VANCOUVER — Premier Gordon Campbell and UBC president Stephen Toope celebrated the
centenary of the 1908 University Act that created UBC as B.C.’s first post-secondary institution today,
signing a rededication of the act exactly 100 years after its original March 7, 1908 signing.
“For 100 years, the University of British Columbia has played an important role in the personal
growth of thousands of students, and in the growth of B.C. as a province,” said Campbell. “Today we
honour a century of accomplishments and milestones. At the same time, we look towards new frontiers
for UBC students and faculty to explore, and to a bright future for this distinguished institution.”
“We are honoured and delighted to celebrate the centenary of UBC,” said Toope. “UBC’s
founders set us on the path we walk today, and we are daily in the debt of the provincial overnment
for its ongoing support.”
Construction at UBC Vancouver began in 1914 but halted due to World War I and didn’t
resume until 1923, following the historic Great Trek of 1922 when 1,200 students marched from a
temporary campus near 12th and Cambie to the Point Grey campus, urging the provincial government
to continue building UBC.
In honour of the centenary, UBC has launched a new audio tour to guide campus visitors
through the university’s past and present. Commissioned by the Alumni Association, it enables visitors
to take self-guided cellphone tours of 15 campus landmarks, including the new Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and the University Centre — site of the 1968 Faculty Club student invasion. The tour
can be seen and heard at www.alumni.ubc.ca/100.
“UBC is one of the world’s great universities, but I believe its greatest contributions have yet to
be realized,” Toope added. “In our first century, we have built the foundation necessary to propel a
great city, a great province and a great nation into a new century of challenges and opportunities.”
Other upcoming centenary events include a visit by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and
microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunis, who will receive a UBC honorary degree and participate in a
colloquium on corporate social responsibility; UBC Celebrate Research Week, a public showcase
March 4-13 that focuses on UBC research that touches lives and communities, and the Dream Healer
opera and accompanying mental health symposium. For more information on centenary events, visit
Global top 40: UBC consistently ranks among the world top 40 universities. In 2007, UBC placed 33rd and
36th, respectively, in the respected Times Higher Education (U.K.) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Students: Enrolment has grown from 379 in 1915 to more than 48,000 in 2008, including more than 8,700
graduate students and 5,800 international students from 130 countries.
Nobel winners: The late Michael Smith earned the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on
programming segments of DNA. Professor John Robinson was a member of an intergovernmental team of
climate change researchers who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007. Nobel laureate Carl
Wieman, who is working to improve science education, joined UBC in 2006.
Patent powerhouse: UBC ranks in the top 10 universities in the world in creating spin-off companies, and
has ranked ahead of MIT and Stanford in US patents filed and spin-offs formed per $100 million US.
Leader in Campus Sustainability: UBC was Canada’s first and only university to receive Green Campus
Recognition from the U.S.-based National Wildlife Federation.
Community Service-Learning: Since 1999, thousands of UBC community members — students, staff,
faculty, and alumni — have volunteered at inner city schools and non-profit organizations through UBC’s
Top employer: UBC employs over 12,600 people in full-time faculty and staff positions. With more than
19,000 faculty and staff, UBC is Metro Vancouver’s third-largest employer. It is recognized as one of B.C.’s
Top 30 Employers in Mediacorp’s annual rankings.
Alumni: There are more than 240,000 UBC alumni in 120 countries, including Nobel laureate, economist
Robert Mundell, former Canadian prime ministers Kim Campbell and John Turner, the late author and
historian Pierre Berton, Man-in-Motion Rick Hansen and opera singers Ben Heppner and Judith Forst.
Beyond Point Grey: In addition to UBC Vancouver — B.C.’s oldest and largest post-secondary campus — the
university has grown to include a downtown presence (Learning Exchange Storefront, 2000; UBC Robson
Square, 2001), UBC Okanagan (2005) and an Asia-Pacific Regional Office in Hong Kong (2005).
B.C.’s Faculty of Medicine: UBC is home to the only Faculty of Medicine in B.C., which provides
innovative education and research programs in the areas of health and life sciences and puts a UBC teaching
presence throughout the province’s hospitals.
Economic impact: UBC’s total economic impact amounts to $6.3 billion in Metro Vancouver income and
over 39,700 jobs.
Library: UBC Library is the second-largest research library in Canada. It houses over 5.4 million volumes,
and includes the largest Asian language collection in Canada.
Research funding: In 2007, research funding totalled more than $485,600,000, mainly from federal and
$1-billion club: UBC is one of only 76 North American universities with an endowment worth more than
$1-billion to support learning and research.
For more information, visit www.ubc.ca.
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