UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 4| Apr.
Welcome UBC Okanagan!
Dr. Martha Piper’s speech on March 17 in Kelowna marking
the merger of Okanagan University College with UBC
It is an honour and a privilege for UBC to have been asked
by the government to work with the people in this region to
develop a distinctive research-intensive university right
here in the Okanagan -- a university that will build on the
achievements of Okanagan University College and the history
of the University of British Columbia.
There is no issue facing the B.C. post-secondary community
that is more critical than access. Many dedicated individuals
in this community have been working to address this concern,
and today’s announcement signals that their voices have
been heard. The establishment of UBC Okanagan will open up
7,500 new UBC seats by 2009, right here in the fastest growing
region of the province -- with 900 new university seats being
made available as soon as September 2005. And, the first UBC
degrees will be granted in May 2006, with all students graduating
from that day forward receiving University of British Columbia
degrees -- full stop -- one university, one degree. Clearly,
this new campus will be the source of talent and people power
for years to come -- providing opportunities for both graduate
and undergraduate students.
To assist in this endeavour, we are also pleased to announce
today the creation of 1,000 new student residence spaces to
meet the housing and social needs of students studying here.
In addition, our UBC student financial assistance policy,
backed by our $650 million endowment, will ensure that no
qualified domestic student will be denied access to UBC Okanagan
on the basis of financial need. And, we will work collaboratively
with the new college and its regional campuses to offer university
credit courses and an integrated college transfer program.
But there is more to today’s announcement than new
opportunities for students. UBC Okanagan will be a research
intensive university -- one that will bring the research strengths
of UBC to the Okanagan. Whether it be our international ranking,
our annual research funding of over $377 million per year,
or our ability to spin off companies into the economy, UBC
Okanagan will be an economic driver -- helping to diversify
the economy and enhance the quality of life for all British
Columbians. What took UBC nearly 100 years to achieve in research
excellence will be immediately available for the region.
Today’s announcement also brings our commitment to
work with the community and OUC students, faculty and staff
to build a distinctive campus with programs and research that
meet the Okanagan’s needs. To that end, we are grateful
that Brad Bennett has agreed to chair the UBC Okanagan Advisory
Council and to serve as a member of UBC’s Board of Governors.
We know his leadership, insight, and support will be critical
in building this great campus and aligning its goals to the
aspirations of the region.
On October 28, 1922, almost 1,200 students participated
in UBC’s historic Great Trek, the march and demonstration
that persuaded the provincial government of the day to go
forward with its plans to build the first great campus of
UBC in the Lower Mainland. Today, almost 82 years later, we
are responding to the call of the people to this government
to build the second great campus of UBC, right here in the
Okanagan. It is in the spirit of the Great Trek that we celebrate
today’s announcement, and pledge to honour the efforts
of those who have gone before us.
The Great Trek of the 21st century: One great university,
Two great campuses. I know you will all join me in doing everything
we can to make this vision a reality.
Martha C. Piper