About Beverly Du Gas
An inspiring educator and wonderful colleague, Professor Dr. Beverly Witter Du Gas – an alumna and later honorary professor of the School of Nursing – passed away on November 22, 2012, at the age of 88.
Beverly was born in Vancouver and, although she worked in many different places, she remained a proud Vancouverite throughout her life. After graduating from John Oliver High School at the age of 16 with the highest marks in the province, she went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing from UBC. She received a Diploma in Nursing from the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in 1945 and a Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Washington in 1947. Later, she returned to UBC to complete her Doctorate in Adult Education, graduating in 1969.
Beverly was a well-respected and passionate advocate for nursing education. In 1953, she became a staff nurse at VGH, later going on to be the head of the nursing school there, a position she held until 1965. In this role, she introduced major curriculum changes into the teaching program, including opportunities for students to integrate theory and practice by practicing their nursing skills on real patients, rather than on dummies, early in their programs, a shift which marked an innovation in how nursing students were trained.
After leaving VGH in 1965 to work for the World Health Organization (WHO), she went on to have an influence on the nursing profession globally – working for organizations such as WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on projects in India, Suriname and Barbados, as well as high profile consultancy positions in Canada. She was particularly proud of her work pioneering distance education for nurses both in Canada and abroad – helping to develop programs for nurses in Fiji, China, and the Philippines. She undertook her last overseas assignment in 1998, going to India to help UBC establish their new partnership with a nursing school in the Punjab.
Beverly was also an internationally respected author and co-author of nursing textbooks, which have been widely used throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific region. These have included Nursing Foundations. A Canadian Perspective; Introduction to Patient Care and Promoting Healthy Aging: A Nursing and Community Perspective. She is also the author of a collection of stories about her life abroad, the proceeds of which she has donated to the History of Nursing Archival Fund, as well as other stories about her life.
Beverly valued family enormously and was extremely proud of her four children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her home, both in Vancouver and Ottawa, was always full of young people and she loved to travel with her grandchildren on overseas assignments.
Beverly was a dedicated champion of nursing education and a faithful attendee at UBC School of Nursing events in recent years. Heavily committed to supporting the next generation of nurses, she loved to tell stories of her nursing career, and was always willing to engage in lively dialogue and debate about nursing education.
Beverly passed away on November 22, 2012, at the age of 88. An inspiration to generations of nurses and to all who knew her around the world, she will be greatly missed.Read More
The impact of your support
In honour of Beverly, donations are being accepted to the UBC School of Nursing Scholarship Fund. This is a fitting tribute to Beverly, given her deep commitment to nursing and nursing education and devoted her career to developing innovative approaches to nursing education, both in Canada and internationally. She was a strong supporter of UBC Nursing throughout her career and a tireless advocate for the next generation of nurses.
Your gift will honour Beverly’s memory, and provide vital financial support for current and future UBC nursing students as they pursue lives and careers in healthcare.
List of Donors