UBC’s first century

This year marks UBC's 100th anniversary, while UBCO celebrates its 10th

  • Mon Sep 7th, 2015 1:00pm
  • News

This month, UBC kicks off its 100th anniversary celebrations and as it does, it welcomes 8,337 students as the first class of its second centennial.

The Okanagan campus, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, expects 1,777 first-year students, a 15 per cent increase from last year, for an overall campus enrolment of 8,362

The Vancouver campus expects 6,560 first-year students, bringing campus enrolment to 52,290.

“It’s a tremendous pleasure to welcome new students to the university at such an important time in UBC’s history,” said Dr. Martha Piper, interim President. “I hope that this year’s events will give them a sense of the long tradition they are joining, and the possibilities that lie ahead of them as they acquire the skills and learning to shape their communities and the world.”

UBC will hold special centennial events throughout the year, showcasing some of UBC’s greatest accomplishments and contributions to society over the past 100 years, as well as how UBC is shaping the world of the future.

In 1915, UBC opened its doors to 379 students who attended classes in temporary facilities nicknamed the Fairview shacks. The cheap, wooden structures were formerly occupied by UBC’s predecessor, McGill University College of B.C., and were located on the site of Vancouver General Hospital. Construction had begun on new university facilities at Point Grey but development came to a halt during the First World War.

In its infancy, the university only offered undergraduate programs in Arts, Applied Science and Agriculture and a handful of the 379 students were well on their way to completing degrees, having taken courses through McGill.  In 1916, UBC graduated its first class and its first alumnus was a woman by the name of Jessie J Anderson. At the time, 60 per cent of UBC students were men and 40 per cent were women. Most were from B.C but 18 international students came from the United Kingdom.

One hundred years later, the university’s student body has swelled to 60,652 and is far more diverse. Today more than 13,300 students come from outside Canada, representing more than 139 countries.

This year UBC welcomes 313 new Aboriginal students.  The university now educates more than 50,000 undergraduate students and 10,570 graduate students and about 55 per cent are women.