Few university presidents could be considered 'to the manner
born.' Larry MacKenzie was the exception. He discovered this talent
when president of the University of New Brunswick from 1940 to
1944. He became president of the University of British Columbia in
1944 and served for eighteen years. Although UBC's present eminence
owes much to many people, as biographer P.B. Waite points out, 'it
is basically Larry MacKenzie's creation.'
His importance to UBC is inestimable. No doubt demography alone
enjoined UBC's considerable expansion, but Larry gave it force and
focus. He established the Faculty of Graduate Studies and
introduced professional faculties such as law and medicine. He was
a marvellous doer; but more important, he could recognize talent in
others, like his 'chief expediter, ' Gordon Shrum, UBC's
redoubtable head of physics and dean of graduate studies.
Larry's big archive at UBC has enabled Waite to essay the life
of a marvellously adept and humane president who loved his work and
his students, a vital and great-hearted Canadian who had lived and
worked, as one could say, a mari usque ad mare.
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