Dr. David F. Hardwick


An extraordinary life lived: Remembering Dr. David F. Hardwick, MD’57, LLD’01

May 18, 2021

Photo credit: Tiffany B. Cooper

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. David F. Hardwick. An internationally recognized pediatric pathologist, Dr. Hardwick was involved with the UBC Faculty of Medicine (the Faculty) for more than 60 years as a student, professor, special advisor and mentor to many.

The inimitable bow-tied Professor Emeritus David Hardwick, a graduate of UBC’s fourth medical class in 1957, was appointed to the Department of Pathology in 1965 and was department head from 1976 to 1990. In 1966, he took over the MD undergraduate pathology course, restructuring and codifying it into an educational program that ran for more than 30 years. His research contributions were in the fields of pediatric pathology, pathophysiology, clinical pathology and the economic effects of clinical laboratory testing. The UBC David F. Hardwick Pathology Learning Centre in the Diamond Health Care Centre holds specimen collections of both historical and current disease conditions from the 1940s to present day.

Fondly regarded by his students, Dr. Hardwick received numerous teaching awards throughout his career. As faculty advisor to the Medical Undergraduate Society for more than 40 years, he championed the distributed medical program and touched the lives of countless students, not only with his humour and handshake, but as a deeply respected mentor, human being and friend.

Dr. Hardwick’s influence came to be felt far beyond his discipline. Seeing himself as a teacher, a social activist, and a researcher, he was elected to the UBC Senate and was appointed as faculty advisor to UBC presidents for many years furthering the Faculty’s vision and strategic interests. Dr. Hardwick’s ongoing mission within the Faculty was to ensure that people understood the dynamic of the social system in which they worked and to create administrative structures that were coherent with the social culture and offer cooperative relationships amongst institutions. In 2001, UBC awarded Dr. Hardwick a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in recognition of his commitment to the principles of academic freedom.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hardwick maintained a special connection with generations of MD students, regularly attending many of their class reunions. He also recognized the importance of social and recreational space for medical students to build belonging and community, and improve their health and wellbeing. In 1984, the UBC Medical Alumni Association (MAA) was established, and together with a group of keen medical students, Dr. Hardwick advocated and fundraised for what would be become the Medical Student and Alumni Centre (MSAC) near Vancouver General Hospital. Since it opened in 1990, the MSAC continues to be one-of-a-kind facility: a social and recreation space that has welcomed thousands of students and alumni to study, exercise, network, socialize and build a strong medical student and alumni community.

As UBC’s medical program expanded to distributed sites across British Columbia, Dr. Hardwick’s passionate appeal led to the establishment of MSACs in Victoria and in Prince George. Dr. Hardwick’s legacy lives on through the MSAC and the UBC MAA as successive generations of UBC medical alumni strive to bring together students, residents, and alumni from all specialties to learn from one another, connect, and a create a caring community through mentorship, events and support programs.

A man with an impeccable sense of humour, Dr. Hardwick’s career was driven by curiosity and a compassion to serve others – including his students, colleagues, patients and society as a whole. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. We will all miss him dearly.

Learn more about his extraordinary life in this short documentary.

Give to the David F. Hardwick Memorial Fund
Donations will ensure Dr. Hardwick’s vision lives on and medical students continue to benefit from his efforts. Learn more

Faculty of Medicine

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