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Reginald L. Clarkson

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About Reginald L. Clarkson

On April 16, 2012, Reginald ‘Reg’ Clarkson, a UBC alumnus and one of BC’s greatest all-round athletes, passed away at the age of 86. He is deeply missed by all who had the honour of knowing him and loving him.

Throughout his life and career, he excelled at a wide range of sports, including basketball, baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse and golf.

Reg – an arts student – joined UBC’s basketball team in 1944 and helped them take a provincial title. The same year, he was a member of both the UBC hockey team and the soccer squad. In 1945-6, he was a member of the UBC Thunderbirds basketball team – considered by many to be one of the greatest teams in UBC history. That same year, he played for the Thunderbirds football team, helping them with the Hardy Cup that year. He also found time to play soccer and lacrosse. He was named Vancouver’s Athlete of the Year in 1946. Although he had played for just two years on campus he had participated in four varsity sports, making quite an impact.

For financial reasons Reg chose to leave UBC for the next few years. To earn money, he turned to professional athletics – turning pro in three sports – basketball, baseball, and football. He did this for the next six years, extremely successfully. During this time, he met his future wife, Peggy.

At the age of 26, his professional athletics career came to a sudden and shocking end when a bout of rheumatic fever damaged his heart and took him off the playing field.

His professional athletics career prematurely over, he returned to UBC to earn his BA in 1956. In 1963 he attained his bachelor of Social Work and in 1964 his Masters of Social Work. He went on to become a well-known activist who fought for fairness in the prison system, welfare reform and women’s rights, and assisting the province’s underprivileged until his retirement. He was known for his willingness to lend a hand to those who needed it.

In retirement, Reg took up golf, where he worked his way up to a five-handicap, and won a number of local tournaments.

Married to Peggy for 59 years, Reg was the proud and loving father of eight, grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather of three.

He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1974, into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

He continued to be an avid support UBC Athletics until his passing.

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The impact of your support

In honour of Reg’s outstanding contributions to UBC and to the wider Canadian athletics community a student award – the Reginald L. Clarkson Memorial Award in Athletics – has been established. This award offers invaluable financial support and recognition to elite student-athletes so that they can pursue excellence in their chosen sports and academics.

This is a fitting tribute to Reg for many reasons. Reg was an avid supporter of UBC athletics and was often seen at banquets and events supporting the department and its student-athletes. He himself had personal experience of the financial difficulties that often face students, and in fact left UBC at one time due to financial concerns. This award recognizes Reg’s lifelong passion for playing team sports, and his reputation for always lending a hand to others who needed it.

Please make a donation today to support this award. Your gift will honour Reg’s memory and contributions, and support outstanding student-athletes in financial need.

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