A gap year travelling Europe led Douglas Clarke (BA’71) to major in economics at the University of British Columbia.
“It inspired an interest in finding out what I could about what caused the way things were in the world,” he said.
Clarke’s travels began in late 1960s Portugal, which at the time was under the authoritative rule of Prime Minister Antonio de Oliveria Salazar.
“It was the sick man of Europe and I was curious about the effects of trade and liberalization,” he said. “Not to overplay my visit there, but I wanted to understand how the world worked.”
Clarke graduated from UBC in 1971, went on to obtain his law degree, and worked in commercial litigation for 38 years.
The retired lawyer reflects on his time at UBC in this Q&A.
Why study at UBC?
I grew up in Vancouver and at the time, UBC was the only major university in the city. SFU opened the year before I enrolled at UBC, but my friends and I still spoke of UBC as the university.
What did you enjoy the most about your UBC experience?
We had great instruction. Richard Lipsey (the author of many textbooks and renowned economist) was at UBC and I was lucky to be in his class. The high quality of the faculty is one of my most vivid memories.
What role did your economics training play in your law career?
Economic analysis entered into every decision that we made as commercial litigators. It’s a good background for that type of work. I’ve always been grateful to have pursued that line of study.
What do you make of UBC now as an alumnus?
I’m proud to be associated with what is now among a handful of great universities in the world. Knowing UBC’s story – having started out a little over 100 years ago – the university has grown steadily in prestige and importance.