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Letters from Santa

Overcoming the stigma of mental illness

October 10, 2017
Recently I spoke at a TEDx  event about the need to support young people struggling with mental health issues. To mark World Mental Health Day, I have decided to adapt my talk into a blog post. Please also see the joint Globe and Mail op-ed piece that University of Toronto Chancellor Michael Wilson and I wrote about […]

Supporting the dreamers

September 18, 2017
Dear friends: As we get caught up in the day to day activities of a busy September, it’s hard to believe that it was just two weeks ago that we welcomed thousands of new students to our campuses at UBC Create and UBC Imagine. They were joyous occasions. But there were some sobering moments, too. […]

Summer at UBC

July 25, 2017
I love summer at UBC. The sunshine, the luxuriant foliage, the mountains and the ocean, the historic buildings – it all reminds me how lucky I am to work at this amazing institution. Another thing I like about walking or cycling through the campus on my way to work at this time of year is […]

Exercise Run Down: Keeping the UBC community safe

June 26, 2017
On the morning of Wednesday, June 28, UBC Risk Management will stage a large-scale emergency preparedness exercise in the area  of Agronomy Road and Main Mall on the UBC Vancouver campus. Exercise Run Down (as it’s being called), will simulate a mock vehicle attack at a running event during which the driver is shot by […]

Thank you, faculty and staff: you make UBC special

June 13, 2017
I give many speeches in my role as president and vice-chancellor of UBC. This past week alone, I’ve spoken at graduation ceremonies at UBC Okanagan, at a luncheon for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, at a dinner for the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and on other occasions. Later this week I’ll be […]

In a time of global uncertainty, innovation is more important than ever

May 30, 2017
On Friday, June 2, I will have the honour of hosting His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Open Text founder and chair Tom Jenkins, co-authors of a book on Canadian innovation called Ingenious: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, and Happier. (The book, published by […]

Tokyo trip lays building blocks for future engagement with Japan

May 10, 2017
As you may know, I recently returned from a week-long visit to Tokyo. It was the first time a UBC president has travelled to Japan since Stephen Toope went there in 2010. While there, I visited the University of Tokyo, as well as two Japanese firms that regularly hire UBC coop students. I also engaged […]

Graduation: The next stage in a remarkable journey

May 1, 2017
Now that exams are over, students, faculty and staff at UBC are getting ready for the next big event in the academic calendar – graduation. It’s a joyful time on our campuses, when graduating students, their families and friends gather to celebrate a significant milestone. From personal experience, I can tell you that one of […]

Exam anxiety? UBC can help

April 13, 2017
April in Vancouver can be amazing. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, the days are longer, and the temperature is (most days anyway!) getting warmer. April this year also brings the convergence of three holidays of deep significance to people of different faiths throughout the world: Passover, Vaisakhi and Easter. Whatever you celebrate, I wish […]

We cannot change the past, but we can honestly recognize it

April 3, 2017
This past weekend, I was honoured and humbled to participate in the raising of Reconciliation Pole at UBC’s Vancouver campus. It was gratifying to see so many people turn out for this important occasion and to hear from residential school survivors such as Elder Barney Williams and Pauline Jones (below left), who spoke with courage and candour of the […]

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