Letters from Santa

Letters from Santa

UBC: The Next Century – the book!

“Inspiring people, ideas and actions for a better world.”

That’s the Vision that inspires the University of British Columbia. It’s entwined with the University’s Purpose: “Pursuing excellence in research, learning and engagement to foster global citizenship and advance a sustainable and just society across British Columbia, Canada and the world.” (You can read more about UBC’s Vision and Purpose on the strategic plan website.

UBC’s Vision and Purpose vividly come to life in a new book about the university, UBC: The Next Century (Figure 1 Publishing, 2019). The book, written by acclaimed British Columbia author Tyee Bridge, shows how UBC as an institution, and how its people – students, faculty, staff and alumni – are implementing that vision and achieving that purpose. This book is not intended to be a history of the University of British Columbia – that fascinating story has already been told several times before, most notably in Eric Damer and Herbert Rosengarten’s monumental UBC: The First 100 Years (UBC, 2009). Instead, UBC: The Next Century provides a look at UBC today, while celebrating the accomplishments of its graduates, its students, its teachers and researchers and its leaders.

In the book’s pages you will find portraits of well-known UBC personalities such as David Suzuki and Frank Wesbrook. But you’ll also read about women’s soccer pioneer Andrea Neil, AIDS activist Peter Jepson-Young, broadcast journalist Neetu Garcha and nursing professor Barbara Pesult. You will also find the familiar story of UBC’s origins and its growth from a small regional institution to one of the world’s top research universities. But in it you’ll also find a different history: UBC: The Next Century takes a candid look at UBC’s relations with the Musqueam and the Syilx Okanagan Nation and our uneven record on equality and diversity, among other subjects.

The book also delves into student life at UBC – past and present – with entertaining stories (and photos) about Engineering pranks, student journalism, snowball fights and the Day of the Longboat.

Reading through the pages of UBC: The Next Century, I’m overcome with a sense of pride in the people who have made UBC what it is. The author has done an excellent job of capturing UBC as it was, as it is and as it aspires to be.

The author concludes: “As UBC enters its second century, the trends shaping our collective future are disruptive and dynamic. The coming decades will be full of promise, uncertainty and compelling challenges that will require innovation and ethical courage. We need leaders at every level.

“Back in 1922, UBC students had the pluck to take the Tuum Est (It Is Yours) motto to heart and demand a better university and a better future for themselves. Over the ensuing decades, the UBC community has revised and expanded that time-honoured dictum to mean something along the lines of ‘The world is yours to improve, restore and protect.’

“Here’s hoping that UBC students keep it up—and that their university continues to provoke and inspire leadership, generosity and deep approaches to sustainability in Canada and around the globe.”

Reading UBC: The Next Century, I am excited and confident about the University of British Columbia as it heads into its next century. As you read this book, I hope you share my excitement.

Please come to the official book launch on Monday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. at the UBC Bookstore. You can find details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2312400628828978/

(UBC: The Next Century is available at the UBC Bookstore, Indigo-Chapters and other bookstores.)

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor



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