President Santa Ono leaving UBC to take up new role

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It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to announce that President Santa Ono will be leaving UBC in mid-October to become President of the University of Michigan. On behalf of the UBC Board of Governors, I would like to express our deep gratitude to President Ono for his six years of leadership at UBC, and congratulate him on this appointment.

Through his dedication and commitment, President Ono has led the development and implementation of many significant initiatives at the university. These include UBC’s Strategic Plan: Shaping UBC’s Next Century; initiating an academic renewal program through the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative; raising more than $217 million in scholarships for students through the Blue and Gold Campaign; launching the Indigenous Strategic Plan and UBC’s commitment to lead in Truth and Reconciliation and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and, establishing the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence task force to address systemic racism. Together with our students, faculty and staff, the university declared a climate emergency, and created an ambitious climate action plan. In addition, President Ono has led the university as it navigates the global pandemic, keeping the community safe and maintaining financial stability, while ensuring UBC continues to deliver excellence in its academic mission.

President Ono has published his own letter to the UBC community, which you can read at He has also expressed his personal commitment to working with the UBC Board of Governors as we transition to appoint an Acting President. The Board intends to move quickly to begin the search process for a new President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC, and will communicate plans in the coming weeks.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the UBC Executive and the Deans for their ongoing leadership which will ensure the university transitions smoothly and key strategic initiatives continue as planned.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to offer my own thanks to President Ono for his contributions to UBC. His strong leadership and collaborative working style will be missed. Please join me in congratulating him on his new appointment at the University of Michigan.

Nancy McKenzie
Chair, UBC Board of Governors

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