map button


The Erosion of the Hungarian Linguistic Presence in Canada - Nandor Dreisziger

Hungarians in Canada - 2001 Census

Canada’s Hungarians as Reflected in the 2006 Census

Canada’s 2006 Census: A portrait of the foreign-born population

Book Review of Leslie László's Church and State in Hungary, 1919-1945

Dr Emoke Szathmary on Hungarians in Manitoba

Our Home in Montreal - George Pandi

How to be a Landed Immigrant - Magda Zalan

Hungarica Canadiana -A Summary of Archival Sources - John Miska

The Hungarian Exodus Exhibit

How 'the 56ers' changed Canada

Migration of Hungarian Roma to Canada and Back - Paul St.Clair

Revolution Revisited - Events of the 1956 Revolution -
Judy Stoffman


Bookmark and Share

Introduction     History     Recollections    


The "Sopron Division of Forestry" in Canada


Part 1: November 4 1956

Part 2: The Great Trek: From Salzburg to Powell River

Part 3: 1957-1961 -- Our student years in Vancouver

Part 4: 1961–2007 -- Our Years After Graduation




The Program of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations at UBC

2007, June 14, 11:00 AM


List of speakers seated on the Dais

Jack N. Saddler, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Allan McEachern, Chancellor, University of British Columbia
The Honourable Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education,
Government of British Columbia
Jim Farrell, Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian Forest Service,
Natural Resources Canada,

Government of Canada
His Excellency Dr. Vastagh Pál, Ambassador of the Republic of
Hungary to Canada

Stephen Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of
British Columbia

Sándor Faragó, Rector, the University of Western Hungary

Miklós Grátzer, UBC – Sopron Alumnus

Sierra Curtis–McLane, PhD candidate, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Alumni Recognition Event, 2:00PM to 4:00PM




Jack N. Saddler, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

T. M. (Mike) Apsey, C.M., RPF(Ret)

Susan M. Papp–Aykler, President, Rákóczi Foundation

Henry Benskin, Deputy Chief Forester, Ministry of Forests, BC

Sharon Glover, Executive Director, Assoc. of BC Forest Professionals

Helen M. Szablya, Honorary Consul, Consulate of the Republic of Hungary, USA

Robert Kennedy, Dean Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Mike Meagher, BSF ’57, UBC

Stephen Tolnai, VP, Synergy Pacific Engineered Timber Ltd.

“Sopron – UBC – 50th Anniversary” video presentation

Andy Szalkai, BSF ’59 UBC Sopron, RPF (ret.)

Doug Stables, Canadian Institute of Forestry

2007, June 15, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Conference Program


Welcome remarks form co-chairs, Donald D. Munro, Professor Emeritus, UBC,
Jack Saddler, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Forestry, UBC


Professional Accomplishments of a Sopron School of Forestry Alumnus,
Steve Tolnai, BSF, UBC-Sopron (1959), RFP (Ret.)


Accomplishments of a Hungarian forester in the Cariboo region of BC
Andy Szalkai, BSF, UBC-Sopron (1959), RFP (Ret.)


Chasing sustainability – an ex-professional remember
Kamill Z. Apt, BSF, UBC-Sopron (1961), MF UBC (1968), Forest Engineer of NyME


The life and contributions of the women graduates of the Sopron Division, Faculty of Forestry, UBC, Elisabeth Juhász, BSF, UBC (1958) RPEng (Ret.)


Professional contributions of the graduates from the Sopron Division, UBC Faculty of Forestry (1958-1961), Imre S. Ötvös, BSF UBC-Sopron (1961), PhD (1969), BCE, Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service


History of the Faculty of Wood Sciences and its collaboration with the forestry graduates of UBC, Sándor Molnár, Head and Professor, Institute of Wood Sciences, Dean, Faculty of Wood Science, University of Western Hungary, Ilona Wesztergom, Head, Dean’s Administration, Faculty of Wood Science, University of Western Hungary.


