“You should have come to see me.”

The first time I ever heard of Dean Gage was the minute I arrived on campus in 1964 to start my post secondary education. We all worried about Math 101 and word spread the class to attend was Dean Gage’s. There was no math teacher alive that could make Calculus as clear as him. Everyone scrambled to enroll in his class only to discover it was full some time ago. Alas, we all did fine, got through but often tried to squeeze into Dean Gages sessions only to find out there were no seats left and standing room was not allowed!

In first year I did well but failed English 100. My dreams of entering first year Engineering were shattered and “Dean” Kastner insisted I go into second year Science because Engineers really need English 100!

In third year Engineering I was fortunate to participate in EUS council as Slipstick Editor.  These were wonderful times and one of the rewards was the annual evening Dean Gage hosted for the EUS Executive and Ex-Officio Members. It was a gala private event held at the Faculty Club. I came from a struggling working class home so an evening at the Faculty Club seemed very elegant to me. Dean Gage greeted us with cocktails and spent time wandering around the reception area getting to know us better and intently listened to all our backgrounds eager to learn more about us. He was a very gracious host and asked why I went into second year Science instead of Engineering so I told him about my struggles with English 100. He smiled, winked at me and said “You should have come to see me”…..if I had only known! It was not long after I graduated I learned English 100 was dropped as a prerequisite to getting into Engineering. I often wonder if Dean Gage had anything to do with that turn of events!

The dinner was amazing. As I recall, it was at least four courses of French Onion soup, Ceasar Salad, Prime Rib and an amazing Cheese Cake. To this day all are my favourites since I never had any of these dishes before.  After dinner we all gathered in another lounge area to be feted with wine and cigars! Dean Gage was an incredible host and I left with the impression he was trying to convey to us some of the finer benefits of life to which I was not accustomed!

In closing he gave us some kind words of wisdom and encouraged us to continue to work hard and contribute in as positive a way to society as we could. A true gentlemen and amazing philosopher was Dean Gage. He closed out the evening by giving us a signed copy of his favourite read entitled The Unbelievable Land about 29 Experts who brought me closer to our Canadian Arctic. Dean Gage was a passionate Canadian.

The next year I returned to UBC campus for my final fourth year in Engineering. This was to be my best year at UBC. For once, our curriculum was pretty much set in stone apart from a couple of electives and our biggest relief was Math 450 with Dean Gage. We all heard what a great Math teacher Dean Gage was but to attend his classes was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. His lessons and notes made this course the easiest pass of my life at UBC.

I was again fortunate to participate in the EUS Executive of 1970. Many events allowed me to cross paths with Dean Gage outside the classroom. He was always gracious and helpful in supporting our needs. His support of students in financial need struggling to get through to an earn a degree or to further their education are legendary. He was a role model to every walk of life on campus to the end. We are all very blessed for our memories of him.

Bill Chyplyk
BASc 1970