Dear Members of the UBC Community:
I hope you and your loved ones are well.
The university made the very difficult decision in March to cancel in-person graduation ceremonies in order to follow provincial health guidelines.
We promised then we would work on a virtual ceremony so we can honour our graduating students for their achievements.
It takes dedication, perseverance and commitment to earn a degree – not to mention a lot of hard work and more than a few sleepless nights.
And I know the team at UBC that continues to design our virtual ceremonies is putting in some very long hours to make sure we can give our graduating students an event to remember.
That work is not over yet, but I’m pleased to say virtual ceremonies for the class of 2020 will be held on Wednesday June 17 – one for students graduating from UBC Vancouver, and one ceremony for students graduating from UBC Okanagan.
The ceremonies will include many elements of a traditional ceremony, and some unique ones as well.
I know what an important event this is for our faculty members, in particular, to see our students successfully completing their years of study. While I understand this virtual ceremony will not be the same as seeing our students graduate in person, it is an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate their outstanding achievements.
Being a virtual ceremony also means it can be opened up to our entire community, so I encourage you, whether you know someone who is graduating or not, to join us. It is more important than ever that we stay connected, support and celebrate each other. I would also like to reiterate that UBC is committed to holding an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 when it is safe to do so.
The team will provide more details of the virtual ceremonies online in the coming weeks. Vancouver students should check graduation.ubc.ca and Okanagan students should go to graduation.ok.ubc.ca for more information.
Of course the ceremonies team is not alone in tackling complex issues at UBC during COVID-19.
UBC Okanagan’s Health, Safety and Environment group and UBC Vancouver’s Safety and Risk Services have been working to coordinate campus response to COVID-19 for months.
In Vancouver, the emergency management team enacted the Emergency Operations Centre – or EOC. The EOC helps ensure that decisions are made quickly and efficiently. Processes that would normally take weeks to finalize can be mapped out and agreed to in record time. More than 100 people from across the university work through the EOC structure.
The UBCO Health, Safety and Environment team has been coordinating its response through the Infectious Disease and Pandemic Planning Committee and follows similar practices as UBC Vancouver. Both teams have been in regular communication with each other to share resources and information.
There are far too many people involved across the campuses to thank them all individually, so on behalf of the university, thank you all for your outstanding work and commitment to keeping our campuses and operations safe and healthy for students, faculty and staff.
We also have many students, both current and former, making a difference in the community as we navigate COVID-19.
UBC nursing double alumna and clinical nurse specialist at Vancouver General Hospital Jenifer Tabamo saw the loneliness some of her patients were experiencing and wanted to help.
She and a team of experts from the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre designed a way to attach iPads to an articulated arm connected to repurposed hospital equipment.
The result is the devices are now more accessible to patients in hospital beds and those patients can better video chat with family and loved ones, play games, listen to music and feel connected to the world around them even when physical distancing requirements mean they can’t have visitors.
It’s a great story and an important reminder that while we are all experiencing COVID-19 in unique ways, connection, however you find it, can help.
You can read Jenifer’s story and others at news.ubc.ca.
And as has become traditional in my video messages to you, I’ll end with a musical selection. This one features me on cello and incoming UBC School of Music 1st year student Simon Proulx, playing Bach’s Air on a G String. Simon joins the Class of 2024 from Oak Park High School in Winnipeg and is currently studying with Chris Byman. He will be studying with Jose Franch-Ballester at UBC.
Stay safe and best wishes.
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Today's #SongsofComfort contribution features incoming UBC School of Music 1st year student Simon Proulx. He performs Bach's Air on G String. He joins the Class of 2024 from Oak Park High School in Winnipeg and is currently studying with Chris Byman. He will be studying with Jose Franch-Ballester at UBC.