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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 4| Apr. 1, 2004

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.

Thank you.
Martha C. Piper

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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