In Memorium

Dr. John B. Macdonald, DSc’67, UBC President, 1962‑67

John B. MacdonaldDr. Macdonald passed peacefully with family by his side on Tuesday, December 23, 2014, in his 97th year. He will be deeply missed by Liba, his beloved wife of almost 50 years. He leaves behind his loving children, Kaaren (David), Grant (Jan), Scott (Christine), Linda (Jerry), and Vivian (Rob). He was a cherished grandfather to Kristin (Scott), Jason (Veronica), Justine (Tyler), Vanessa, Julianne (Robert), Christopher, Laura (Jay), Richard, and Michelle. He was a proud great‑grandfather to Tatam, Kol, Jayde, Satchel and Lia. Dr. Macdonald graduated from the University of Toronto (U of T) in the middle of World War II, served as a Captain in the Canadian Dental Corps, and after the war, studied microbiology at the University of Illinois and Columbia. On returning to a teaching and research appointment at U of T, he rose quickly to become the founding director of the Division of Dental Research. His reputation as a scientist and educator led to an invitation to move to Harvard in 1956 as a professor of microbiology and director of the Forsyth Infirmary. In 1962 Dr. Macdonald became the fourth president of UBC. His advice led to the establishment of Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Victoria University, allowing UBC to concentrate on the development and expansion of graduate education and research. In the 70s, Dr. Macdonald was CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, where he was a powerful advocate for ”collective autonomy,” arguing that the 15 universities should use the council as a vehicle for planning and implementing the evolution of the Ontario system – because they were best qualified to do so, and because failure to do so would invite government intervention. During the last years of his career Dr. Macdonald was president of the Addiction Research Foundation, a research affiliate of the World Health Organization. Dr. Macdonald served as a consultant to governments, universities and colleges in both Canada and the United States. For his contributions as a scientist and academic leader he received honorary degrees from Harvard, the University of Manitoba, SFU, UBC, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brock University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Windsor and U of T. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. In lieu of flowers, please visit for ways to donate towards the preservation of Lake Simcoe.