Dear members of the UBC community.
I’d like to start off by congratulating Dr. Susan Porter, Dean and Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, on receiving the Debra W. Stewart Award for Outstanding Leadership in Graduate Education from the Council of Graduate Schools, for her passionate advocacy and invaluable contributions to UBC and the international graduate education community. This is a tremendous and well-deserved honour and UBC is proud of Dr. Porter and what she has accomplished.
I’d also like to thank the entire UBC community for its support for the United Way. Despite the pandemic, we exceeded our goal once again. Congratulations to the UBC United Way cabinet for their amazing work!
Today, February 1, is the first day of Black History Month.
And while we should celebrate Black history and excellence any day and every day, this is an opportunity for a focused, intentional, and elevated reflection and recognition of Black history and achievement – and the many contributions of Black Canadians, Black British Columbians, and Black students, faculty, and staff at UBC.
This is also a timely opportunity to – both as individuals and as a university community – reaffirm and critically reflect on our commitments and efforts to acknowledge and tackle anti-Black racism, and to better recruit, retain, and support Black students, faculty, and staff.
To that end, a number of initiatives are under way, including forthcoming efforts to develop recruitment awards and a mentorship program for Black students, supports for intentional Black spaces and associated resources, and ongoing efforts to advance the formation of a Black studies program.
As a university, we can play an important role in advancing awareness and understanding of Black history and experience, and together, improve Black representation and build a more inclusive UBC.
I encourage you to engage with Black history – visit events.ubc.ca and events.ok.ubc.ca for some of the upcoming events. Also check out our new website – antiracism.ubc.ca for more resources.
Together we can build a more inclusive UBC.
Stay safe and healthy.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor