the Victoria Community Chest, vice-president of the Jubilee Hospital Board and he served on the Oak Bay council. From 1962 to 1965, Wilson held the post of Mayor of Victoria. During his time as Mayor, Wilson helped foster a cultural exchange between French and English speaking politicians and Salaberry de Valleyfield, Quebec honored this work when they made Wilson an honorary citizen.

Dean Robert T. Wallace, George R. Pearkes (Lieutenant-Governor of B.C.), Richard B. Wilson (Chancellor), and Joseph B. Clearihue at the Installation of Chancellor Richard B. Wilson at the fourth annual Convocation, May 29, 1967. Credit: McKain, Ian/UVic Archives.Securing UVic's Future
In 1960, Wilson was heavily involved in securing funding for the University of Victoria’s new campus when he headed Victoria College’s capital fund drive. Wilson, together with volunteers from the chamber of commerce, Victoria College students, faculty, staff and community volunteers, collected $2.5 million dollars in funding in just five years. Wilson’s hard work and support was integral to securing the university status of UVic and he continued his involvement with UVic when he served as Chairman of the University Development Board and Chairman of the Board of Governors. From 1967 to 1969, Wilson served as the second chancellor of UVic.

In 1978, in recognition of Wilson’s work at UVic and his efforts to expand facilities for students, one of the four residences in the Gordon Head residence complex was named the Richard Wilson residence.

J.B. Clearihue

Portrait of Joseph Badenoch Clearihue, 1966. Credit: Simpson, George N. Y./UVic Archives.J.B. Clearihue (1887-1976) was the University of Victoria’s first chancellor. Clearihue was born in Victoria and joined the first class at Victoria College in 1903; this first class had a total of seven students. Clearihue then attended McGill University where he excelled. During his time at McGill, Clearihue was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship which funded a two-year study trip to Oxford University.

After returning from Oxford, Clearihue served with the Fifth Canadian Field Artillery during World War I. After the war, Clearihue returned to Victoria and began a successful career that saw him become a lawyer, a Liberal MLA, a Victoria alderman and a county court judge.

A Driving Force
In his position as chair of Victoria College Council (1947 to 1963), Clearihue helped guide the college towards university status. Clearihue was a driving force in gathering support for UVic and securing funding from across the community. Clearihue’s integral role in forming UVic was indicated when he turned the first sod on the new Gordon Head campus in 1962.


Irene and Joseph Clearihue outside the Clearihue building, c.1963. Credit: Ryan Brothers/UVic Archives.Chancellor Clearihue
Clearihue served as the university’s chancellor during a time of great transformation and left a lasting mark on the campus. The first building on campus, the classroom block, was named in his honour as the Clearihue building. Additionally, as testament to Clearihue’s dedication to education, the Clearihue Bursary is awarded annually to a promising student in the Faculty of Education.

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