A visionary thinker and a devoted British Columbian, Dr. Irving K. Barber continues to honour his commitment to initiating positive growth and development for the benefit of as many people as possible throughout British Columbia and beyond.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Dr. Irving K. Barber graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1950. A prominent figure within the forest industry in British Columbia for 57 years, he founded Slocan Forest Products Ltd. at the age of 55, and developed the company into a leading lumber producer in North America. Dr. Barber retired as Chairman in February 2002.
Over his formidable career, Dr. Barber has been named Distinguished Forester of the Year, and awarded the Forest Excellence Award in Communications for his involvement in the publication of The Working Forest of British Columbia. In 1997, he was presented with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific Region and in May 2002 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree by the University of Northern British Columbia.
The I. K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory at UNBC, the Irving K. Barber Diabetes Research Endowment Fund at UBC and the Ike Barber Human Islet Transplant Laboratory at Vancouver Hospital in partnership with UBC are just a few examples of Dr. Barber’s instrumental role in promoting research programs in British Columbia. His $20 million gift towards the creation of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre strengthened Dr. Barber’s dedication to the intellectual, social, cultural and economic development of the people throughout the province.
Mrs. Jean Barber has made significant donations to the Jean C. Barber Lodge for the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, as well as for artwork in the IKBLC.
The Barbers have three children, nine grandchildren, and fifteen great-grandchildren.