The Faculty of Agriculture in 1967
A Look Back Over 50 Years - by Dean Blythe Eagles
As we celebrate Canada's Centennial, several of our agricultural associations in British Columbia are observing their Golden Anniversaries. In honouring these events we are paying homage to those who made them possible the pioneers who laid the foundations for our achievements of the past half century.
The Faculty of Agriculture of The University of British Columbia is celebrating this fall the 50th anniversary of the admission of its first students. In June of this year along with its sister Faculty of Forestry it will move into a new building complex. This structure will house under one roof the classrooms, offices, laboratories and seminar, study and common rooms and other facilities required by both Faculties. It will mark a milestone in Canadian education for the faculties devoted to the renewable resources of Agriculture and Forestry, whereby they will be enabled and encouraged to work together in common pursuits, and at the same time maintain their individuality and integrity.
For fifty years the Faculty of Agriculture has carried forward and been responsible for the University program in agricultural education for the young men and women of the province, of Canada, and more recently, for those coming to us from developing countries. Educational opportunities in Agriculture have been increased through the years until now the Doctorate degree is offered in several disciplines of agricultural science. As the Faculty looks forward and faces the challenge of the future, it is well that we take time to review briefly and contemplate its past achievements.
It was first established in 1914 when President Wesbrook invited Dr L S Klinck, Professor of Cereal Husbandry at Macdonald College, to become its first Dean. As he undertook the task of bringing together a Faculty and of formulating its curriculum, Dr Klinck travelled widely throughout the province learning at first hand something of the diversified nature of its agriculture, something of its problems, and of its needs from an educational point of view. Dean Klinck admitted the first two classes in Agriculture. When he became President of the University after the untimely passing of President Wesbrook, he was succeeded by Dean F M Clement who served as Dean for thirty years.
It has been my privilege as his successor to have to undertaken this task for a period of 18 years
Table 1. Degrees awarded in the Faculty 1917-67
The Master's degree of this University has been awarded to 307 students who have carried out their theses under the direction of members of the Faculty of Agriculture. Seven students have similarly obtained their doctorates. The proportion of women receiving their Master's degree (10.1%) and the doctorate (28.5%) is noteworthy. The relatively uniform distribution of those obtaining advanced degrees in the various disciplines available within the Faculty is indicative of the diversified and specialized nature of our Agriculture. It should be noted that 73 of those receiving graduate degrees in Agriculture from The University of British Columbia obtained their undergraduate education at other institutions. Other institutions have awarded 241 graduate degrees to students who took their undergraduate work in Agriculture at UBC.
It is of particular interest to note that since its formation in 1946 as a department serving a dual purpose in the two faculties of Agriculture and Applied Science the members of the Departments of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanics in addition to their responsibility, with respect to students graduating or pursuing graduate studies in Agricultural Mechanics have awarded the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science to 38 students in the field of Agricultural Engineering.
In addition to carrying on its work at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which has been its major responsibility, with a total of 1877 students receiving their degrees from the University, the faculty since 1926 has offered the Diploma Course in Agriculture and during the 40 year period 370 students, including 35 women (9.5%), have availed themselves of the opportunities it has afforded. Many leaders in agriculture throughout the province are counted among its graduates.
In the design of the academic program developed by the Faculty the student has always been placed first in its thinking. Its foremost objective has been the encouragement of intellectual curiosity in students and the inculcation in them of an assumption of responsibility for their own further intellectual development. The great diversity of their individualities, interests and motivations has been recognized. The Faculty has always acknowledged three important aspects of University work the advancement of knowledge, with emphasis on original investigations; the training of men and women professionally; and the enrichment of their lives. Elaboration of any of these matters is beyond the scope of this article, of which the simple purpose is to convey some idea of the accomplishments of the Faculty of Agriculture in giving to its graduates the understanding which has enabled them to achieve the well merited recognition they have received as they have made their contributions in a great diversity of endeavors, for the most part closely related to agriculture itself.
What are the graduates doing?
The most diversified group and the second largest, 295 graduates (18.4%) are engaged in other activities, some strictly personal and all difficult to classify. Many of them occupy outstanding posts in various aspects of the communications media, in the diplomatic service and in industry unrelated or only indirectly related to agriculture, but nonetheless not without significance to the advancement of agriculture. No trace can be found of 71 graduates (4.4%).
Where have the graduates established themselves?
Table 2. Where did the graduates go?
What of the future?
Edited version of article by Dean Blythe Eagles in Country Life in British Columbia, March 30, 1967.
R Blair 2002