The Dalai Lama Center has lost a friend and supporter. Irving "Ike" K. Barber passed away on April 13, 2012. Dedicated to strengthening the learning experience for university students in British Columbia, Dr. Barber has made a number of significant contributions in the province, including the world-class Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC. Dr. Barber gave the Dalai Lama Center a tour of this incredible facility just two years ago.
In 1978, Barber founded Slocan Forest Products Limited, building it into one of North America’s leading lumber producers. He retired as chairman in 2002.
Dr. Barber – who received an honorary degree from UBC in 2002 – was instrumental in establishing programs to promote education and research throughout B.C. He had a life-long belief in the value of education and the importance of access to education, regardless of income, especially in remote communities of the province.
Dr. Barber remained closely involved with UBC both in Vancouver and in the Okanagan. The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, to which he donated $20 million in 2006, remains a world-leading facility and a hub of the Vancouver campus and accessible worldwide. In, 2004 he donated $10 million to establish the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Interface Program at UBC’s campus in the Okanagan.
He is survived by his wife Jean, whom he married in 1943, his three children, Linda (Brooke) Williams, James (Lynne) Barber and Gregory (Linda) Barber, nine grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. A Celebration of Life service is planned for June.
In 2009, Dr. Barber generously supported the Educating the Heart panel discussion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other luminaries (see below). The Dalai Lama Center was and continues to be extremely grateful for this show of support.