June 2022



Welcome to the June 2022 issue of Letter to the Board, a regular communication to members of the UBC Board of Governors.


Peter A. Allard, QC, 1946 – 2022

We are deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Mr. Peter A. Allard, QC (BA’68, LLB ’71). I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to Mr. Allard’s family on behalf of the entire UBC community. He will be deeply missed. A lawyer, businessman and philanthropist, Mr. Allard has made an indelible mark on UBC and Canada through his philanthropy and service as champion of human rights and social justice.

The UBC community offers our deepest sympathies to Mr. Allard’s family, as well as the many people throughout Vancouver, British Columbia, and beyond whose lives have been touched by his kindness and leadership.


Welcome Arig al Shaibah

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Arig al Shaibah as the new Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion, starting July 1, 2022.

In this role, Dr. al Shaibah will work to advance human rights, planning and evaluation, education, and systems change across the university. She will also be exploring ways to provide leadership for accessibility, and in partnership with other units, help implement the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force recommendations, and the university’s implementation of the inclusion action plan. Dr. al Shaibah will lead the Equity and Inclusion Office working in partnership with units across both campuses to embed equity, diversity, inclusion and access into the structure, policies and processes of UBC.


Thanks to our donors and alumni

Over the past year, UBC has maintained its urgent optimism to help find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges and educate the next generation who will lead us. Donors and alumni continue to engage generously with UBC to inspire people, ideas and actions for a better world.

In the last fiscal year, we raised $227.8M in support of students, research, teaching and learning, facilities and community engagement and 86,181 alumni engaged with us through various platforms, programs, and publications. Alumni UBC’s five-year strategic plan, Connecting Forward, also concluded. Over the plan’s term, UBC engaged 177,344 alumni – almost 50% of our total alumni body – through 1,957,239 interactions.

UBC is grateful for the immense generosity of our donors and engagement with our alumni – together we are creating new possibilities.


New UBC Vancouver student residences opens with gifted names from Musqueam

Earlier this month, I had the honour of participating in a special naming ceremony hosted by xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band) for five new UBC Vancouver student residences.

The buildings, initially called UBC Pacific Residence, were collectively gifted the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ name tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ (The Houses of the Ones Belonging to the Saltwater) by Musqueam in the spring of 2021.

UBC is deeply honoured to be gifted these hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ names from Musqueam, and we respectfully acknowledge that gift. UBC’s 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan pledges to enrich our campus spaces with a stronger Indigenous presence, and we commit to being good stewards of the names that have been entrusted to us.

It is our hope that through these names and the buildings’ design that residents and guests will develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of Musqueam history and storytelling.


Province invests $50m in UBC projects

I would like to thank the provincial government for its $25-million investment in the UBC School of Biomedical Engineering and for its $24.9 investment in expanded space for physical therapist training in Surrey.

Construction on the $139-million biomedical engineering building will begin summer 2022, and teaching and learning will begin in the building in early 2025. The new, five-storey facility will have classrooms and learning spaces on the lower floors, with research labs and spaces on the upper floors. The building will consolidate classroom and lab spaces currently hosted in 24 buildings on the Vancouver campus.

With provincial support, UBC has purchased the second floor of the City Centre 1 building in Surrey adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The space will be transformed to create teaching laboratories and multi-purpose space which will be used for a range of activities from assessment and treatment to education and health promotion, seminar and break-out rooms, student learning commons, research labs and offices for faculty, and administration workspace for the Master of Physical Therapy program.

UBCO’s Skeena Residence is the first student residence in Canada to receive Passive House certification

The Skeena Residence, an integral part of UBCO’s recently announced Climate Action Plan, is the first student residence in Canada to receive the Passive House certification—a stringent set of efficient design and construction standards. The building features thick insulation, an airtight and high-efficiency building envelope and a heat recovery ventilation system, requiring one-third the amount of energy of a typical residence building. Find out more here.

Celebrating Graduation in Person!

On June 10, we completed UBC’s first in-person Spring graduation ceremonies since 2019. I was thrilled to participate in the ceremonies at the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses, and to celebrate with the thousands of graduates and their families. You can relive the joyful moments at graduation.ubc.ca.


