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University of British Columbia president and vice-chancellor Santa Ono pauses while speaking during an event in Vancouver on Dec. 8, 2021.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

University of British Columbia president and vice-chancellor Santa Ono is leaving his post, and Canada, to become president of the University of Michigan.

A board at that university voted earlier Wednesday to confirm the appointment, which begins in October.

Vancouver-born Ono has been the president of the University of B.C. since 2016.

In remarks accepting his new job, the 59-year-old biologist, researcher and administrator told an audience at the University of Michigan that it was an honour and privilege to serve UBC, the campus he grew up on while his father was a mathematics professor.

Before returning to British Columbia in 2016, Ono was president of the University of Cincinnati, becoming the first person of Asian descent to hold the post when he was appointed in 2012.

He says he is moving to Michigan because it is one of the great public universities in the United States and he and his wife would be living closer to their aging parents.

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