Statement on the passing of former President, Dr. Howard Petch

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to share the news that Howard E. Petch, former President of the University of Victoria, passed away on November 26, 2018.

Dr. Petch was the university’s fourth President, serving from 1975-1990. During his term he guided the campus through an era of immense change, including the near doubling of the UVic student body, with a corresponding and significant transformation of teaching and research processes and practices.

He will be remembered for bringing stability to campus by cultivating trust and accountability after a prolonged period of upheaval. His championing of co-operative education and the university’s athletic program were transformative for UVic, as was his strong leadership during a period of financial uncertainty. Under Dr. Petch’s leadership the university’s programs of education were expanded to include professional schools in nursing, child care, social work, business and law, as well as a new Faculty of Engineering.  His era as President also saw improvements in community-university engagement locally and globally, brought about by his support and advocacy.

For many of us, Howard was a mentor and a role model. As a mark of our deep respect and in Dr. Petch’s memory, the UVic flag will be lowered on the day of his memorial service. An obituary detailing his contributions and service as President is available in the Ring online.

Dr. Petch left behind an incredible legacy that has had a profound influence on the university UVic has become. The positive impact of his leadership on UVic during its formative years will be remembered for generations to come.

A public service and celebration of Dr. Petch’s life will be held at UVic on Sunday, December 16, 2018 from 3–5 p.m. in the Arbutus and Queenswood Rooms of the Cadboro Commons Building. Condolences may also be offered online.

Jamie Cassels, QC
President and Vice-Chancellor