President's Message:

A class with the knack to acquire, apply and adapt new knowledge

As the Class of 1999, you have the interesting distinction of comprising the last cohort of UBC students to graduate in the 20th century and the first group of UBC alumni to carry a new range of knowledge into the next millennium.

Just as our first graduates in 1916 earned their degrees during a period of significant social transformation, you too, have been engaged in formal learning when the world is in the midst of sweeping, global change. But unlike the changes that characterized the first part of this century, the changes that have defined the latter part of it are based on knowledge with a capital "K."

We have constructed a Knowledge Society, and our economic prosperity and social well-being will increasingly centre around lifelong learners who have the knack of acquiring, applying, and adapting theoretical and analytical knowledge. As such, your education at UBC has provided you with a vital foundation for personal and professional development.

In the context of this Knowledge Society, what can you anticipate for your life in the 21st century? Patterns of work are changing. You may embark upon several careers for many different organizations. You may secure employment that takes you to other countries or otherwise crosses international boundaries. You may live and work in environments that require an understanding of many disciplines, rather than a concentration in one field.

Whatever the particular parameters of your career, one thing is certain: formal education no longer ends with Congregation. Your life as a UBC alum will involve a process of continual learning and educational renewal. Whether you return to UBC for further studies or learn over the Internet or undertake courses in a corporate or non-profit setting, the rapidity with which research and knowledge are evolving means learning will be critical to social and economic resiliency.

UBC, your alma mater, will continue to be an intellectual catalyst for its students and prepare them to meet the opportunities, challenges, and needs of a knowledge-based society. It will be a vibrant research and learning centre and will reach out to its community and to the country to help build a strong, prosperous, and compassionate society. As UBC alumni, you are crucial to this undertaking. You are each a repository, a conduit, and a creator of knowledge. I am confident that the Class of 1999 will distinguish itself by generating the new ideas and creative initiatives that will benefit us all in the next millennium.

Martha C. Piper, President