UBC's top job to be open soon as Dr. Santa Ono heads to Michigan

The Vancouver university will need to find its 16th president soon

Now former UBC president Dr. Santa Ono accepts the position of President of the University of Michigan during a meeting at the Ann Arbor-based school | Photo: University of Michigan

Dr. Santa Ono will have to update his Twitter bio.

The President of the University of British Columbia has accepted the role as the new president of the University of Michigan, which is based in Ann Arbor.

"I want to start off by saying it's been an honour and privilege to serve you and I'm thinking of you on this day," said Ono to people at UBC during a meeting and press conference Wednesday (July 13) in Ann Arbor.

He went on to recollect how he has fond memories of growing up on the campus where his father, a mathematics professor, taught for a while, including learning to ride his bike.

However, in the press conference, he noted how excited he was to be joining the University of Michigan, or, as he said "what I think is the greatest public university in the world."

UMich is regularly ranked one of the top universities in the world; in the last rankings from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a company specializing in analyzing higher education institutions UBC was 47th in the world, while the University of Michigan was 25th.

In an unusual coincidence, Ono will be the 15th president there, after being the 15th president at UBC.

UBC thanked Ono for his service and noted an acting president will be appointed soon, before Ono's Oct. 13 departure from the school. Ono will help start the search for a new UBC president.

The provincial government also released a statement about Ono's departure. In the statement, Minister of Advanced Education Anne Kang noted led a variety of initiatives at the university.

"Among his many accomplishments, he was instrumental in shaping UBC's strategic plan and the university's commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," she said. "He established a climate action plan and introduced the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force to address systemic racism. His vision truly will have positive impacts on the lives of students for years to come."

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