Centennial Luncheon Remarks

Centennial Luncheon remarks – Julianna Chen  October 3, 2017
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Julianna Chen. I am a staff member at UBC, and for the past four years it’s been my pleasure to be a member of the Faculty Women’s Club. I’m so glad to be here together with you today, celebrating this joyous and momentous milestone in the history of the Club and the university.
It seems that many good things in life begin with an invitation. I’d like to start by thanking Jean McCutcheon, who initially suggested that I might share a few words on this occasion, and Candace O’Connor, who invited me to speak today. Reaching back a bit further, it was Barbara Tait, then Club President, from whom I initially learned of the Faculty Women’s Club in the summer of 2013 at the annual new faculty and family picnic. The warm invitation to join the Club that Barbara extended set in motion a chain of events that has offered me opportunities to deepen my sense of connection to and understanding of UBC and the many, many individuals who have built the university we know today, expand my knowledge of and appreciation for the history and cultures of the beautiful region in which we live, and develop lasting friendships. I would like to acknowledge all of you who, throughout the years, have extended similar invitations to hundreds, more likely thousands, of faculty, students, staff, and family members. Many good things begin with an invitation, and your generosity of spirit, friendship, and commitment to community service has truly enhanced the university  in a myriad of ways, and the lives of many individuals, myself included.
As I considered what I might offer you today as we celebrate the first 100 years of the Faculty Women’s Club, I was reminded of how inquiry and dialogue are fundamental values and practices to any university community. It occurred to me that the Club’s centenary milestone might be a particularly good opportunity to call on these values and practices as we reflect on the Club’s history and look forward to its future. So now it’s my turn to offer an invitation to you, club members and members of the broader university community alike: an invitation to two important conversations as the Club charts its course ahead.
The first conversation I would like to invite you to relates to strengths. Whether today or in the coming weeks, I invite you to gather with one or more conversational partners and describe a time when you felt the Club was at its best, when you felt most engaged in the FWC and proud to be a member. We’ve heard many examples today of highlights throughout the Club’s history. For this conversation, I invite you to consider your own experiences as an FWC member, and to explore the details of the highlight experience you identify: Who was involved? What was the occasion? What did Club members and members of the broader community do to make that successful experience possible? From these reflections on ‘highlight experiences’ will emerge the strengths and the unique qualities that the Club can build on in its next 100 years.
The second part of my invitation to you relates to opportunities for the future. We are living in a time of great change for many members of the UBC community. Students, faculty, staff, and families in the UBC community are navigating changes in the ways we learn and teach, the ways we work, and the ways we live. While many significant changes are taking place right here at UBC, trends and developments at the city, regional, provincial, national, and global levels are having similarly profound impacts on the UBC community. Countless times in the the history of the Faculty Women’s Club, members have perceived how changes and challenges at all the levels I’ve mentioned were impacting the university community, and taken these challenges as opportunities to act and make positive contributions to lives of students, staff, faculty, and families at UBC. The question I’d like to offer for your consideration is this: What do you think are the most significant changes and challenges either currently impacting the university community, or likely to do so in the future? What are the most compelling opportunities these changes could present to the Faculty Women’s Club in its ongoing mission to enhance the UBC experience for all university community members?
So, there you have my invitation to two important conversations that can help the Faculty Women’s Club chart its course in the years ahead. I hope you’ll all have the opportunity to enjoy meaningful discussions on the Club’s unique strengths and greatest opportunities, and thank you once again for the opportunity to speak with you today on the occasion of this very special celebration.
And before I go, l thought we might take a moment to give a very special thanks to Candace O’Connor for the extraordinary work she’s done to organize this event, and all of the centenary celebrations this year. Candace, your efforts have given us all such enjoyable and thought-provoking opportunities to reflect on the remarkable first one hundred years of the Faculty Women’s Club and to look forward to its future. This orchid, which Barbara Tait was so thoughtful to select with you in mind, is a token of all of our appreciation and heartfelt thanks.