Meet the Chancellor Candidates

Dr. Bikkar S. Lalli, PhD 1966 and Sarah Morgan-Silvester, BCom 1982
Dr. Bikkar S. Lalli, PhD 1966 and
Sarah Morgan-Silvester, BCom 1982

UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 3 | Mar. 6, 2008

Elections are now under way for the position of Chancellor of The University of British Columbia. The Chancellor presides over all major university ceremonies and is an ex officio member of the Board of Governors, the Senates and the Council of Senates.

 The position of Chancellor is prescribed in the University Act — the Centenary of which UBC is celebrating this year — which requires an election every three years by members of the Convocation. The Convocation include all graduates of UBC degree programs (including graduates of many degree programs offered by the former Okanagan University College), all members of either UBC Senate, all UBC professional librarians, and all UBC faculty members with the ranks of Professor (any grade), Instructor (any grade), or Lecturer. Emeritus, clinical, adjunct, and honorary professors are not eligible.

More than 250,000 people are eligible to vote.

Nominations closed Nov. 12, 2007, and voting for the two candidates closes April 4, 2008. Online voting is at:

UBC Reports asked the candidates to write about their qualifications and vision.

Dr. Bikkar S. Lalli, PhD 1966

I believe the role of UBC is to challenge, stimulate, and stretch the minds of its students so that they become agents of leadership, creativity and change in a multicultural society. In this global economy, higher learning is the key to achieving success for individuals and for nations. It is essential that we provide equitable access, attract quality students and encourage more young people to pursue higher learning. We must support research since it strengthens teaching and leads to innovation. My experience as a visiting scholar in institutions worldwide has provided me with a strong conviction that international collaboration among institutions of higher learning is critical to developing innovative solutions for common social problems.

My passion for education has shaped my commitment to assist others in attaining their educational dreams. I am a proud alumnus of UBC (PhD, 1966), with a successful academic career at the University of Saskatchewan, as Professor and Department Head, with over 150 research publications. Since 1999 I have served as a Convocation Senator for UBC, where I worked closely with other Senators to enable UBC to fulfill its role in the areas of teaching, research and community outreach.

The focus of some of my other volunteer work with community groups in the Lower Mainland has been the welfare of vulnerable societal groups, including seniors, women and young people. In addition to serving on the UBC Senate, I have served on the Boards of The Kwantlen Foundation and The College of Dental Technicians, and lectured on behalf of BC Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Seniors. This work has provided me with an opportunity to contribute for all the benefits that I have derived from having received a higher education.

I believe that a Chancellor can be an active ambassador between the university and the communities it serves. After spending a lifetime in institutions of higher learning in different cultural settings, combined with a thorough understanding of the problems faced by communities at the grassroots level, I believe that I can make an important contribution as an ambassador for UBC. If elected Chancellor, it would be an honour to serve and represent this prestigious institution.

Sarah Morgan-Silvester, BCom 1982

My parents came to Canada with good educations, a great deal of energy and truly nothing else. My mother was a teacher and my father was an engineer, and I was fortunate to grow up in a family that valued education. My sister and I both went to UBC, not because we knew it was a great university, but because it was far enough away from home to loosen up our social lives!

But what a great decision it turned out to be. A large part of who I am can be traced back to the time I spent as a student at UBC. During those years I developed an immense respect for the institution and for the individuals – faculty, staff and students – who made the university what it is today. That time also provided exceptional training for my career and helped me develop a sense of responsibility about my own community.

My background in business and community service is quite varied. I have taken on leadership roles in the transportation, financial service and energy sectors, and I have been a senior volunteer in organizations focussed on health, the environment and the economy. I am currently chair of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, chair of the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre Foundation, and a member of the Sauder School of Business Faculty Advisory Board.

The common thread in all my business and community involvements is people: people working together in collaboration to spark a level of creativity that individuals are rarely able to achieve.

UBC is a great university, with a quarter of a million alumni who have made their mark on our society. UBC invests in and develops human capital which, to my mind, is the most important element of a successful enterprise. As Chancellor, I will focus on engaging UBC’s wider community in the success of the university.

I am honoured to be nominated by the Alumni Association for the Chancellor’s position, and offer my thanks to them for giving me the opportunity to be a part of UBC’s future.