Beryl March

Beryl March

Professor Emerita, Applied Animal Biology

Beryl March was born in Port Hammond, BC, in 1920 and obtained a BA in 1942 from UBC, then an MSA in 1962.

After working for several years in industrial research with the Canadian Fishing Company Ltd. she joined the Department of Poultry Husbandry in 1947 as a Research Assistant. Later she accepted a faculty appointment and rose through the ranks to become a full Professor in 1970, teaching courses and conducting research in nutrition and physiology. In 1984-85 she served as Acting Dean in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. Her official retirement was in 1986, when she was named Professor Emerita and Honorary Professor. In retirement she maintained an active teaching and research program in the Department of Animal Science.

In her distinguished career Dr March developed an international reputation as a leading research scientist in nutrition and physiology, specializing in thyroid metabolism and nutrition; evaluation of protein quality; metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins and lipids in poultry nutrition; adipose tissue hyperplasia and hypertrophy; and latterly fish nutrition. Much of her early research was carried out in collaboration with Prof Jacob Biely.

During her active research career Dr March published over 200 papers in leading scientific journals and at major international meetings and conferences.

In addition to her academic duties Dr March served on several important committees at UBC, including the Leaves of Absence Committee (Chair 1972-74); Senior Appointments and Tenure Committee (Chair 1978-81); Animal Care Committee; Cecil & Ida Green Visiting Professorship Committee; several Selection Committees for Heads and several Review Committees for departments. She was also President of the Professors Emeriti Division of the UBC Alumni Association (1999, Vice-President 1988-1999 and member of the Executive 1990-1993); Member at Large of the Board of Directors of the UBC Alumni Association 1993-1995; Member of the Sherwood Lett Memorial Scholarship committee; and Chairman of committees for final oral examination of PhD candidates. Her national and international activities included the following memberships: US National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, Animal Nutrition Sub-Committee; Government of Canada Committee to assess Canadian inspection controls regarding food safety; Advisory Committee, Audit of Federal Food Safety Program, Office of the Auditor General Canada; BC Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Milk Industry Task Force; Chairman, Agriculture and Food Processing Sector Planning committee, Science Council of BC; Science Council of BC Technical Review Sub-committee on Agriculture and Food (Chairman, 1987-1989); US National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, Poultry Sub-Committee, (Chairman, 1981-1985); US National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences Animal Nutrition Sub-Committee; BC Animal Science Lead Committee; National Research Council Canada; Associate Editor, Poultry Science; Review Committee, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agassiz Research Station; AIC Awards Committee; and Poultry Sub-committee, Canada Committee on Animal Nutrition (Chairman, 1964-1965).

Her membership of scientific societies included the Canadian Society for Nutritional Sciences (Member of Council, 1973-1976; Chairman, Awards Committee, 1975-1976; President, 1981-1982), BC Institute of Agrologists, Poultry Science Association, World’s Poultry Science Association, American Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine; American Institute of Nutrition; Canadian Society of Animal Science, and the Aquaculture Association of Canada. She also acted as a reviewer for several scientific journals including the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, Animal Feed Science and Technology, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Canadian Journal of Animal Science, Poultry Science, Progressive Fish Culturist and Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

Dr March’s outstanding contributions were recognized in several prestigious awards, namely the American Feed Manufacturers award for Nutrition Research (1969), Fellowship of the Agricultural Institute of Canada (1973), Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada (1976), Fellowship of the Poultry Science Association (1977), Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), Canadian Society for Nutritional Sciences Earle Willard McHenry Award (1986), Life Member of the Canadian Society of Animal Science (1987) and the Canadian 125th Anniversary Medal (1993).

In recognition of her accomplishments, Beryl March was awarded an Honourary DSc degree by UBC in 1988. The citation for her degree reads (in part) as follows: “Mr Chancellor, today we proudly honour one of our own. Beryl March is a native British Columbian, whose energy and natural leadership have resulted in an impressive scientific career in this province. A distinguished, internationally-recognized nutritionist, her research in the Department of Poultry Science has focused primarily on poultry nutrition and physiology and, more recently, on fish nutrition; fields in which she has made very important contributions. For 35 years, by her inspiring example, she has attracted to her laboratory students and colleagues from around the world. The excellence of Professor March’s achievements is reflected in the array of prestigious awards which have been bestowed upon her. Mr. Chancellor, for what she has achieved and for her leadership in the development of agricultural sciences, and in order that you may confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, I present Beryl Elizabeth March.”

In 2008 she received one of the nine LFS Centenary Awards which recognized the outstanding achievements of the UBC Faculty.

Dr. March passed away in June 2019.

R Blair and C R Nichols, 2007