Dr William C. Gibson

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 51, No. 8, October 2009, Page 338 Obituaries

British Columbia has lost one of its most remarkable and distinguished scholars, Dr William Carleton Gibson, who died in Victoria, BC, on 4 July 2009, just 3 months short of his 96th birthday. Born in Ottawa to scholarly parents, he and his family soon moved to BC, which, interspersed with multiple studies, travels, and teaching assignments in Canada and overseas, remained his base till the end. He earned his bachelor of arts degree at UBC in 1933, a master of science and MD degree from McGill, and a DPhil from Oxford University. Many other academic advancements and honors followed.

In British Columbia Dr Gibson had two bases: Victoria and Vancouver, and two universities, UVic and UBC, all the while maintaining close ties with multiple other institutions, such as the Montreal Neurological Institute, where he worked under Penfield; the World Health Organization, where he was member of the Neurological Science Panel and later honorary member of the Medical Society of WHO; the Wellcome Foundation in London where he was a councillor; Oxford University, where he helped develop Green College and was made a life fellow; and numerous professional and personal relations across Canada and abroad, which contributed intellectually, morally, or financially to his many worthy medical, academic, educational, social, civic, environmental, and humanistic causes.

Foreign recognitions and achievements in no way deterred Bill Gibson from reserving his unbounded energy and loyalty to British Columbia, its educational, medical, and civic institutions, and to the very physical environment of the province that he loved. Over almost three decades at UBC, Dr Gibson was professor of neurological research, professor of the history of medicine and science, and president of the University Development, creating the Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research and the Woodward Biomedical Library, with its world-renowned collection of rare medical books and memorabilia. In 1993 he was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of science in recognition of his remarkable services to the university, whose Faculty of Medicine he had also helped to build, as described in his book Wesbrook and His University. Earlier, UBC Press published his autobiography, entitled No Time to Slow Down. Among his multifaceted activities he fought for the preservation of environmental green spaces, as in Vancouver’s Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and the Bowen Island Parkland. He had a knack for raising funds for university activities and worthy causes, which he always did with dignity and remarkable success.

In 1985 he became chancellor of the University of Victoria, seeing some 12 000 graduates coming out of a rapidly growing institution. With his extensive network of international contacts he transformed Canada’s educational landscape and greatly helped the development of UVic, which made him chancellor emeritus upon retirement. He was chair of the Universities’ Council of British Columbia, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the US Muscular Dystrophy Association, board member of the International Brain Research Organization, fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, a distinguished member of the Osler Society and, more recently, regent of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine. In 2002 he was awarded the Order of Canada, the only occasion of brothers holding this distinction at the same time (James A. Gibson had been secretary to Prime Minister Mackenzie King and helped start Carleton University in Ottawa).

My main working relations with him were specifically based on shared interests in the history of medicine, in our respect and support of the BC First Nations (which honored him with characteristic dignity at his death), in advocating humanitarian medicine, and in strengthening international scientific relations, in all of which his judgment, advice, and action remained most profound, humanistic, practical, and productive. His latest service was in helping me found the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine, which proudly published his last book, Old Endeavour, on his 93rd birthday.

Bill will be much missed by many persons in different parts of the world, and his steady friendship and intellectual stimulation will be long remembered by those who were fortunate to have him as a friend.

—S. William A. Gunn, FRCSC

S. William A. Gunn, FRCSC,. Dr William C. Gibson. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 8, October, 2009, Page(s) 338 - Obituaries.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply