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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 12 | Oct. 10, 2002

Former UBC President Kenneth Hare Remembered

Meteorologist guided university through stormy seas

It was the ’60s, one of the most turbulent times in UBC’s history, when Dr. F. Kenneth Hare succeeded Dr. John B. Macdonald to become the university’s fifth president.

It was a time when protesting students across North America were demanding a greater say in university affairs. It was a time made worse at UBC by rising enrollment coupled with some facilities so overcrowded and out of date that Hare would eventually dub them “deplorable.”

Those who were close to him remember him as a gentle man who probably was quite surprised to discover what was waiting for him at UBC. As soon as he arrived he was presented with a document from students that outlined their dissatisfaction with many aspects of university life and called for substantial changes in the way the university functioned.

The conflicting pressures of the job soon took their toll. On Jan. 31, 1969, just a year and a half after he accepted the presidency, he resigned. In his letter of resignation he said that he had found the job impossible for a man of his temperament.

A native of England, Hare came to UBC from London where he was Master of Birkbeck College of the University of London. In addition to UBC, his academic career included 19 years on the faculty of McGill University where he was dean of arts and sciences. He was a professor emeritus in Geography at U of T, a recipient of the Order of Ontario and 11 honorary degrees and was Chancellor of Trent University and Provost of Trinity College.

An internationally respected environmental scientist, he was known for his expertise in the disposal of nuclear waste and global warming. He was well known for his work in the field of meteorology and was the author of a widely used textbook on climatology The Restless Atmosphere. Helen, his wife of 49 years, says her husband’s most treasured skill was singing bass in the church choir.

Born in Wylye, Wiltshire in 1919, he died peacefully at his home in Oakville, Ontario on Sept. 3.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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