As much of the world turns its attention to the interlocking political alliances and storm clouds slowly gathering over Europe, in British Columbia there is a growing urgency to define a vision for higher education and create a proud and proper provincial university.
In 1908, The University Act is passed and The University of British Columbia is incorporated. In 1913, Frank F. Wesbrook is appointed the university’s first president and work begins on the first academic building (Science) on the huge and distant Point Grey site.
Perched on the edge of the Pacific, amid forests and fields of Vancouver’s west side and on the unceded ancestral territory of the Musqueam people, plans for the campus are ambitious but until the walls are up, UBC must make do with the inadequate Fairview facility in Vancouver. Previously occupied by McGill University College, it consists of four cramped buildings near the Vancouver General Hospital.
Undeterred and eager, Dr. Henry Esson Young, then Minister of Education, and Dr. Wesbrook chose the young university’s motto: Tuum Est or in Latin ‘It is Yours’. Wesbrook emphatically links the motto to his vision that the new university be open and inclusive to all people:
“The people’s University must meet all the needs of all the people. We must therefore proceed with care to the erection of those Workshops where we may design and fashion the tools needed in the building of a nation and from which we can survey and lay out paths of enlightenment, tunnel the mountains of ignorance and bridge the chasms of incompetence.”
Explore the era
UBC is proud to mark its 100th anniversary as a global leader in education, research innovation and community engagement.
Learn more about the UBC Centennial.