On Monday, University of British Columbia Okanagan celebrated a milestone year for both the Kelowna and Vancouver campuses.
UBCO is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year, while UBC is turning 100.
“In the age of universities, even 100 years is young,” Dr. Martha Piper, Interim President and Vice Chancellor of UBC explained of why this year is so momentous for UBC. “10 years, you’ve hardly been born. When we think of the universities we’re keeping company with, the Oxfords that are over 1,200 years old, the University of Edinburgh, which was established around 1400. Universities that are 500, 600 years old. So to be where we are at 10 years and 100 years in terms of excellence, accessibility, research capacity and learning programs we offer our students, it’s truly cause for celebration.”
On July 4th 2005, Okanagan University College formally transferred to two new institutions, UBCO and Okanagan College. In the 10 years since then UBCO has grown from 3,500 to 8,400 students, 22 countries represented to 92, 500,000 square feet of floor space to one and a half million, 12 to 33 buildings, 328 student beds to 1,679 and 260 acres of land to 516. Dr. Piper was the president of UBC at the time of UBCO’s creation, and she said she never imagined in her most optimistic expectations how quickly the campus would grow.
“I thought we were very ambitious and I thought we had an incredible vision, but when I saw the first day of classes, I was overwhelmed. I was truly overwhelmed by the size, the scope, the excellence, the students, the size of the student population, the faculty, the research and the facilities. It’s amazing.”
UBCO also renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the Okanagan Nation Alliance Monday afternoon. While MoU’s are common at universities, Dr. Piper explained UBCO’s is one-of-a-kind.
“There are MoU’s with First Nations communities, but they’ve occurred later in their history. To actually have it as an initial, foundational piece of UBCO is what has made it a unique piece. It really defines the university, it’s culture, it’s traditions, it’s linkage, it’s meaning and it’s values. What it means to be a student and the culture that is here and it’s identity, which is very different than UBC Vancouver.”