The University of British Columbia's new president has laid out his vision for the school, a plan that includes more bursaries and scholarships for students, and an additional $100-million for research.
Arvind Gupta, a research and innovation expert who was named UBC's 13th president in March, was formally installed at a ceremony on Friday.
Dr. Gupta – speaking in front of federal, provincial, municipal and aboriginal leaders – traced his path from India, where he was born, to Ontario, where he grew up.
He said his father would regularly meet people on the street who needed help and bring them home. He said the world has changed, but people have not, and each generation has a responsibility to make the world a better place.
Dr. Gupta had served as chief executive officer and scientific director of the research organization Mitacs, in addition to his work as a UBC computer science professor.
He said excellence in research distinguishes great institutions from the rest, and guarantees the value of diplomas. He said UBC is one of the top 25 universities in the world, he wants to lift it to the top 10, and his administration will be "unwavering in its focus on research excellence."
During his presidency, Dr. Gupta said, the university will increase its base funding for research by at least $100-million. He did not specify where the money would come from.
"This funding will be directed toward those who are leaders at discovering, developing, and deploying knowledge. We will invest in what our Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith called 'follow-your-nose' research. And, we will invest in targeted research," he said.
"And always, we will invest in excellence, enhancing our research capacity and thus our ability to train, nurture and empower an unprecedented generation."
A UBC spokesman said the university committed $564-million to research in 2014. He could not say where the university ranked nationally in that regard.
Dr. Gupta said UBC will give its students enhanced resources, including bursaries and scholarships. He said the university will also reach out to the underrepresented, "recognizing education as the best instrument for breaking down barriers to social and economic mobility."
He closed his remarks by citing the UBC motto, "Tuum Est," which translates as, "It is yours."
"UBC is yours and it is ours. It is a gift that we hold in our hands," he said. "But I want to be clear. It is not ours for convenience. It is not ours to consume. We hold it in trust, for the next generation and for every generation after that. Let us come together in proving that we deserve that trust – as we continue to build into UBC our aspirations for our province and our country."