Being on one’s best behaviour

While serving on the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) in the 70’s (Civil Engineering ’78….yes the only female amongst 54 crazy guys!), I met Dean Gage twice. I think it was 76/77 but I don’t recall what position “Dean” Gage actually held with the University. On both occasions, one in the early Fall and one in the late Spring, he hosted very posh dinners at the Faculty Club for the outgoing and the incoming EUS Executives.

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As the only female in the group, I was always seated next to Dean Gage and I felt, even though he never made an issue of it, that this was his way of signaling his support for more women studying engineering. The dinners were lavish, lots of glassware, cutlery and even palate cleansers such as sorbet being served at some point. One had to be attentive to being on ones’ best behavior; a really nice change from the boorishness we engineering students favoured then! They were truly fine affairs and I think they directed us students to a more formal stage with its associated social responsibility.

Dr Liam Finn, our Engineering Dean at the time also attended these dinners; I recall a major topic of conversation was the limitations of the Lions Gate bridge and the congestion-easing alternative that was to be provided by the addition of the SeaBus. Having lived I West Vancouver for 35 years, my guess is that the conversation must have left me with a more positive expectation than has actually taken place.

I look forward to hearing more about THE Dean who was such an inspiration to so many young students at UBC, my great Alma Mater.

Barb Dabrowski
BASc 1978
MASc 1981