UBC President's Speeches and Writings

Tuum Est : How shall I change the world for the better? Ono, Santa Jeremy Sep 4, 2018

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  Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 1 of 10 Tuum Est: How shall I change the world for the better? • Welcome UBC Class of 2022!   • Look forward to communicating with you over the years. Say hello on campus. Or connect through social media (@UBCPrez)   • World Class University, #25 in NTU, #27 US News   • 3 Prime Ministers of Canada, 8 Nobel Laureates, 65 Olympic Medalists, 71 Rhodes Scholars, and has >300 faculty members inducted into the world’s most esteemed learned societies   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 2 of 10   • Diverse University that embraces diversity in every sense of the word. Students from every province and territory and over 150 countries. We are Canada’s most international university and consider it a reflection of the esteem we are held around the world.   • To realize the benefits of that diversity, all of us must embrace and contribute to a truly inclusive community of scholars. We must work to welcome everyone and respect different points of view, even when they might run counter to our own beliefs. It is a bedrock of academic freedom that serves as a cornerstone of all great universities. At the same time we must   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 3 of 10 work hard to create and are expected to honour our respectful environment.   • Our motto is Tuum Est. Two meanings: A) It is yours. B) It’s up to you.    • Let’s focus on the second meaning. It’s up to you, what you make of your UBC education.   • Our Strategic Plan: “Shaping our Next Century” is about inspiring for a better world.   • When we admitted you we actually chose you because we believe each and every one   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 4 of 10 of you can indeed change the world for the better. Many UBC alumni have in fact done so.   • Wanted to mention 2 people who really changed the world over the past 40 years:   • Bertha Wilson and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Two women who profoundly changed the world. Both served as Supreme Court Justices the first women in Canada and the second woman in the US to serve in the highest courts of their nations.   • They changed the world for the better because they fought (RBG continues to do so) so that there would be equality for   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 5 of 10 women under the law - not the case when they were appointed.   • Deans of law had the audacity to ask them “tell us why we should give away a man’s place to a woman?”   • Despite graduating at the top of their law school classes, they struggled to find employment in a male dominated world.   • I’ll speak more about Bertha Wilson   • She was an immigrant to Canada from Scotland.     Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 6 of 10 • She was the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1975.   • In 1982, she became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, on the advice of Pierre Trudeau.   • Wilson retired from the court in 1991 and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada that same year.   • She articulated the idea that women bring a valuable and necessary perspective to issues and to legal resolutions by virtue of their experience and perspectives as women. Basically, she paved the way for   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 7 of 10 women’s views to be heard and considered in shaping Canada’s laws.    • That reproductive rights were an issue of  key personal conscience and liberty, central to women’s identity and citizenship.   • This was in a landscape that under the law women were still viewed as subordinate to men: in the financial world (equal pay and family credit), in cases where they were sexually or physically assaulted by men.   • And let me be clear, there is no place at this university for sexual assault of anyone. If you don’t embrace or understand our culture of consent and don’t respect your   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 8 of 10 fellow student, this is the wrong university for you.   • Bertha made it a given that the power that shapes individual opportunities and liberty is broad, both private and public, and that the state should protect and ensures liberty as much, if not more, than it might threaten it.   • And yes, she articulated that universities should also be held accountable for protecting equal opportunity and liberties for men and women.   • She personified the entry of women into the heights of the legal profession and   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 9 of 10 caught the imagination of progressive members of that profession (and indeed in all professions) who were working for more legal and social inclusion of women, of Indigenous people and of broader senses of what equality in law, and in society, must demand.   • So students. Our newest members of this great university. When you think of our motto Tuum Est. Ask yourself “It’s up to me. How shall I change the world for the better?” How will I try to make my own like (through actions large and small) be like Bertha Wilson?   • Beyond what each of you accomplish individually, imagine how much all of you   Office of the President 	Speaking Notes  	                                                                                                                                                                                   Page 10 of 10 collectively can do to make the world better? It gives us all hope, indeed.   • I know you are probably excited and perhaps a little scared. I know that’s how I felt.   • Just remember. If you feel scared, it means you are about to do something very brave!   • And always remember, UBC 16,000 faculty and staff and 325,000 alumni are there for you, rooting every step of your journey.   • Congratulations. See you around campus.  

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