Dr. Santa Ono named UBC's 15th president and vice-chancellor

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      After much speculation, the University of British Columbia has announced that Dr. Santa Jeremy Ono is the university's 15th president and vice-chancellor.

      Ono is a biomedical researcher who has served as the president of the University of Cincinnati since 2012, and as the senior vice-president for academic affairs and university provost prior to that position. Under his leadership, UC was named Public University of the Year by the Washington Center.

      He has also previously worked at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London, and Emory universities. In 2015, he was inducted into Johns Hopkins' Society of Scholars, which honours former faculty who have gained distinction in their fields.

      As a medicine and biology professor, Ono has been a pioneer in experimental medicine. His research has covered the immune system, eye inflammation, and age-related macular degeneration. 

      Ono is a Japanese Canadian-American who was born in Vancouver in 1962 while Ono's father, Takashi Ono, was teaching at UBC's math department.

      The UBC board of governors voted unanimously to appoint the president after an international search by a 21-member committee, chaired by UBC Chancellor Lindsay Gordon.

      “One of the primary reasons I was keen to return to Canada and to lead UBC is to enjoy the diversity of the population, in every sense of the word,” Ono said in a news statement. “UBC‘s faculty and students are globally connected, and at the same time, the university is acknowledging its past and forging new relationships with First Nations. I can’t wait to be part of that.”

      Interim president Martha Piper will retire on June 30.

      Dr. Dave Farrar, former UBC Provost and vice-president academic and senior advisor to the president, will serve as interim president after June 30 until Ono becomes president on August 15 for a five-year term.

      The appointment arrives after the controversial resignation of Arvind Gupta as president in August. Gupta stepped down only one year into his five-year term.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig or on Facebook.