UBC Okanagan Expansion Adds Six Board of Governors Seats

The University of British Columbia Board of Governors chair Brad Bennett welcomes six new members to the university board.

With these additions, effective Friday, December 9, membership of the Board of Governors increases to 21 from 15, as mandated by the University Act. This change reflects UBC’s expanded presence in British Columbia following the opening of the UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna on September 8, 2005.

Appointed by the provincial government for three-year terms are Pierre Choquette, Chair of the Board, Methanex Corporation; Robert Louie, Chief of the Westbank First Nations and Chairman of the First Nation Lands Advisory Board, and Barry Lapointe, President and CEO, Kelowna Flightcraft .

The three appointed members join Dr. H. Barrie McCullough, Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Bonnie Bates Gibbs, Associate Director of Public Affairs, who have been elected by UBC Okanagan faculty and staff, respectively, for three-year terms. Heather Cook, a fourth-year nursing student, has been elected by UBC Okanagan students for the remainder of the 2005/2006 academic year.

“UBC’s mission is to become one of the world’s truly great universities and the UBC Okanagan campus will play an important role in the fulfillment of this vision,” said Bennett. “I am thrilled with these new additions and am convinced that their knowledge and energy will be tremendous assets.”

UBC’s 21-member Board of Governors comprises the chancellor (Allan McEachern), the president (Martha Piper) eleven persons appointed by the provincial government (Nicole Byres, James Eccott, Arun Garg, Jacki Hoffman-Zehner, John Reid, Bryce Rositch, Douglas Whitehead, Bennett, and the three new appointees), three faculty members elected by faculty (Andrew Irvine, Gregory Lawrence, and McCullough), three full-time students elected by students (Tim Louman-Gardiner, Quinn Omori, and Cook), and two people elected by and from the full-time employees of the university who are not faculty members (Belle Dale-Wills and Bates Gibbs).

By legislation, the board is responsible for the management, administration and control of the property, revenue, business and affairs of the university, including the appointment of senior officials and faculty on the recommendation of the president.

For biographies of the six new members, see backgrounder below.


In his 38-year career, Pierre Choquette has served in a variety of leadership roles in the global chemical industry, including President and CEO of Methanex Corporation, and President of NovaCorp International. Since his retirement from Methanex in 2004, Choquette has continued to serve as Chairman of its Board of Directors. He graduated with a B.A., B.Sc., and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Laval University in 1966.

Robert Louie, LL.B., is the Chief of the Westbank First Nation, Chairman of the First Nation Lands Advisory Board, and owner of several successful businesses in the Kelowna area. He is a former elected member of the First Nations Summit and was involved with B.C. treaty negotiations as an elected representative of B.C. Chiefs. Louie has served on many boards, including the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, the Premier’s Advisory Council of Aboriginal Affairs and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. Graduating from the University of Victoria, Louie was the first member of the Okanagan aboriginal community to receive a law degree and practice law.

Barry Lapointe is the founding President and CEO of Kelowna Flightcraft, a world-recognized aircraft repair and overhaul facility with the largest fleet of aircraft operating in the Canadian Air Freight market. Born in Vancouver, B.C., Lapointe is a board member of Purolator Courier, Partnerships BC, and ATAC, and has served as Director of the Canadian Air Transportation, Chairman of the Airline Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) and a board member of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Lapointe has been awarded an Honourary degree from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Entrepreneur of the year, Pacific Region, for his outstanding achievements in Aerospace Engineering.

Dr. H. Barrie McCullough holds research degrees from Harvard University and the University of Oxford, as well as a PhD from the London School of Economics. His teaching experience was gained at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and Okanagan University College. McCullough’s publications have been in the fields of international law, constitutional law, and political philosophy. He is a member of the International Honorary Committee of the Olympic Centre for Philosophy and Culture. For several years, he served as chair of the Department of Political Science at the former Okanagan University College, where he also served as a member of the Education Council for two years, and as vice-chair of the Education Council for one year.

Bonnie Bates Gibbs served as the CEO of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce for 10 years before joining UBC Okanagan as the Associate Director of Public Affairs in May 2005. She has an extensive background of board and community involvement. A past President of the United Way of Central Okanagan, the British Columbia Chamber Executives, and Northwest Chamber Leaders, she has also served on the Boards of the Rotary Centre for the Arts, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada. Bates Gibbs has an MBA from the University of Toronto and a BA in Communication Studies and Journalism from Concordia University.

Heather Cook is a fourth-year nursing student at UBC Okanagan. She is currently the External Coordinator of the Students’ Union and was previously the Vice President of Student Life where she organized dozens of events. Heather was also a Residence Advisor and was active in the Nursing Course Union and the Waves Peer Support Team.