Gupta's Appointment - Great Pride for South Asians
September 30, 2014
University of British Columbia (UBC) is not only this province’s oldest but also the largest and most prominent centre of higher learning. Next year, it will be celebrating its centennial. University’s alumni play a prominent role in its growth, development and promotion. UBC’s Alumni Association, commonly known as Alumni UBC has been performing this task in a commendable way. As a UBC graduate, I was invited to the 97 th Annual General Meeting of this organization recently. Judy Rogers, chairperson of the Board of Directors of Alumni UBC commenced the meeting with a brief overview of some of the major accomplishments of the Alumni. She stated that there are more than 300,000 UBC alumni spread out in 144 countries around the globe.
In her introductory remarks, Ms. Rogers stated that over the last year alone more than 50,000 of Alumni were actively engaged in UBC affairs and activities. She emphasizes that one of UBC’s overarching goals is to promote a civil and sustainable society. She went on to state that by providing a first class education, UBC attempts to produce analytical thinkers, skilled professionals and entrepreneurs. Also, the university produces “global citizens” with a sense of social responsibility and personal obligation to contribute something towards a safer, more sustainable and more equitable world.
In addition to the regular business of the Alumni, the attendees were excited to welcome Dr. Arvind Gupta, the newly installed president of UBC. Professor Gupta, the thirteenth president of this renowned university, is the first Canadian of South Asian heritage to be appointed to this position. Born in Jalandhar, Punjab,(incidentally, my home district) Gupta told this writer that he left India with his parents at age five. After spending some time in the U.S and other parts of Canada he accepted a position at UBC and rose through the ranks to head it.Prior to his elevation to the position of president, Gupta was professor in computer science. He has occupied this position since 2004. Gupta is a renowned expert in research and technology. He is an energetic person. I found it a pleasure and privilege to meet with him. I told Gupta that his elevation to the highest position at UBC is a matter of great pride for all of us.
In his address to the UBC Alumni present at the AGM, Arvind Gupta made an impassioned plea to all present to do whatever they can to make this university even better. He went on to state that currently; UBC is considered to be one of top 25 universities in the world. His goal is to make it as one of the best top ten. The meeting concluded with an interesting dialogue between Arvind Gupta and new UBC Chancellor Lindsay Gordon. The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in downtown Vancouver was an appropriate setting for this get-together. As a member of the UBC Alumni I found it to be very informative and enjoyable event.
(Balwant Sanghera, a UBC Master of Education degree holder is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)