“Krell, I see you”

It was 1961.The large lecture hall was filled to the brim with perhaps 200 students. Walter Gage stood at the front checking us out. My main objective in Math was to pass and largely remain unnoticed. Professor Gage sometimes asked questions. So I sat in the middle and crouched low. Then we had our first exam. He handed out the marked papers. I hid. “Krell, I see you”, he said. I could not believe he knew my name, all our names.

My best friend, Con Michas, came to UBC the next year. Sometime around his second year, he ran out of money while waiting on a paycheque. We were always near-broke. I do not know how we arrived at the decision to visit Dean Gage. But we did. Con shared his dilemma. Without hesitation, Walter Gage reached into a drawer and handed him three hundred dollars. He knew the loan would be repaid.

Both Con and I graduated as physicians in 1965 and 1966.

When I returned to UBC in 1969 and joined the department of Psychiatry in 1970 as an assistant professor, I would go to the Faculty Club at 7:00 AM to prepare for my day as the director of the Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic at the Health Sciences Hospital. President Gage was already there and we would talk for a few minutes before I settled in to work at a nearby table. We were often the only two people there.

I cherished those moments with him. What an extraordinary and decent man. I am glad that he will be remembered in this way.

Robert Krell
MD 1966