This month, Dr. Howard Petch steps down as President of the University of Victoria with the distinction of currently being the longest-serving President of a Canadian university. This milestone is evidence of the respect he has earned from his peers at the university as well as his ability as an administrator.
Under his leadership, the university embarked on an unparalleled program of development and scholarship which has made UVIC one of Canada’s outstanding universities. Dr. Petch also played a key role in promoting access, providing leadership in science and engineering, and in fostering harmonious relationships among the Province’s universities.
Dr. Petch received his education in Ontario and in British Columbia, and was a Rutherford Memorial Fellow at Cambridge University. He enjoyed a distinguished academic career as a solid state physicist at McMaster University and the University of Waterloo and rose to President (pro tem) at the University of Waterloo before coming to Victoria in 1975.
Dr. Petch’s list of honours includes membership as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, the Centennial Medal, 1967, and honorary doctorates from the universities of Waterloo and McMaster. He is a member of a host of national science committees and other university related bodies and he has served on a number of Task Forces for governments, federal and provincial.
His interests are not limited to academe but include membership on a number of civic bodies including the British Columbia Arts Board, the Arts, Science and Technology Centre and as honorary President, the Post Polio Awareness and Support Society.
An ardent birdwatcher, Dr. Petch will no doubt continue to have a keen eye for the Martlet even after his departure from UVIC.