B.A,’60, Hon LL.D.’97
Dr. Haig Farris has a B.A from UBC, a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (LLB) and an honorary doctorate from UBC (1997). After practicing law for 5 years at the Vancouver firm of Farris & Company, Mr. Farris cofounded the financial consulting firm of Brown, Farris & Jefferson and later with the same partners co-founded the Ventures West Management venture capital group. Since 1990, as the President of Fractal Capital Corporation, Mr. Farris has provided early stage financing to high technology start-ups and resource exploration and service technology companies. He is currently a Director and co-founder of four UBC spin-out companies: D-Wave Systems, a quantum computing company, Zymeworks Inc., a drug design company, Creatus, a plant genetics company, and Tech-X, a mineral exploration company using advance geophysical and machine learning techniques to identify potential mineral deposits in BC.
Dr. Farris was an Adjunct Professor at UBC for 10 years and taught an entrepreneurship course for graduate Science, Engineering and MBA students. He is a past President of the UBC Alumni Association and past chair of the Presidents Committee for the UBC Library. He is chair of the advisory committee for UBC Center for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at Vancouver Children's Hospital. In 2002, he received the Blythes Eagle Award for community service from the UBC Alumni Association.
Dr. Farris has served and continues to serve on numerous Boards in the science and technology industry. He is a past Chair of the Science Council of BC and a past member of the BC Premiers Advisory Committee on Science and Technology. He was a member of the founding Board of Directors of Genome BC and a past director of the BC Technology Industry Association and the BC Chapter of the Manning Awards organization. At the federal level he has served on the NSERC and IRAP granting councils and the NRC Triumf National Lab Advisory Council. He is co-chair of the Advisory Committee and an associate of the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management.
For over 10 years he has been a board member of the Pacific Institute of Mathematics and initiated funding for its First Nations Math Training program. Dr. Farris has also served or is serving on many volunteer boards, including NSERC, IRAP, the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Vancouver Opera, the Vancouver Playhouse, the Vancouver Foundation, the Waterfront Theatre, NRC Advisory Committee for Triumf and recently Quest University.
He is a frequent conference speaker, lecturer and author of numerous articles on the topics of science awareness, venture investing, and the management of high-technology companies. He was a co- founder of Science World British Columbia, serving for 7 years as a vice-president, director and Chair of the founding Capital Campaign. In 1989 he was named a "Friend of Science World" in honour of his work.
He was an associate producer in the Broadway, New York and Washington productions of Billy Bishop goes to War and along with Lewis Allen, initiated the Disney movie production of Never Cry Wolf. He was a founding member of the Vancouver civic political party TEAM (The Electors Action Movement) which dominated Vancouver politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Mr. Farris was named a Pioneer of Innovation by the Vancouver Board of Trade and was also awarded the Bill Thompson Career Achievement Award by the BC Technology Industry Association in 2001. Dr. Farris is also the recipient of the Commemorative Medals of Canada for the Silver and Golden Jubilees of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for service to the community, U of T’s The Capital Award in recognition of his role in developing the Canadian venture capital industry and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2016.