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Recapping ‘Shaping the Future Together’


On May 7, Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President of the University of British Columbia (UBC), spoke to the Greater Vancouver business community During his keynote, Dr. Bacon emphasized UBC's commitment to fostering healthier lives, restoring the planet's health, and nurturing thriving communities. Dr. Bacon touched upon various topics, ranging from UBC's dedication to truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples to its pivotal role in driving innovation and addressing global challenges. Here are a few highlights:

UBC's Commitment to Reconciliation:

As the 17th President of UBC, Dr. Bacon expressed his pride in leading one of Canada's most dynamic and innovative research universities. He highlighted UBC's global reputation for excellence and emphasized its role as a catalyst for positive change. In 2020, UBC launched the Indigenous Strategic Plan, making UBC the first university across all of North America to commit to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Investing in Student Success and Well-being:

Dr. Bacon highlighted the importance of mental health and academic success and discussed UBC's initiatives to support students and employees. He announced the opening of a state-of-the-art Gateway Health building, which will provide a one-stop solution for all care services for all students studying in the Vancouver Campus of UBC. UBC also provides nearly $400 million yearly in student financial assistance on both campuses. To mitigate student affordability issues, UBC also introduced their Forward Campaign, which aims to raise $3 billion and activate the power of their global alumni by doubling alumni engagement.

Currently, UBC is the single-largest student accommodation provider in the country, with more than 15,000 student beds on its two campuses. They have invested over $700 million over the last decade and plan to add 5,000 more beds over the next decade.

Commitment to Sustainability and Climate Action:

UBC's commitment to sustainability and climate action was highlighted, with Dr. Bacon sharing initiatives such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and establishing the Smart Hydrogen Energy District. He emphasized the university's role as a living lab for climate action.

Expansion of SkyTrain to UBC:

Dr. Bacon advocated for the extension of the SkyTrain to UBC, highlighting its crucial role in boosting economic growth, fostering innovation, and improving accessibility for students and researchers. As part of UBC's Campus Vision 2050 Plan, Dr. Bacon envisions increasing the campus population from 30,000 to 50,000 residents, with enhanced connectivity being essential for achieving affordable housing.

Engage with UBC

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon concluded his speech by emphasizing that UBC is now in its second century, stronger than ever, and actively addressing major global challenges. He highlighted UBC's role in educating the next generation of British Columbians, investing in communities, healthcare, and industries, and creating new, high-paying jobs. Dr. Bacon asserted that UBC is dedicated to serving British Columbia, with open doors for collaboration. He encouraged the audience to engage with UBC by visiting campuses, participating in research, attending public lectures and events, and hiring graduates.

The University of British Columbia is a key partner with the public, private and not for profit sectors helping to create a healthier, more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future for everyone. The Greater Vancouver business community got an opportunity to directly hear from UBC President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, at the 'Shaping the Future Together: In Conversation with UBC President Benoit-Antoine Bacon' event, where he shared the university's priorities and future plans in areas including biomedical innovation, new technologies, Indigenous engagement, sustainability, expanded housing, and more. For more such events, view our events calendar here:

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