September 13: The School of Audiology and Speech Sciences celebrates 50 years!

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the School’s 50th anniversary on 13 September, and to all our speakers, panelists, and entertainers for helping to make the event such a success!

Please click here to view the full photo album from this celebratory day. 

With thanks to Edward Chang of V. Saran Photo for capturing this celebratory day for the School. A sample of images are shared below.


The day started with an open house at the Friedman Building, where guests were invited to tour the School’s upgraded facilities and spend time meeting with faculty and reuniting with alumni and practitioners. In a memorable and fast-paced half hour, faculty and emeriti gave speed presentations about their research and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Dermot Kelleher, shared his congratulations with the School.

Almost 300 members of the School community, including students, faculty, clinical faculty, staff, and alumni, joined us throughout the day to celebrate this milestone. Pictured is the School’s Founding Director and Professor Emeritus, Dr. John Gilbert, welcoming attendees to the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre for an afternoon of talks, lectures and discussions.

Santa J. Ono, 15th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, was also present to offer his congratulations to the School and give some warm words of welcome to new, existing, and returning members of the School. 

The afternoon plenary session commenced with lectures by Dr. Jean-Pierre Gagné, Professor in the école d’orthophonie et d’audiologie at the University of Montreal, and Dr. Carol Stoel-Gammon, Professor Emerita in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington. Here they are pictured with the event’s MC, School Director Dr. Jeff Small.

The plenary lectures were followed by a panel discussion involving both speakers and four panel discussants: Dr. Barbara May Bernhardt, Professor Emerita in the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, UBC; Ms. Tracey Findlay, Practice Leader for speech-language pathology at Vancouver Coastal Health’s GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre; Ms. Grace Shyng, Interim Executive Director for the Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility; and Dr. David Stapells, Professor Emeritus in the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, UBC.

Next up, guests browsed a presentation of posters showcasing recent studies and/or conceptual overviews of research currently being undertaken by SASS faculty, emeriti, research collaborators, PhD and thesis students. Our clinical coordinators were also presenting information about the School’s externship placement history.

For the evening entertainment, guests moved to the West Atrium in the Life Sciences Building for a special gala dinner to celebrate what the School has achieved over the past 50 years and to imagine what opportunities and advances the next 50 years could bring.

School alumnus, Jeff Rowell, treated everyone to a Scottish pipe-in to dinner with some classic bagpipe music, including Scotland the Brave and Auld Lang Syne.

School Director, Dr. Jeff Small, expressed his heartfelt gratitude with everyone in the room for supporting the event and the School more generally over the past 50 years and into the future. He also recognized the impact and legacy of his predecessors: Dr. Valter Ciocca (2007-2017); Dr. David Stapells (2003-2007); Dr. Carolyn (Johnson) Gilbert (1999-2003); Dr. Judith Johnston (1989-1999); and Dr. John Gilbert (1969-1989).

The audience were then entertained with a talk from Dr. John Gilbert, Founding Director of the School and a seminal leader in the education of health professionals in BC, Canada, and internationally. To recognize his contributions to the School, the University, and the profession, Dr. Small announced the establishment of the annual John H. V. Gilbert Annual Lecture series in his name. You can make a contribution to the lecture series fund by clicking here.

School alumna and clinical faculty member Shelagh Davies was presented with a 2019-20 Alumni Builder Award for her outstanding service, dedication, and contributions to SLP education, the university, and the alumni community. More information on this will follow soon!

The evening concluded with some great entertainment from various members of the School community, including First Nations songs led by Tiare Laporte, former AUDI 540 Community Learning Coordinator with a SASS ensemble (pictured) and music from DJ James Larsen, a DJ with aphasia who has long supported the School’s Sea to Sky Aphasia Camp.