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 – led first by Professor Emma Cunliffe and later by Professor Andrew Szeri (vice-president academic and provost) and Professor Gail Murphy (vice-president research & innovation) – is almost complete. I would like to thank everybody who has participated – whether as a member of a task force or committee or by attending an open house or filling out an online survey. Your input has been invaluable, and I am pleased to say that the plan is approaching conclusion and will be presented to the UBC Board of Governors for approval early next year.
- Thanks to a $1-million donation from Microsoft Corporation, we established the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative with the University of Washington in February. The new centre brings together academic researchers, students and community members to address urban issues facing citizens of the Cascadia region.
- More than 1,000 people came to the UBC Vancouver campus to participate in the raising of Reconciliation Pole on April 1. The Pole tells the story of the time before, during, and after the Indian residential school system – a system that began in the 1800s and ended with the last school closure in 1996.
- We joined with the University of Tokyo and Germany’s Max Planck Society to establish the Max Planck – UBC – UTokyo Centre for Quantum Materials. The signing of the agreement in April represents the culmination of decades of informal collaboration and will create one of the world’s foremost centres for research in this field.
- Thousands of UBC students received their degrees in graduation ceremonies in the spring and fall. UBC also awarded honourary degrees to five outstanding Canadians, including our own Judith Hall.
- In September we welcomed thousands of new and returning students to our campuses.
- Also that month, I gave a TEDx talk about overcoming the stigma of mental illness and how we need to support young people struggling with mental health issues.
- We celebrated the 50thanniversary of the Order of Canada in November with a day-long series of events that included workshops on building a better Canada and talks by Order of Canada recipients David Suzuki, Shelagh Rogers, Sophie Pierre, Trevor Linden and Wade Davis.
- In late November, UBC launched the Blue & Gold Campaign, an ambitious effort to raise $100 million in student support over three years.
Of course, much of what happened at UBC in 2017 didn’t make it into my blog – such as the opening of Brock Commons Tallwood House, the visit of the prime minister and his caucus to UBC Okanagan, the opening of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, the celebration of alumni UBC’s 100th anniversary, and the Beyond #MeToo and #IWill: Changing Workplace Culture discussion panel.
The coming year promises to be a memorable one as well. Check this blog for news about the implementation of the strategic plan, the opening of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, and of course graduation ceremonies and orientation events and much more news and events.
I wish all the members of the UBC family a joyous holiday season and a wonderful year ahead. And thank you for making this university great.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor