Professor who collected bottle refunds for 25 years donates $1.1 million to UBC

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Image: UBC Public Affairs

A former University of British Columbia geology professor who collected bottles for refunds for 25 years is donating $1.1 million to the school he loved through his estate.

Wilbert R. “Ted” Danner, who passed away in 2012, previously provided a $46,000 donation to support his Beer-Pop Can-Bottle Deposit Refund Award, which supports geology students who have demonstrated skill and proficiency in the fieldwork. To date, 53 students have benefited from the award funded exclusively by his bottle collection efforts.

A posthumous donation of $320,000 towards the award will ensure students will continue to benefit from his contributions to the school for decades to come.

In addition to topping out the existing award, another $320,000 will go towards the new Ted Danner Memorial Entrance Bursary in Geology. The bursary will be offered to students entering UBC enrolled in at least one geology course beginning this upcoming school semester.

The remaining $500,000 comes from the value of Danner’s vast personal mineral collection, which is now in the possession of the Faculty of Science. Over 2,000 specimens are now exhibited at new UBC Pacific Museum of the Earth at the recently completed Earth Sciences Building.

Danner began teaching geology at UBC in 1954, with students and colleagues remembering him fondly for his authentic passion for the field and the many students he taught over the decades.

Former student and estate executor Ross Beaty remembers him as a “quirky, enthusiastic professor who inspired many students to go into the geosciences” while UBC geologist and former colleague Greg Dipple recollects his “infectious enthusiasm.”

“He used rock and mineral specimens from his personal collection to teach for many years into his retirement, and shared his passion for rocks, minerals and fossils with younger school children as well,” Dipple added.

For more details on UBC’s Pacific Museum of the Earth, click here. Admission is by donation.

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