Late UBC professor Ted Danner donates $1.1 million to university

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Wilbert ‘Ted’ Danner was known by many to be “a quirky, enthusiastic professor” who supported geology students at the University of British Columbia and gave back in any way possible.

Before his unfortunate death in 2012, Danner made a habit of collecting empty cans and bottles around the campus to return and recycle them. He used the proceeds from his weekly scavenging treks to establish the Beer-Pop Can-Bottle Deposit Refund Award to support students.

But now, the university has revealed in a recent press release that Danner has also left a $1.1-million estate donation to help geology students at UBC even more.

“We’re truly honoured by this gift,” said UBC Dean of Science Simon Peacock in the press release. “Ted Danner cared deeply about UBC and his generosity will continue to benefit students here, and at high schools across the Lower Mainland, for years to come.”

Danner started teaching geology at UBC in 1954.

Thorughout the next 25 years, he raised $46,000 from collecting cans and bottles around the campus for his bursary, which provides two scholarships annually. As of today, at least 54 geology students have benefited from the bursary. A trophy in Danner’s honour has been made from empty cans and bottles to award each year’s winner.

“He thought it was important to emphasize to students the value of little deposits that are retained. He showed them that you could build up a lot of equity over a period of time by small contributions, five and 10 cents at a time,” UBC geology professor, Greg Dipple, told the Vancouver Sun about Danner’s method behind collecting the cans and bottles.

“Naming his bursary the Beer-Pop Can-Bottle Refund Award was intentional because he wanted to emphasize this,” Dipple said.

Now, Danner has topped off his original scholarship with his million-dollar estate donation. A new $320,000 award was also established and an extensive mineral collection, worth more than $500,000 , was left behind for the university.

“What a wonderful legacy he’s now left for UBC and future generations of geologists,” said Ross Beaty, a former student of Danner’s, in the press release.