The 2017 Marilyn Pomfret Alumni Award Winner: Joan (Pilcher) Webster

The 2017 Marilyn Pomfret Alumni Award Winner: Joan (Pilcher) Webster

Student administrator with the UBC Intramural Sports Program (October 1978-1982)

First Associate Director of the UBC Intramural Sports Program (June 1983-1990)

Engaged Alumna with the University of British Columbia (2010-2016)


Join us Friday April 7th, 2017 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver as we recognize Joan at this year’s Intramurals Student Staff and Alumni Spring Pre-event Reception and Recognition Banquet.  For registration information, click here.



In the fall of 1978, a funny thing happened on the way to class. Behind me, I heard this huge laugh and a huge voice amidst a flurry of activity. When I looked back I saw this “huge man” quickly walking towards me and thought, “If I don’t move out of the way, I’m going to be knocked down because HE’S got somewhere to go!”

It turned out that this “huge man” with the big laugh was Nestor Korchinsky, a professor in the Department of Physical Education. He was on his way to our Event Planning class to offer us an opportunity to get involved with the UBC Intramural Sports Program. His huge enthusiasm, humour and energy was magnetic!! I was hooked!!

I signed up, immediately, and wandered over to the War Memorial Gym. I found his office and introduced myself. After a huge handshake and a hug, I was “hired” to organize the Great Pumpkin Cycle Race. And I never looked back.

That introduction, forever, changed my life! I had found my purpose and my passion at UBC as a student administrator of UBC’s Intramural Sports Program. For the next 5 years, I lived at WMG, made life-long friends, and was given opportunities to create a legacy in UBC’s campus recreation program.



In 1983, I was honoured and humbled to be hired as the first Associate Director of the UBC Intramural Sports Program. The “student administration” grew to 120 students in 22 departments. And some of those early “wild ideas” for mass participatory events, such as Storm the Wall and the Day of the Long Boat became 2 of the marquis events at the university today.

There have been thousands of student leaders in the UBC REC Program in the past 6 decades and I was just one of them who had the privilege of working alongside the great Dr. Nestor Korchinsky as a student and as a professional!



Our mission was simple – “Create good alumni”. And so, in 2010, thirty years later, I returned to campus, as an engaged alumna to mentor students in the Kinesiology program. I was, now, retired after raising two beautiful and talented daughters. I called myself a Community Builder and Youth Advocate. I was, then, invited back to the nationally recognized UBC REC Program to help develop a program for our alumni.

It has been such a joy to reconnect with UBC friends from 3 decades ago! My experience at our alma mater has come full circle and I am one of the 300,000 alumni today who shares a tremendous pride in the school it is today. I marvel at the sheer size and scope of the UBC REC Program and the amazing staff who carry out the vision that students started decades ago. I revel in the talent of past student leaders who went on to become pillars in their professions and in their communities. It was, truly, an honour to be part of that “tsunami” of gifted individuals, all of whom have left a tremendous legacy at UBC.

And so, I was right! My first impression of Nestor was “that he DID have somewhere to go” and ultimately, took thousands of us with him on that journey.