“A great person attracts great people and knows
how to hold them together.”
— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Since July 2012, Professor Deborah Buszard has served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus.
An avid gardener, tea-drinker, and professional plant biologist — focusing on strawberry breeding — Buszard has been a champion of UBC Okanagan, overseeing a tremendous period of transformational change for campus.
Never one to take credit alone, Buszard’s tenure has been marked with courage, compassion and a team approach, creating an environment of inclusion and partnership that has empowered the UBCO community to thrive.
Thank you, DVC Buszard!
A period of immense change…
Buszard’s vision of a community-connected university has been brought to life through meaningful partnerships with the region and the members of the Okanagan Nation.
Her close networks with UBC’s Vancouver campus have supported UBC in creating a startup, full service, research-intensive campus in the Okanagan.
Mobilizing knowledge into research power
Buszard has been a strong advocate for bolstering UBC Okanagan’s research profile.
She was instrumental in establishing the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation portfolio in 2015 and research activity on the Okanagan campus has increased nearly three-fold during her eight-year tenure.
In 2018-19, UBCO boasted 1,631 active research projects, 296 research faculty, 11 designated research chairs, and 14 UBC-funded Clusters of Research Excellence.
The ambitious Innovation Precinct is expected to further accelerate innovation at the Okanagan campus.
Connecting with Indigenous communities
Buszard has deepened the close partnership between Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and UBC, initially outlined in a 2005 memorandum of understanding to enhance education and support Okanagan Indigenous culture, history, language, philosophy and knowledge.
The ONA-UBC MOU was renewed twice during Buszard’s leadership, in 2012 and 2015.
The Okanagan Nation flag and sn̓ilíʔtn, an art installation by Syilx artist Les Louis, are now permanent fixtures in UBCO’s central courtyard.
In 2019, Buszard signed UBCO’s declaration of Truth and Reconciliation commitments, formally committing the campus to delivering on five recommended actions toward reconciliation.
Supporting campus growth
Increasing student enrolment and expanding physical spaces are two trademarks of Buszard’s tenure. Her stewardship of the 2013-14 Aspire visioning process set the stage.
Building openings included the Engineering Management Education building, Reichwald Health Sciences Centre, Arts and Sciences Centre, Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre, and The Commons. Skeena Residence and Nechako Housing Commons are taking shape and new projects are on the horizon including Innovation Precinct 1 and a new Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Innovation building.
Student enrolment is now nearing 11,000 — up from 7,900 in 2012 — and learning has been enhanced through new programs including master’s degrees in management and data science, bachelor programs in media studies and sustainability, and co-op programming for nearly all undergraduate students.
Attracting the world spotlight
It’s not every day you get to play host to British royalty and the Prime Minister of Canada, attracting a global audience.
With incredible support from students, faculty and staff, Buszard rolled out the UBCO red carpet for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — Prince William and Kate Middleton — as part of their 2016 tour of Canada.
A year later, more than 2,500 people filled the gymnasium for an evening Town Hall event hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and attended by the federal government caucus.
Buszard has also welcomed high-profile honorary degree recipients, including photographer Edward Burtynsky, astronaut Roberta Bondar, artist Alex Janvier, and Olympian Beckie Scott.
Engaging with the community
Establishing UBCO as a social, economic and cultural driver for the Okanagan has been a priority for Buszard. UBCO has brought communities together through public gatherings, including new signature events Buszard set in motion, Nobel Night and Opera Under the Stars.
Research and creative partnerships have been forged with local businesses and cultural entities, including programming at Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts and physical spaces in downtown Kelowna — the Innovation UBC Hub and the Innovation Library.
Buszard’s DVC term was recently bookended by the announcement of a new UBC presence downtown, a mixed-use development at 550 Doyle Avenue featuring community-facing academic space, office space and university rental housing.
In her words…
Support Poppy’s Award
Professor Deborah Buszard has a passion for education, and it runs in the family. During her time at UBCO, Buszard established the Poppy Irvine Award in honour of her aunt, whose contributions helped Buszard become the first in her family to attend university.
The award supports talented undergraduate scholars. Help honour Buszard and support the spirit of learning.