Dear members of the UBC community.
We begin the new year with hope, and anticipation of a better year ahead.
Already, many vulnerable seniors and frontline workers have been vaccinated in British Columbia, and we can look forward to more widescale vaccination against COVID in the coming months.
But just because vaccination has begun, it doesn’t mean that we can afford to let our guard down. COVID is still very much with us, with new more contagious strains now spreading.
Here in British Columbia, hundreds of cases are being reported every day, and thousands more across Canada. But these aren’t just statistics. These are people. They are our parents, our grandparents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and our colleagues.
It’s up to us to protect them. So please, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay within your bubble and respect the COVID guidelines that apply where you are located.
UBC has its own guidelines in place. Masks are mandatory indoors on our campuses, for example. Follow the relevant signage regarding entering, exiting or moving about within campus buildings. Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones and reach out to them, even if virtually. Together, we will get through this.
In the meantime, UBC can be proud of our response to COVID. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: our students, faculty, researchers and staff have stepped up to fight the pandemic and to help others.
UBC spinoff companies have played a prominent role in vaccines and treatments, and just this month, Doctor Josef Penninger, Director of the UBC Life Sciences Institute, was named one of the world’s 100 most inspiring people by OOOM for his world-renowned genetics research and efforts to develop a COVID19 vaccine.
This week, my shoutout is to Sukhmeet Sachal, one of the many UBC students who are doing their part to fight COVID. Sukhmeet has been raising awareness of COVID-19 precautions in the Sikh community, making it easier for members of the community to wear a mask and stay safe in a culturally relevant way. Sukhmeet, UBC is proud of you.
Finally, for my songs of comfort selection, I’d like to present UBC doctoral student Judith Valerie Engel and recent graduate Kurt Ward-Theiss performing the Beethoven song cycle “An die ferne Geliebte”. You can enjoy more of Ms Engel’s work on Instagram at
Femmepianistique and on Facebook at JudithValerieEngel.
Stay safe and healthy.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor