President’s Newsletter



Welcome to the September 2022 issue of Letter from Santa, a regular communication to members of the UBC community.


Homecoming 2022

Homecoming 2022 takes place today and tomorrow. Bring your friends and family to celebrate at both he Okanagan and Vancouver campuses.

Tomorrow, join us at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver, or the University Centre Ballroom in the Okanagan, for our first-ever live simulcast event featuring some of UBC’s outstanding forward thinkers. As we launch the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in UBC history, you will see how, together, we can move the world forward. More details here.


VSE receives $1M gift from Dominic Barton

UBC is grateful to Dominic Barton who has donated $1 million to the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC – the largest single gift from an individual in the school’s history.

The donation establishes the John and Barbara Barton Fellowship in Economics. Named after Barton’s parents, the endowed fellowship will award two first-year international PhD students $20,000 each annually, with the possibility of renewal for an additional year of study. Read more here.


Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Each year, September 30 marks Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Learn more about Orange Shirt Day at UBC here.


Rella Ng appointed as new Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services and Registrar

I am pleased to announce that Rella Ng is joining UBC in November as the new Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services and Registrar.

Ms. Ng is currently the Registrar at Douglas College. Prior to that, she served as Associate Registrar, Information, Records & Registration Services at Simon Fraser University. She also previously held several leadership roles within Enrolment Services at UBC.


Thirteen UBC Faculty Members Elected to the Royal Society of Canada

I’d like to congratulate the 13 UBC faculty members who have been announced by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) as new Fellows and as new Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Read more here.


Multiple Indigenous-focused initiatives receive UBC funding to help advance rights of Indigenous peoples

A diverse range of Indigenous-focused projects will receive a significant funding boost this month to help transform innovative and impactful ideas into reality. Through the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Fund (ISI Fund), UBC has committed a total of $4 million this academic year to helping advance the rights of Indigenous peoples as well as the crucial journey towards meaningful reconciliation. Read more here.


Fred Kaiser, Lily Lee Receive President’s Medal of Excellence

I was proud to bestow the UBC President’s Medal of Excellence upon Mr. Fred Kaiser and Mrs. Lily Lee this month for significant contributions to the purposes and ideals of the university. Lily Lee is a beloved philanthropist, community builder and one of UBC’s most exemplary alumni, while Fred Kaiser is an international leader in the creation of revolutionary power supply whose work has played a key role in the transformation of the high-tech economy of British Columbia. Read more here.


Twenty UBC-led Projects Awarded $4.6m in Infrastructure Funding through CFI JELF Competition

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, has announced more than $64 million to support 251 research infrastructure projects at 40 universities across the country, including 20 UBC-led projects. Read more here.


Recreation Centre North Groundbreaking

On October 4, I will have the honour of taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony for Student Recreation Centre North. The new building will provide much needed recreation space for UBC students and will feature an indoor floor area of 101,000 square feet spread over four levels, including three gymnasium courts; an indoor run, roll, walk track; cardio and weightlifting areas; multipurpose rooms; universal and gender-specific change areas; and administrative offices. Read more here.


News from around UBC

Faculty of Applied Science: Third Quadrant Design – a team of more than 60 students from disciplines including engineering and architecture – is building a net-zero student space on campus that redefines sustainable design. • Research paper from the School of Nursing disrupts stereotypes about men. • Mobile air pollution laboratory to study air quality and its impacts on health and the environment. • The School of Nursing launched an art exhibit featuring pieces by incarcerated people. • The School of Community and Regional Planning is starting a new BA Major in Urban Studies, co‑managed and co-taught with the Faculty of Arts. • Engineering’s Geering Up program provides opportunities for girls to explore STEM activities hoping to inspire them to a career in engineering.

Faculty of Land & Food Sciences: The Faculty’s Animal Welfare Program is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The program is hosting a series of events over the next eight months, and has just kicked off the first of their monthly webinars on the topic of Improving the Lives of Animals. You can find out more hereA new LFS Young Alumni Council will kick off this fall, led by the Development and Alumni Engagement team. This Council will be made up of a diverse group of leaders who will strive to increase engagement among the 3,000 alumni across the globe who have graduated in the past 10 years.

UBC Okanagan: UBCO celebrated the annual Staff Awards of Excellence at the Principal’s Town Hall. Dr. Jannik Haruo Eikenaar was appointed as Associate Provost, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism (IDEA) within the Provost and Vice-President, Academic portfolio to support the important work underway on anti-racism and inclusive excellence at UBC Okanagan. • Dr. Jian Liu, the UBC Okanagan Principal’s Research Chair in Energy Storage Technologies, is developing a solid-state lithium battery that will increase performance and stability specifically for powering EVs through an industry partnership with Fenix Advanced Materials.

Each year, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences publishes a Year in Review document. You can find the 2021-22 review here. • PhD candidate Ariana Saatchi has co-edited a new book together with Dr. David Patrick of the School of Population and Public Health. The book, titled Public Health Intervention for the COVID-19 Pandemic: From Virus to Vaccine, was published by World Scientific in April 2022.

UBC Sauder School of Business: Professor Kai Li has been announced as a new Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Professor Li is the world’s leading expert in empirical corporate finance research. Her groundbreaking critical analysis of corporate governance and innovation has transformed research on executive compensation design, shareholder monitoring, and corporate innovation. Her research on human capital and technological synergies in corporate takeovers has profound policy implications for fostering creative breakthroughs, while her pioneering approach to measuring organizational cultures has reinvigorated research on their influence on business decision-making. Dr. Li joins nine other UBC faculty named as Fellows, and three UBC faculty named as Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Professor Darren Dahl was appointed as the new Dean of the UBC Sauder School of Business. While Dean Dahl is new to this role, he is no stranger to the school. Learn more about his 30 year journey from PhD student to Dean, including some of his inspirations, research work, and insights here.

Faculty of Science: New classes and labs rolling out this year will give UBC Science students the opportunity to tackle climate change with community partners, transition into first-year as part of a data science cohort program, explore non-animal testing methods, and more.


As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on this newsletter. As this is my last issue of Letter from Santa, I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to all of you. It has been an honour and privilege to serve the University of British Columbia.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor







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