Vancouver & Okanagan News – Fall 2020
Facing up to Systemic Racism
In June, President Ono announced plans for a UBC advisory committee on systemic racism, and his intention to first consult with the UBC Black Caucus – followed by other marginalized groups – on a strategy for addressing racism and bias at the university. The Black Caucus itself was established early this year, after Black master’s student Shelby McPhee was racially profiled and wrongly accused of stealing at a major conference on the Vancouver campus. It unites and advocates for Black faculty members, staff and students, and is bringing dialogue and education about racism in Canada to the broader community.
Designs for Living
UBC’s School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (SALA) is relaunching its $50,000 Margolese National Design for Living Prize, which celebrates a Canadian citizen who has made a significant contribution to the built environment and the people within it. It highlights creative solutions to address issues involving urbanization, climate change, the natural environment, social equity, and human health and well-being. Nominations open in February: margoleseprize.com
Boost for Spinal Cord Research
An international research team co-led by researchers at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute has been awarded a $48 million CAD grant by the US Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). The team’s five-year project aims to revolutionize treatments for patients with spinal cord injury using innovative, implantable technologies.
Downtown Digs: 550 Doyle Avenue
This summer UBC and the City of Kelowna announced plans for a mixed-use development that combines academic space to support community-facing programs and services, as well as office and residential space. It will strengthen existing connections with community partners working in health, tech, business, and arts and culture, as well as allow for new ones. While the building remains vacant, it will be made available for this year’s Emergency Winter Shelter program, with approximately 40 beds operated by the Kelowna Gospel Mission.
Uncorked: New Wine Centre HQ
The Okanagan Valley now boasts a new research hub, after a shift of headquarters for UBC’s Wine Research Centre (WRC) from Vancouver to the vineyard-laden region of Kelowna. First established in 1999 on the Vancouver campus, the WRC is dedicated to interdisciplinary research, education and development, with a core mission to support a sustainable Canadian grape and wine industry.
The Honourable Steven Lewis Point, former Lieutenant Governor of BC, was appointed in June as the university’s 19th Chancellor. As well as holding two UBC degrees, he was awarded an honorary degree in 2013 for his exceptional commitment in the field of law, legal and Aboriginal education, and his leadership in the Indigenous community. Mr. Point is a member of the Skowkale First Nation and has an outstanding record of service to the people of British Columbia.
Lesley Cormack began her role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UBC Okanagan on July 1. She was previously Dean of arts at the University of Alberta. Professor Cormack is an historian of early modern science, specializing in geography and mathematics in 16th-century England. “UBC Okanagan has built a well-earned reputation as an innovative research university with an entrepreneurial spirit, and I can’t wait to contribute to its success,” said Cormack, upon her appointment.