I love to brag about UBC grads, and on November 14 I got to do just that when I co-hosted the annual Alumni Achievement Awards with Alumni Association Chair Judy Rogers.
From a retired judge who was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from a BC law school to an entrepreneur who is using her business skills to improve access to healthcare in low and middle income countries, all ten recipients have excelled individually and improved life for many others along the way. In a world seemingly besotted by fame and fortune, these are people truly deserving of our attention and admiration.
As well as their contributions to society, the recipients have another thing in common – they are all members of a global alumni community almost 280,000 strong. The awards ceremony was not only a chance to laud ten brilliant individuals, but also an occasion to celebrate all UBC alumni.
No great achievement is attained alone. In the sense that everything is connected, we can all claim a small part in the astounding accomplishments of people with whom we share a community – people who were, in some way, shaped and influenced by that community.
The bonds formed during the formative years of a university education are strong. Friends, professors and mentors make up the network that supports students through this new and critical phase of life. It’s what launches them into the world and helps to shape what they will become.
Our role in Alumni Affairs is about maintaining that same sense of community among alumni, no matter how long ago their university experience, and to demonstrate that their relationship with UBC is a lifelong connection. That’s why engaging alumni is core to UBC’s start an evolution campaign.
Yes – making positive changes in the world through research, education and outreach takes money. But it also takes a community of committed people who see themselves as part of that change, and see UBC and their fellow alumni as a vehicle through which they can help make a difference. There is indeed strength in numbers.