News from around UBC

Faculty of Applied Sciences: More than 400 antimicrobial copper patches have been installed on door handles and railings in Applied Science buildings. When installed on high-touch surfaces, copper will eliminate up to 99.9 per cent of harmful bacteria within two hours of contact. • Applied Science and the Fraunhofer’s Institute for Experimental Software Engineering and Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology have set up a framework for research collaboration in the field of industrial digital transformation. • Architects Against Housing Alienation, a collective led by SALA faculty, has been selected to represent Canada at the Venice Architecture Biennale. • A new high-tech mouthguard could pave the way for safer hockey, by tracking head impacts during games and training.

Peter A. Allard School of Law: A new $225,000 gift will provide funding for Indigenous law students entering the Allard School of Law. • Dr. Carol Liao was named Woman of the Year by BCBusiness in the Equity and Inclusion Champion category. • In recognition of his exceptional teaching, Professor Johnny Mack was this year’s recipient of the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and a recipient of UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize.

The Faculty of Dentistry has partnered with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver to establish a three dental chair clinic at the Rosewood Clinic. DMD and DHDP students will rotate through the clinic providing care and educational instruction to the residents and surrounding community. This clinic was funded by an UBC Excellence Award in 2016, submitted by Professor Ed Yen and Dr. Leeann Donnelly.  Scheduled opening is for fall 2022.

The Faculty of Education welcomes Dr. Kenneth Miller, who will serve as the inaugural Edith Lando Professor in Counselling for Refugee and Immigrant Youth and Families. Dr. Miller has published extensively on the mental health effects of armed conflict and displacement, and works to effect change in cooperation with non-government organizations operating in war-affected countries. More.

Faculty of Land and Food Systems: Crystal Karakochuk has been named a new CIHR Canada Research Chair in Micronutrients and Human Health (Tier 2). Crystal is an Assistant Professor in the Food, Nutrition and Health program with strong collaborations in the province, working as an Investigator at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Women’s Health Research Institute. •  Maja Krzic, an associate professor jointly appointed in Land and Food Systems and Forestry, is a 2022 Canadian Society of Soil Science (CSSS) Fellow. She has been transforming online education by initiating and leading the development of open, online soil educational tools used by Canadian and international post-secondary institutions. This award recognizes CSSS members with a distinguished record of accomplishment in soil science and service to society.

Faculty of Medicine: The new Black Student MD Admissions Pathway has been officially launched and open to applications. This Pathway is the foundational step that the Faculty of Medicine is taking to help increase the representation of Black students within the MD program. We recognize that this is just the beginning and more needs to be done, such as increasing the recruitment of Black mentors and role models. The Faculty remains committed to working collaboratively with various stakeholders to achieve this. Details regarding the new Pathway can be found here. You can also read more here.

UBC Okanagan: Dr. Greg Garrard was announced as dean pro tem for the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. UBCO celebrated the annual Researchers of the Year Awards and the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. The 2022 Aspire-2040 Learning Transformations (ALT-2040) fund award recipients have been announced. The ALT-2040 Fund supports program development, curriculum transformations, student experience enhancement and educational resource development that accelerates the curricular vision in UBC’s strategic planning documents Outlook 2040 and UBC’s Strategic Plan, Shaping UBC’s Next CenturyUBC hosted an international event to discuss climate change and the wine industry. A new UBCO mural is taking shape in a popular Kelowna neighbourhood. •  Opened in 2011, the Southern Medical Program (SMP) has graduated more than 215 doctors, helping to improve health care for patients and families in B.C. It is one of four sites within UBC’s broader distributed medical education program, which is training the next generation of medical students and resident doctors around the province. Find out more here.

UBC Sauder: Distinguished Scholar and Associate Professor at the Peter A Allard School of Law and Director of the Centre for Business Law, Dr. Carol Liao has been recognized as an Equity and Inclusion champion by the 2022 BC Business Women of the Year awards. Dr. Liao works to shine a spotlight on the need for sustainable business strategies and actions that address climate change, as well as the vital need for anti-racist organizations and increased intersectional diversity in boardrooms. • UBC Sauder PhD alum Professor Leonardo J. Basso and his team at the Instituto Sistemas Complejos de Ingeneria in Chile (ISCI) created a national COVID-19 analytics tool and won the 2022 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award, the leading operations research and analytics award. ISCI, in partnership with the Chilean Ministries of Health and Sciences and telecom company Entel, developed innovative methodologies and tools, including a nationwide serology surveillance program, that helped Chile shape its strategy against COVID-19.


As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you  at the full meeting of the Board on June 29.


Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor