The driving force behind UBC’s rich rowing history, Read turned an unknown university squad into a serious international contender in less than a decade. Read joined UBC as a volunteer coach in 1949, and his crews went on to win Canadian and British Commonwealth championships and medals—including Canada’s first rowing gold—at the ’56 and ’60 Olympics. Read was also a strong and unshakable leader to the young rowers, and saw it as his duty to teach, prepare, and guide. In short, Read embodied the “golden age” of UBC rowing.
Beyond his enormous influence on UBC and Canadian rowing, many credit Read with helping to fundamentally change attitudes about Canadian sport by proving that our nation could compete with the best teams in the world in any arena—not just the hockey rink. Read has been a member of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame since 1994 and the BC Sports Hall of Fame since 1966. In addition, UBC honoured Read by naming him its first honorary alumnus.
Gold for Life is seeking to raise $100,000 to fund the Frank Read Endowment at UBC in Frank Read’s memory. Your donation to the Frank Read Thunderbird Rowing Award will support exceptional rowers on both men’s and women’s crews, empowering UBC athletes to reach the same level of excellence Frank Read inspired in so many. With your support, the university can continue the legacy of this Canadian legend and promote a future of excellence for UBC athletes.