The educational work of the Sopron Forestry Faculty,
András Náhlik, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of Western Hungary



Wildlife protection and management research at the University of Western Hungary,
Sándor Faragó, Rector, University of Western Hungary, Director of Wildlife Management, University of Western Hungary


Connection between silviculture practices and wood quality in second-growth stands
Les Józsa, BSF UBC-Sopron (1961), Research Scientist Emeritus, Forintek Canada Corp.

Surface soil erosion control and road stabilisation, Stephen Homoky, BSF UBC-Sopron
(1960), MF UBC (1966), RPF (Ret.), PEng.(Ret.)


From Sopron/UBC to two national academies – Márta Mihály discusses the contribution of László Orlóci to science, Márta Mihály, BSF UBC-Sopron (1958)


The relationship in elemental content of bedrocks, soils and plants in mineralized areas of British Columbia. (Utilising forestry knowledge in mineral exploration), John J. Baraksó, BSF UBC-Sopron (1959), MSc. (1967)


Water monitoring in the Hungarian Water-bird Monitoring System, Joseph Kerekes, BSc. UBC (1962), MSc. (1965), PhD (1972), Scientist Emeritus, Environment Canada


Scientific contributions of the UBC-Sopron alumni to wood science,
Robert W. Kennedy, PhD, Dean Emeritus, UBC


A brief summary of the scientific contributions of the 141 graduates (1958-61) from the Sopron Division of the Faculty of Forestry, UBC, Antal Kozák, BSF UBC-Sopron (1959), MF (1961), PhD (1963), Professor Emeritus, UBC


Current forest research in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC, John McLean, Professor, Department of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, UBC


Closing remarks, Jack Saddler, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Forestry, UBC





Professional Contributions of the Graduates from the Sopron Division
By Imre Ötvös, Senior Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service,
Victoria, BC, 2007

For my presentation at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations, I have compiled a survey of the Sopron graduate forest engineers’ careers in the forest industry. Since Antal Kozák also conducted a survey of the graduates in 2006, but concentrating on those who worked in fields of research, I have concentrated my survey around those who worked for private corporations and government offices, in Canada and the United States. Out of the 141 graduates 46 worked in research, 6 left North America (for Europe, South America and Australia). Eight ladies chose to get married and concentrate on their family life.

Consequently, my survey included 81 individuals, which are summarised below:


Table Four


The number of returned questionnaires is 53.1%, which seems fairly low, but it probably still reflects the actual situation.

The following list indicates the fields of employment and the number of respondents from the private sector:


Forest Engineer (1)
Operational Engineer or Forester (2)
Development Engineer (1)
Development and Area Engineer (1)
Divisional Engineer or Forester (4)
Divisional Manager (2)
Regional Engineer or Forester (2)
Regional Manager (1)
Manager of Logging and Sawmills (1)
Manager of Woodlands and Operations (1)
Chief Forester (1)
Vice-President (1)


The following list indicates the fields of employment at the provincial Forest Service with one retiree from each:

Development Engineer
Senior Development Engineer
Design Engineer
Special Project Engineer
Project Supervisor
Volume Loss (insect infestation) Specialist
Volume and Decay Specialist
Head of Growth and Yield
Director of Operations


As an example of responsibilities, the individual, who was the Manager of Logging and Sawmills, was responsible for the wood supply of 820 000 cubic meters for a saw mill, a plywood mill and a planer mill. Before retirement, he was given additional responsibilities over an area of 330 km by 220 km and the production of 2 800 000 cubic meters of wood. On the same area they planted 12 -14 million seedlings per year.


We should also mention the various awards received by the Sopron Graduates. One forest engineer and one research scientist was honoured by gold medals during the celebrations remembering the 50th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elisabeth II. Two forest engineers received the Distinguished Forester designation in 1984 and 1988 from the Association of Professional Foresters of British Columbia. A similar award was given by the Washington and Oregon state forestry associations to a forest engineer working there. The Canadian Institute of Forestry elected one of the Sopron graduates for their presidency for the term of 1995/96. The Entomological Society elected a research scientist as their president in 1995. There are many other awards mentioned in the survey, too many to list here.

