Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre
Thank you everyone, and thank you especially to Iggy Chong.
We are so lucky at UBC to have alumni – and friends – like Iggy, who works so hard on our behalf as Chair of our Hong Kong Alumni UBC Leadership Council.
And now, as if we needed further proof of his commitment to UBC, Iggy got on a plane from Hong Kong purely for the purpose of joining us here tonight.
So, thank you Iggy Chong, and welcome! UBC is so lucky to have such friends.
And now, to us all: Happy New Year!
It is wonderful tonight to be able to celebrate 10 years of this UBC Lunar New Year event.
This annual celebration is a testament to the value that we at UBC place on our relationships with the Asian community, at home and abroad.
And given that this is the largest Lunar New Year event yet, I am honoured to see, by your presence and ongoing support, that you all value that relationship every bit as much.
Your support is one of the things that has brought UBC to its current national status and international acclaim.
Consider that UBC now has 325,000 living alumni in 140 countries throughout the world: including 3 Canadian prime ministers, 10 3M National Teaching Fellows, 208 Royal Society of Canada members, 69 Rhodes Scholars, and 65 Olympic medalists.
Among the highlights I might mention:
Our new Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is now complete and will open officially in the spring;
We also have opened: our new UBC School of Biomedical Engineering; the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (QMI) addition; the National Soccer Development Centre; and another tranche of student residences.
And we have started public consultation regarding a new residential neighbourhood and a new Thunderbird Stadium.
Thanks to the Canada 150 Research Chairs program, renowned computer scientist Margo Seltzer will join UBC from Harvard later this year as the Canada 150 Research Chair in Computer Systems and the Cheriton Family Chair in Computer Science
And just last week, we learned that that the Province of British Columbia will invest in 624 undergraduate spaces for domestic students at UBC’s Vancouver campus for biomedical engineering, computer science, and manufacturing engineering programs as well as new manufacturing-engineering and expanded computer-science degree programs at UBC Okanagan.
These investments by the federal and provincial governments show the confidence of senior governments in UBC.
Looking to this year, and to the more distant future: we have completed the final round of public engagement on a new UBC Strategic Plan, which we will finalize this spring …
… and which will guide us into UBC’s most promising second century.
As I have already mentioned, we are fortunate to launch that new Strategic Plan with the generous aid and support of people in this room and of those in the wider Asian community.
I’d like to give you three examples of the kinds of programs and initiatives that make such a difference to UBC, to our students, our faculty and staff and to the communities we serve.
First, I am delighted to say that, thanks to a $4.9-million donation from the China-based Liuzu Temple of Chan Buddhism, UBC will soon lead an international network of universities to advance the study of Buddhism and East Asian culture.
The Tianzhu Global Network for the Study of Buddhist Cultures will be an international partnership, including UBC, and McMaster Universities in Canada; the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard, in the U.S.; Ghent University, in Belgium; and the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, in France.
The Venerable Shi Dayuan, abbot of the Liuzu Temple, in Guangdong province, has called it “an unprecedented collaboration of top-tier research institutions.”
UBC is deeply honoured to take the lead and looks forward to hosting a Buddhist cultural festival every year, as well as an international conference, a Buddhist studies week, and a lecture series on Buddhism.
In my second example, it is my pleasure to acknowledge CV Chung, his wife Chiyeko Chung, and their son, Aaron, all of whom are UBC alumni.
CV and family have recently donated $341,000 in support of various spaces in CV’s old faculty, UBC Applied Science.
These include: the Chung Family Study Room; and the Chung Family Roof Top Deck, both in the Engineering Student Centre; and the Chung Family Meeting Room in HATCH, which is our on-campus accelerator for UBC technology ventures.
Once again, these spaces will serve the university community.
And they will remind us of the transformative impact of the Chinese community, adding to other, well-named facilities, such as: the Liu Institute for Global Issues; the Tsing Tao Centre; the Chan Centre; the C.K. Choi Building; the David Lam Management Research Centre; and this fabulous Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre.
So, thank you, so much, to the Chungs.
My third example is the UBC Geriatric Dentistry initiative at Villa Cathay, for which thanks must go to a great internal team and, especially, to the generosity and support of many others represented in the room this evening.
Thanks to the fabulous work of people like former Dean Ed Yen (who is here this evening), UBC’s 16-year-old Geriatric Dentistry program now provides geriatric dental care to the residents in 27 long-term care homes in the region.
Last summer, our team identified the Chinatown Villa Cathay as another, large long-term care home that would benefit greatly from a clinic site.
Then, with the leadership of Dr. Ken Chow, his wife Susan Chow and many others from the Chinese Canadian Dental Society, we raised more than $100,000 – in less than six weeks – and they opened a brand-new and fully equipped one-chair clinic in September.
For this, we are also grateful for the support of Dr. Tony Li, past president of the Chinese Canadian Dental Society, and his wife, Grace Li, another alum and a longstanding good friend to UBC.
The project also hast support from Carol Lee, whose remarkable family, including Robert H. Lee, Lilly Lee and Leslie Lee, has done so much for UBC.
Now, I promised you just three examples, but there is one other initiative I’d like to mention – one that is particularly close to my heart.
In November, we launched the Blue and Gold Campaign for Students.
With this, the most ambitious student-focused fundraising campaign in UBC history, we aim to raise $100 million in just three years.
And every penny will go directly to help future generations of UBC students achieve their dreams.
We will use the funds: to attract top students, to support under-represented student groups, and to provide enriched educational experiences.
In the words of the campaign, we will: Change their world so they can change ours
The official launch date was November 27th, so it was still very fresh in my mind when I made my annual visit to Hong Kong and China in December.
And now I am happy to report that, in the short time I was there, we received three major contributions to the campaign, totalling $170,000 – an amount that UBC will match.
It was a fantastic start to the Blue and Gold campaign.
It also is a compelling reminder of the strength and importance of UBC’s increasingly close connection to Hong Kong and to Asia.
In this, again, we are so lucky.
So, to everyone here this evening, and all those who are in our thoughts, I would like to say, “Thank you!”
Thank you for all that you have done – and for all that you will do – for UBC.
I truly believe that UBC can change the world – and when we do, all of you will deserve and share some of the credit.
So, thank you, and again, Happy New Year!
Now, I’d like to turn the mic back to Iggy Chong, who I believe is going to tell you a bit more about the Blue and Gold initiative.