UBC celebrates 100th birthday with new Alumni Centre

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    by Ray Hudson

    Lee building 1
    Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre was officially opened to pomp and ceremony in celebration of the 100 years since UBC welcomed it’s first class of 379 students, who studied in sheds located on what is now the location of Vancouver General Hospital. Photo: Ray Hudson

    Wednesday, September 30, the 100th anniversary of first classes in 1915, to the day, saw hundreds gather in the stunning new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre to celebrate the centenary and officially launch the new facility.

    The ceremonies were led by Chancellor Lindsay Gordon, who was MC for the occasion. Congratulations were conveyed by Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow, Lt. Governor Judith Guichon, Andrew Wilkinson, the BC Minister for Advanced Education, Biomedical Science student, Gunjan Mhapankar, Interim President Dr. Martha Piper, Michael L. Lee, and Robert H. (Bob) Lee.

    From left:  Chancellor Lindsay Gordon event MC, Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow, Lieutenant Governor for BC, Judith Guichon, Advanced Education Minister, Andrew Wilkinson, 4th Year Biomedical Student Gunjan Mhapankar, UBC Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Martha Piper, Michael H. Lee, Chair, AlumniUBC Board of Directors, and Robert H. Lee Businessman and Philanthropist "Mr. UBC"    Photo: Ray Hudson
    From left: Chancellor Lindsay Gordon event MC, Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow, Lieutenant Governor for BC, Judith Guichon, Advanced Education Minister, Andrew Wilkinson, 4th Year Biomedical Student Gunjan Mhapankar, UBC Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Martha Piper, Michael H. Lee, Chair, AlumniUBC Board of Directors, and Robert H. Lee Businessman and Philanthropist “Mr. UBC”
    Photo: Ray Hudson

    The various presentations were punctuated striking A/V presentations representing steps in the 100 years of UBC’s development. Relocated to Point Grey in 1922, the university has exploded to 60,000 students, with an additional campus in Kelowna. This year, 2014-2015, the university will graduate about 10,000 students who will join the 305,000 alumni living and working around the world. According to the university, UBC is consistently ranking among the forty best globally, and now places among the top twenty public universities in the world.

    In a message from Premier Christy Clark, she said, “UBC has become a global presence, a source of pride to all British Columbians, and has been instrumental in driving positive change throughout the world.”

    Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson, congratulated the university on its achievements, and said, “The university is a significant contributor to the B.C. economy with an economic impact of $12.5 billion annually.” He wistfully commented that he was not quite an alumnus because although he had been accepted for admittance to UBC, a family move to Ottawa saw him attend another institution.

    “It is my honour to lead UBC during its Centennial year and celebrate a century of excellence in learning, research and community engagement,” said Interim President Dr. Martha Piper. “UBC has risen from modest beginnings in 1915 to become one of the world’s leading universities, with an exceptional learning environment and outstanding research in the service of the people of British Columbia, Canada and the world.”

    Robert H. Lee, alumnus (BCom.1956), in whose honour the Alumni Centre is named, is highly successful in business, Chairman of Prospero International Realty. He is an ardent philanthropist and he has been a long time patron of UBC, serving as a member of the Board of Directors (1984-90) and as the University’s Chancellor (1993 – 96). He founded the real estate development company for UBC Properties Trust in 1988, which has raised $850 million to date for the UBC Endowment.

    The Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre is a magnificent centerpiece to the campus, and will serve as a resource for UBC’s 305,000 alumni providing a welcoming place to network, meet with students and participate in intellectual, cultural and social programs.

    After the ceremonies in the facility, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni came together in the bright September sunshine of Raymond M.C. Lee Square, beside the Alumni Centre, and spelled out UBC 100, a recreation of the photo taken of the students involved in the “great trek” in 1922 (to Point Grey) to lobby for construction of the campus on the Point Grey location.

    As part of it’s centenary events, UBC is also offering twenty free Centennial lectures on Saturdays from September 2015 to May 2016 at the Point grey campus highlighting research and teaching by professors and postdoctoral fellows. For more information, check out 100.ubc.ca on the web.