British Columbia

Ted Danner, UBC's pop bottle prof, donates $1.1M for geology students

University of British Columbia Prof. Ted Danner collected bottle refunds for 25 years and now his estate has donated $1.1 million to help geology students.

Danner's estate donation includes scholarships, vast mineral collection

Professor Ted Danner's estate donated $1.1 million to support UBC geology students, much of that from bottle returns. (UBC )

It's a case of happy returns.

The estate of the late University of British Columbia Prof. Ted Danner, who was known for collecting bottle refunds for 25 years, has donated $1.1 million to help geology students.

"Ted was well-known for his infectious enthusiasm for geology and field studies," said UBC geologist Greg Dipple, who was also a colleague of Danner's. "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."

Scavenging treks

Danner, who started teaching geology at UBC in 1954, used the proceeds from returning bottles and cans collected on weekly campus-scavenging treks to establish the Beer-Pop Can Bottle Deposit Refund Award in 1989. 

His penchant for collecting meant that his office was often full of cans, but his habit paid off handsomely. He raised $46,000 to support students before he passed away in 2012.

Now he's topped that off by having his estate boost the original scholarship, establish a new one and he's donated his extensive mineral collection, worth more than $500,000, to the university.

"We're truly honoured by this gift," said UBC Dean of Science Simon Peacock. "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."

Ross Beaty, a former student of Danner's and executor of his estate, said the professor is continuing to help future geologists.

Quirky, enthusiastic professor 

"Ted taught UBC's introductory geology course for many years," Beaty said. "He was a quirky, enthusiastic professor who inspired many students to go into the geosciences, including myself. What a wonderful legacy he's now left for UBC and future generations."

Danner's bequest endows $320,000 for the Beer-Pop Can-Bottle Deposit Refund Award, which awards two geology students with an aptitude in fieldwork. Another $320,000 will fund the Ted Danner Memorial Entrance Bursary in Geology, for a student entering UBC enrolled in at least one geology course, beginning this September.

Danner's mineral collection, with more than 2,000 specimens, is now housed in UBC's Pacific Museum of the Earth.  

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