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Students and Faculty Make History at Opening of UBC Okanagan in Kelowna

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September 8, 2005

Source: University of British Columbia:

Students and Faculty Make History at Opening of UBC Okanagan in Kelowna

KELOWNA -- After months of intense preparation, 3,500 students will join more than 400 faculty and staff along with Okanagan residents and distinguished international guests to turn a page in British Columbia post-secondary history today by officially opening UBC Okanagan.

“UBC Okanagan presents an exciting opportunity to extend to B.C.'s Interior the teaching and research mission of a university that is consistently ranked among the world's 50 best,” said University of British Columbia President Martha Piper. “We now have the privilege of creating an intimate, learner-centred and research-intensive campus for dialogue and discovery to take place.”

The new campus will make a UBC degree accessible to students in the fastest growing region of the province. With plans to double student spaces to 7,500 by 2010, including 500 graduate students, UBC Okanagan helps fulfill the provincial government’s plan to increase access to post-secondary education by 25,000 new seats.

"The people of the Okanagan are joining an exclusive group of learning centres that are changing the way education is delivered, not only here in British Columbia, but throughout the world," said Premier Gordon Campbell.

The Kelowna campus is part of a university that is now consistently ranked among the world’s 50 best universities. Offering a smaller, more intimate learning environment, UBC Okanagan has developed an academic plan aimed at developing a distinct, interdisciplinary teaching and research environment that fosters student creativity and innovation.

“With a vision for excellence, our faculty members have established a bold and innovative approach to our academic plan,” says Barry McBride, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President, Academic and Research. “I am convinced that students will thrive in a smaller learning community that exposes them to a variety of disciplines and leading edge research.”

UBC Okanagan’s faculty has grown to 218, including 197 who made the transition from the former Okanagan University College, and 21 new faculty members who come from across Canada, the U.S. and Australia. They will teach students in seven faculties and schools including:

  • The Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences

  • The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

  • The Faculty of Education

  • The Faculty of Engineering

  • The Faculty of Management

  • The Faculty of Graduate Studies

  • School of Nursing

  • School of Social Work

    To accommodate more students, UBC Okanagan has added third floors to its Arts and Sciences buildings, and begun construction on new student residences. A master campus plan that integrates history, culture and sustainability will help guide future growth, and goes before the UBC Board of Governors this fall.

    All academic and student services buildings at UBC Okanagan are connected to a high-speed wireless network -- the first and largest wireless campus network in the Okanagan region.

    Archived video of the Official Opening is available at

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