By Nemetz, Peter N. | Journal of Business Administration and Policy Analysis, Annual 1996 | Go to article overview


Nemetz, Peter N., Journal of Business Administration and Policy Analysis

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson, 1816

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. - Thomas Jefferson, 1820

Ever since its inception in February 1916, just five months after the opening of the University of British Columbia, The Vancouver Institute has been devoted to the concepts of public education and civic discourse. Over its 82-year existence; this all-volunteer organization has had a remarkable history, evolving from a small, local, public-spirited organization on the far fringes of the British Empire, to what Sir George Porter, former Director of Britain's Royal Institution, has ranked second only to his own institute, founded in the 1800s (Purvis, 1986, p. 9). The Vancouver Institute's original objectives - still resonant today - were: "the study and cultivation of the arts, sciences, literature, music and kindred subjects, by means of lectures, exhibitions, publications and such other means as may from time to time be deemed advisable" (Robson, 1980, p. 16). [See Figure 1]

Three individuals in particular played a critical role in the conception and promotion of The Institute: Lemuel Robertson, Associate Professor of Classics at UBC and Chairman of the Archaeological Institute, Frank Wesbrook, the university's first president, and S.D. Scott, editor of the Vancouver News-Advertiser. Despite the central role that these individuals played in the genesis of The Institute, the ultimate success of this organization was guaranteed by an extraordinary confluence of several distinct, economic and social phenomena within the emerging intellectual and professional community of Vancouver. As Eric Damer (1995) describes, in his comprehensive thesis on The Institute's first 23 years(1), the emergence and survival of The Institute was ultimately the product of the mutual interest of local learned societies, professional organizations, the new university and community leaders [Table 1]. Each saw in The Institute an opportunity to promote their own particular goals of academic and professional education. This remarkable fusion of "town and gown" is demonstrated by the list of organizations which lent their formal support to The Institute [Table 2] by sponsoring lectures and providing speakers in their own subject areas. The composition of the first Institute council in 1916 mirrored the coalescing of town and gown interests, maintained to this day [Table 3]. While several of these organizations eventually disaffiliated from The Institute to pursue their goals independently, other organizations such as the BC Medical Association, BC Music Teachers Federation, and the League of Nations Society subsequently sought affiliation with The Institute. This remarkably diverse range of interests was reflected in the nature of The Institute lectures. Table 4 lists the first year of lectures, and Table 5 provides a short summary by subject matter for the first 2 decades.

Damer identifies several important trends in the initial 23-year period: (1) a shift in the nature of UBC's association with The Institute from an early host for the lecture series to the central sponsor of the organization's primary function of public education; (2) a moderate shift in the focus of lecture topics from academic "arts and science" topics to "people-interest topics" to broaden the public interest and participation in the lecture series; and (3) shifting fortunes with respect to attendance and financial health, due in no small part to the changing locus and timing of lectures during The Institute's formative years [Table 6]. (See also Williams, 1956).

It took several years for The Institute to follow the University to its Point Grey campus, but once this transition had been successfully accomplished, the long-term stability and viability of The Institute was assured. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article



Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.