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Letters from Santa

Looking back on 2017, looking forward to 2018

December 11, 2017
Dear friends: December is traditionally a time to reflect back on the year that was and to look forward to the year to come. Looking over my blog posts over the past year, I’m struck by UBC’s many accomplishments in 2017: We began work in earnest on the new strategic plan. The planning process – […]

The Blue & Gold campaign: Change their world so they can change ours

November 27, 2017
Earlier this year, I wrote in this space  that we need to support the UBC students who are determined to make a better world. As I wrote at the time, “Thank goodness for the dreamers among our world’s youth. It is because of them that I remain hopeful about the future of Planet Earth.” But […]

Going global: Our future depends on it

November 14, 2017
Is Canada prepared for the challenges that lie ahead? That was the question that I – and the other members of the Study Group on Global Education – asked ourselves this year as we looked at Canada’s approach to global education. Our conclusion: Canada is not ready. Our young people are not ready. And we […]

Building a better Canada

October 30, 2017
As Canada’s 150th anniversary year draws to a close, this is a good time to reflect on this country, its history and its future. Canada has much to be proud of – our contributions to both global peacekeeping and defence against tyranny, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our welcoming of Syrian refugees, our scientific […]

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 […]

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