Many graduates volunteered to participate in communal work with Canadian and local Hungarian organisations. Some worked with the Boy Scout Movement, some with sport organisations or with cultural or religious groups, mainly in Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo.

With foresters working in the field of research it is much easier to establish their achievements by the number of publications, books, patents and lectures at conferences. With those who work in the private sector, a similar evaluation is not possible. Never the less, I hope that the above given information will prove, that the Sopron forest engineers have substantially contributed to the development of the forest industry in the past fifty years in British Columbia.

Achievements of the Sopron Graduates in the field of Research
By Antal Kozák, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry, UBC, 2006


This survey was compiled to provide an assessment of only those forest engineers who graduated in Vancouver and worked in the fields of research. The achievements of those, who worked in the forest industry or other fields, were assessed by Imre Ötvös in the previous article.


From among the teaching and administration staff in Sopron in 1956, eighteen individuals came with us to Vancouver. I could not compile an assessment of their achievements in the field of research as 13 of them passed away since then. Their names are listed below:

L. Adamovich, MF L. Sebestyén, PhD (d)
J. Baranyai, MSc. (d) O. Sziklai, PhD (d)
G. Bezerédi (d) F. Szy
E. Csányi F. Tuskó, PhD (d)
A Cserjesi, MF (d) S. Veres, PhD (d)
J. Csizmazia, MF F. Kurucz, Phys. Ed.
S. Jablánczy, PhD (d) L. Medveczky, Languages (d)
I. Klima (d) M. Agh, Admin. (d)
K. Roller, MSc, Dean, (d) L. Kornya, Admin. (d)

(d)– Deceased


From among the 141 graduated forest engineers 44 (31.2%) obtained postgraduate degrees (20 PhD-s and 24 Masters degrees). In comparison to Canadian records of
5 % to 10%, it is a notable achievement. From among the 97, who did not work in research, 3 or 4 received secondary qualifications to teach in high schools and one returned to UBC to become a medical doctor. From among the same 97 graduates 71 (73.2%) worked in the forest industry, 23 (23.7%) in other fields and 3 (3.1%) returned to Hungary.

Table 5

A questionnaire was sent out to 39 individuals because two graduates worked in research without postgraduate diplomas and the seven who were deceased (44+2-7=39). From among these, 30 replies were received (15 PhD and 15 MD), with three of them stating, that they were not willing to participate. Consequently, there were 27 usable responses. From among those who had MD-s, very few publication were available, since many of them worked on research that did not required publications or they were bound by secrecy agreements. Most of those who had PhD-s were teaching at universities and conducted their research for the purpose of publications, since their advancement dependent on them. The following two tables give an overview of the number of publications and the prorated numbers including those, who did not participate in the survey:



Tables 6 and 7


Following is the list of the various fields of research from the questionnaires:


Silviculture, Forest protection, Pulp and paper, Forest management, Entomology, Wood anatomy, Photogrammetry, Pathology, Timber engineering, Forest measurements, Fire protection, Non-destructive tests, Modeling, Soils erosion, Machine grading, Applied statistics, Forest soils, Conservation, Ecology, Meteorology, Park management, Regeneration, Wood technology, Landscape planning, Wood chemistry, Agriculture(livestock), Adhesives.



It is my opinion that, based on the above surveys, we may be very proud of the Sopron Students, who graduated in Vancouver. I also believe that their achievements will help to provide foundations for a bridge connecting the Hungarian and the World knowledge of forest research.


Imre Ötvös compiled a similar survey about the Sopron students who worked in the forest industry, in government offices and as private consultants. Their achievements are on a similar scale. It is a known fact that there were great advancements in British Columbia in the fields of reforestation, forest management and fire protection from the 1960-s on till the New Century, when many of the Sopron students retired. Many officials consider these achievements to be connected to this group of Hungarian-Canadian forest engineers. However, there is no scientific proof of this. Nevertheless, we would like to believe that the Hungarian foresters played an important role in those advancements.




Return to the Top.


Home   *   About Us   *   Contact Us  *   News Archives   *   Site Map