UBC appoints its first Indigenous chancellor

Jun 18 2020, 12:50 pm

The University of British Columbia (UBC) announced Thursday that former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Steven Lewis Point has been selected as the university’s newest chancellor.

He will be the first Indigenous person to hold the position and the 19th chancellor overall.

“Steven Point is truly an inspiration, not only for the UBC community, but all of BC,” said UBC Board of Governors Chair Michael Korenberg in a release. “Steven has demonstrated exemplary leadership through his decades of outstanding service to the people of British Columbia and we are thrilled that he is returning to UBC to bring his vast knowledge and experience to the University.”

Point is a member of the Skowkale First Nation and has advocated for Indigenous people throughout his career, pressing for greater recognition of their contributions and their fuller involvement in all aspects of life in British Columbia.

“I am incredibly honoured to become UBC’s next Chancellor,” said Point. “My father is from the Musqueam Nation and I’ve always felt a personal connection to this land. I look forward to returning to my alma mater and working alongside students, faculty, academic leaders and the broader community to advance the university’s vision.”

Point is a double alumnus of UBC and has retained close ties with the university after receiving his Bachelor of Laws in 1985. He served as director of the First Nations Legal Studies program at the Peter A. Allard School of Law from 1991 to 1994 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2013 for his exceptional commitment in the field of law, legal and Aboriginal education, and his leadership in the Indigenous community.

Point will assume his role on July 1, 2020, and will succeed Lindsay Gordon, who steps down after six years of exemplary service to the university.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Lindsay for being an exceptional leader and ambassador for UBC since 2014,” said UBC President and Vice Chancellor Santa Ono. “His work will continue to positively impact the university for years to come. I am excited to welcome Steven back to UBC for this important role.”

As chancellor, Point will act as the honorary head of the university and preside over all major ceremonies and convocations. He will also represent the university in a wide range of events and activities.

In addition to his role as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Point’s career also includes practicing as a lawyer, working at the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and in the Department of Employment and Immigration, serving as a provincial court judge and the Chief Commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission and chairing the advisory committee that worked to implement the recommendations from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Point is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Order of B.C, the Joseph H. Cohen Award from the Justice Institute of British Columbia Foundation, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Order of Chilliwack, and honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from the University of the Fraser Valley and Capilano University.