One hundred years ago, the new University of British Columbia opened its doors with few resources, modest ambitions, and a strong resolve. Our founders welcomed UBC’s first students in 1915 with a promise to “provide a satisfactory education” and to conduct “respectable” research.
What a difference a century makes! UBC’s best – now acknowledged to rank among the best in the world – have proved that we can aim much higher. Working together, our faculty, staff, and students have demonstrated that our pursuit of excellence in learning, teaching, and research is making a lasting and positive difference to our world.
UBC has grown from a provincial institution with just 379 students to an internationally renowned research powerhouse with 60,000 students and more than 300,000 alumni across the globe. Wherever they may be, our talented and curious graduates are building upon their education to enrich the social, environmental, and economic sectors of their society, and contributing to the well-being of their fellow citizens.
UBC research, meanwhile, has expanded the scope of human understanding and advanced innovations that promote prosperity and offer solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges. A century on, we have far surpassed our first, modest promise – even as we have expanded our reach across Canada and around the world.
Looking back, we recognize how our past can shape our future. UBC established its two remarkable campuses on lands that for millennia have been the territory of the Musqueam and Okanagan nations. And if we began with insufficient understanding of the history, the needs, and the ambitions of these and other Aboriginal communities, we are firm today in our commitment to partnerships that will ensure that history is acknowledged and honoured, and our mutual aspirations shared.
Looking forward, our future is unwritten. What we learn, discover, and contribute together will depend on the strength of our connections – to all of our communities, local and global. This Centennial offers the occasion to celebrate a century of success, and to rededicate ourselves to the goals of an exceptional learning environment, true global citizenship, a civil and sustainable society, and a program of outstanding research, all in the service of the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world.
I hope you will join us on this exciting journey! In the words of the UBC motto: “Tuum est” – it is yours.
Dr. Martha C. Piper
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Source: UBC Centennial
Photo credit: UBC/Martin Dee