Editor’s Note: Breaking the Ice

Regular readers are probably wondering where Chris Petty is. He’s been filling this editorial space with his musings about life and UBC for the past 22 years. Chris retired from our office in May, and at his leaving-do the staff gave him a nice little golf package. My guess is he’s been living it up on swanky BC courses trying not to make too many divots.

I could talk about the large divot he has left here, but the seasoned editor in Chris can’t stand poor analogies (and the golfer in him can’t stand ones that are arguably insulting). He took over at The Chronicle in 1989, and in 2001 expanded it into Trek, setting an emulated new standard for alumni magazines and winning several awards from his peers. We miss Chris, especially for his humour and his editorials. But I know he will continue to be a generous mentor to the Trek team (or at least send grumpy emails to the current editor). I’m even more grateful to him for the handy segue he provides into this issue’s contents, which include an article on retiring boomers on page 12.

Trek also delves into the alarming decline of honey bee populations on the UBC Farm and beyond; the life of early UBC janitor and scholar William “The Old Bill” Tansley; an ancient-yet-novel approach to justice; Camille Sullivan’s love of the actor’s life; and a UBC prof’s experience of the Arctic aboard the icebreaker and research vessel CCGS Amundsen (the beautiful and otherworldly picture of this vessel featured on the cover was generously provided by Canadian photographer Doug Barber). It is only fitting that UBC President Stephen Toope announce UBC’s biggest news – to learn more turn to page seven.

In September we launched Trek Online, which we plan to distribute four times a year. The first issue included a slideshow of photographs taken by George Van Wilby during his time as a UBC student (1917-22). The collection provides a fascinating and candid glimpse into the social life of students almost a century ago, but many of the subjects remain unidentified.

It was a long shot, but we hoped that matches might be made with old family photos on mantelpieces, or that alumni might recognize in those youthful faces an elderly relative from childhood. Archivist Erwin Wodarczak was delighted to hear from William H. Turpin, BEd’69, who was able to identify his great aunt and uncle (see below). Doug Sturrock was able to tell him about some of the sporting events depicted. And an alumna tweeted that the slideshow was much like the Vancouver riot photo lineup, but with more pleasant content. We’re putting that one in the Positive Feedback folder. You can watch the slideshow from the September issue at trekmagazine.alumni.ubc.ca/archive.

Ironically enough, our recent website poll showed a significant majority of respondents prefer magazines in print format, and we will continue to mail you issues in spring and fall. Hopefully, Chris Petty will put his clubs down long enough to read them and send me his valued feedback. He might even get his letter published in the next issue.

Vanessa Clarke, Editor

Helen Mary Turpin and John (Jack) Allen Grant

Alumnus Bill Turpin was able to identify the students in this photograph from UBC’s Van Wilby collection: Helen Mary Turpin was the AMS Secretary during UBC’s Great Trek. Her future husband John (Jack) Allen Grant was the AMS President. As a member of the delegation that petitioned the BC Legislature in UBC’s successful bid to obtain the University Endowment Lands, his eloquent speech earned him the title of Jack The Giant Killer in one Vancouver newspaper.


One comment

  1. Jannine Grant says:

    This so very cool to find a picture of my Great Uncle Jack still in circulation. My Mum Patricia Grant is the daughter of Jack’s younger brother Garfield. These Grant fellows passed away long before I was born, but I think of them and wonder what their lives and experiences were like.

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