Norm Watt

Bachelor of Physical Education, 1949

Norm Watt was one of the originals, that is, a member of UBC’s first graduating class in Physical Education (Kinesiology) back in 1949. He was also an athlete and although not tall, was a notable basketball player and played Varsity Thunderbird basketball during the late 1940s.

In 1961 after attaining his Masters and PhD, Norm returned to UBC to join the Faculty of Education and was appointed director of Extra-Sessional Studies. It was at this time he pioneered a ground-breaking program for seniors that became known as the Third Age Spring Lecture Series. The first of its kind, it became the blueprint for similar programs at universities across North America.

Norm was also a coach – guiding the UBC Junior Varsity basketball team to national championships in 1966 and 1967 and was coach of the UBC men’s Varsity volleyball team that won the provincial championship in 1968. However, perhaps his most accomplished coaching achievement is his association with the Dueck Powerglides wheelchair basketball team – a team inducted into both the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Basketball BC Hall of Fame.

Norm will always be remembered by his friends and family as the architect of countless campus and community charity activities, many off-beat and fun. For his innovative educational and charity work Norm was awarded the President’s Service Award in 1991 and the UBC Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 which he shared with his compatriot Norm Young.

Written by Fred Hume, UBC Historian