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John Worrall: A sense of community in Forestry

After receiving a PhD from Yale University, Dr. John Worrall, returned to UBC, where he had completed a BSF degree in 1963.

February 23, 2016

In 1969, John became an assistant professor in the Faculty of Forestry. He retired from his Faculty position in 2003 after decades of educational leadership. John left a positive impact on generations of students.

For 35 years, John taught dendrology, the study of the characteristics of trees and other woody plants, to undergraduate students with an evident love of the topic and enthusiasm for effective teaching. John also taught introductory forestry to non-forestry students, and his ability to connect with people of all academic backgrounds gained him much respect. He is the only professor to have received the Forestry Killam award twice: a recognition for outstanding contribution to teaching in the Faculty of Forestry.

In addition to these UBC-granted awards, John has been recognized on multiple occasions by his former students. In 1996 the alumni from 1975-1989 established the John Worrall Alumni Bursary, which stands as one of the most popular and well-supported special award appeals ever launched by the Faculty. In 2003, John’s colleagues, friends and students created the John Worrall Tree Enthusiast Prize to celebrate his retirement and also to recognize his outstanding contributions to teaching and students.

Some alumni and Faculty felt Worrall’s most significant achievement was his connection with the Forestry undergraduate students, which was quite evident during his retirement party in 2003. While John Worrall just wanted a small event with a BBQ and burgers, over 250 alumni, Faculty and friends saw to it that this party was anything but small! People came from all over Canada. The retirement party, however, did not mean that Worrall was leaving the Forestry building for good. He still has an office on the first floor and still involved in many student activities. You can even find John Worrall organizing ping pong tournaments or flipping burgers at Forestry Undergraduate Society (FUS) beer gardens. Still doing what he’s known for — helping Forestry students feel a sense of community and engagement during their time at UBC.

John Worrall Tree Enthusiast Prize

The John Worrall Tree Enthusiast Prize was established by colleagues, friends and students in recognition of the outstanding contribution to teaching, student well-being, and the field of forest botany during his thirty-five years with the Faculty of Forestry. The award is offered to students who have achieved high standing in Forest Plant Biology and have a demonstrated interest in that field.

John Worrall Alumni Bursary in Forestry

The John Worrall Alumni Bursary in Forestry was endowed in recognition of the teaching contribution of Dr. John Worrall. This award was initiated by the 1970 – 1990 forestry alumni and is offered to students entering third year Forestry.