Welcome to the University of British Columbia! I am proud of UBC and not just because I was born here many years ago.
I hope you will come to share my pride. UBC consistently ranks among the top universities in the world. Our ranking is due to many things — our outstanding professors, our research breakthroughs, our beautiful campuses and also to you — our students!
You have come here from every part of BC, every province in Canada and 131 different countries from all over the world. Your diversity enriches all of us and adds to our mutual understanding and empathy.
As the world gets more disturbed and turbulent, we need those qualities more than ever. If, after your time at UBC, you achieve deeper empathy for others; if you can celebrate and embrace your differences and similarities, I know that we have done our job.
We will provide you with a respectful and supportive environment — an environment in which you can gain exposure to new ideas and viewpoints; an environment in which you can grow and thrive.
But it’s up to you as well. You need to look after yourselves and each other. It’s important to aim for balance. By all means, study hard, but take the time to socialize, to relax, to take part in the many social, cultural and athletic activities available here on campus and in Vancouver.
You need that balance to succeed and to achieve physical and mental wellness. It’s especially important during these first few weeks. It’s a time of excitement, apprehension and new beginnings. We’re here to help. UBC has many resources to help you cope and thrive. You can find them listed at students.ubc.ca.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors, to staff, to other students, if you feel you or someone you know needs help.
You’re starting on an exciting period in your lives. You will meet new friends, discover new interests. Maybe, like me, you’ll meet your future life partner at university.
The next few years will be among the most treasured of your life. Make the most of them. And remember what UBC’s first president Frank Wesbrook said to UBC’s first group of students 105 years ago: “Tuum Est” — which translates to “it is yours.”
UBC is yours — welcome to it!
Santa J. Ono
UBC President and Vice-Chancellor