Friendly hound audits math class

The unbecoming tradition of frosh hazing by engineering students at UBC ended abruptly in the fall of 1956. On that occasion, I witnessed more than 100 angry freshmen confront their tormentors. The engineers, garbed in their traditional red cardigans, were massed in front of their building. One suntanned, shirtless and muscular freshman, undaunted by taunts and threats, stepped forward to challenge their large and vociferous leader. Flattening him with a single blow to the jaw, he led the freshmen surge as they scattered the engineers. A few stormed into the engineering building, where they trashed several faculty offices using fire hoses. While the acts of vandalism were deplorable and inexcusable, the rebellion of this new student generation resulted in ridding our campus of freshman hazing. Permanently.

Members of the physics department enjoyed welcoming freshmen by insisting that they pose for a “group photo” on the front steps of the physics building. Then senior students would lean out of the second-story windows and douse the hapless frosh with buckets of water. Pictures of these events appeared in the Ubyssey.

Between classes, I sometimes visited the home of my uncle and aunt, Darrell and Barbara Braidwood, who lived just off campus beyond the law school. One one occasion, their friendly basset hound decided to accompany me to the campus. Excited at the possibility of creating a humorous incident, I managed to lead him to my math classroom. Much to the amusement of my classmates, he lay down on the aisle step next to my seat and silently audited Dean Walter Gage’s lecture. After noting the dog’s entrance with a smile, Dean Gage then continued the class discussion without comment. Despite his busy schedule playing many important roles at UBC, he never lost his patience, charm or sense of humor.

Jim McGibbon
BASc 1960