Edna Dharmaratne was the face and cornerstone of the Department of Linguistics for the last 20 years, the greatest part of her 29 years at UBC. Edna is admired for her un-erring integrity, admirable strength and force of character as well as her remarkable administrative, technical and systems competency. But it is her fundamental respect for every single member of the department, without judgement or distinction, that marks her remarkable journey in Linguistics: a journey filled with the strongest compassion, authenticity, and human kindness.
In honour of her retirement in December 2017, the Department is establishing the Edna Dharmaratne Award in Linguistics. To support this student award, please donate today.
Edna came to Linguistics in 1997 after serving several years with distinction in UBC’s Faculties of Engineering and Science. In 2002, she was the inaugural recipient of the Dean of Arts Award for Staff Excellence.
Students, staff and faculty alike have taken advantage of Edna’s open ear and willingness to engage any issue, no matter how personal or difficult, whether psychological, ethical, personal, financial or relating to morale. Edna has been the heart of the department and a symbol of guidance, comfort and support to all.
Most notably, her generosity and kindness had a profound effect on the stressful conditions sometimes faced by underfunded students, particularly those with children. She always took action, providing critical timely advice and actively soliciting donations of all types (food, clothing, furniture, vouchers and more). Alumni from around the world remain in touch with Edna, visiting when they come to Vancouver, keeping her informed of their professional and personal achievements, attesting to the long-lasting impact she had on them when they were students.
Edna’s caring nature extends beyond UBC. She consistently contributes to the community, volunteering in hospitals and in residences for the elderly, as well as participating in numerous church sponsored activities.
Edna’s legacy of compassion, competence and integrity is an enduring witness to the countless gifts she has bestowed on others. Your contribution to the Edna Dharmaratne Award in Linguistics will help fund an annual prize to be awarded to a current graduate or undergraduate student in the department who demonstrates academic merit and financial need, with compassion, competence and integrity through service to the department or the broader community.