His memory is carried in the hearts of many people

When I came to UBC as a Freshman in 1964, I soon became aware of the legendary Dean of Students, Walter Gage. Everyone wanted to get into his first year Math class. According to one student I knew, he “made math beautiful”. Students would kill to get into his class to be assured that they would pass because of the skill of his teaching.

The late 1960’s were a time of transition for UBC. My involvement in AMS activities meant that I met many of the people who had founded the university – the Great Trekkers, legendary former President Dr. Norman (Larry) Mackenzie and others for whom the university had been a community where everybody knew everybody.  My connection to the Engineers through dating the EUS President, made me aware of Walter Gage’s longstanding closeness to that faculty where the students revered him as a patron.

Walter Gage was a transitional figure who segued from being a math professor and dean to a President who would see the university through difficult times and growing pains. Walter Gage spent most of his working life at UBC and was the last of a generation that took it from a provincial offshoot of McGill to a dynamic center of learning and research, whose size no longer allowed “everyone to know everyone”.

I can still see his distinctive figure walking along East Mall on his way between the buildings where he performed his multiple functions. I think he always taught – even as President. His memory is carried in the hearts of many people who were either helped by his quiet generosity as Dean of Students, or saved from ignominy by his brilliance as a math professor who could inspire and lead them to success.

Kim Campbell
BA (Political Science) 1969