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Honourable senators, today I rise as a proud alumnus of the University of British Columbia, (Class of ’87), to congratulate the UBC Thunderbirds in winning the Vanier Cup on November 28, 2015.  The Thunderbirds beat the Montreal Carabins 26--23 in a suspenseful and exciting match.  This year's win is the Thunderbirds' fourth Vanier Cup, long awaited since their last win in 1997, which ties them for the most championship victories in Western Canada.  

The victory was certainly a successful team effort, led by quarterback Michael O'Connor, who was named this year's MVP.  I wish to also acknowledge Anthony Blackwell, whose interception with less than 2 minutes left in the final quarter gave UBC a second chance to break the tie, and Quinn Van Gylswyk for his 20-yard field goal in the final play of the game to give UBC the three--point edge and the coveted Vanier Cup.  I commend head coach Blake Nill and the staff for the team's outstanding season; and applaud the entire team whose countless hours of practice, teamwork, sweat, blood and tears all paid off.  

Winning the Vanier Cup is all the more significant and timely for UBC as it began its 100th anniversary year in September of 2015.  

UBC opened its doors in 1915, with just 379 students in attendance.  One hundred years later, the university boasts nearly 60,000 students and a vast network of over 300,000 alumni around the world.  UBC has offered Canada and the world a century of well--educated leaders and global citizens who are making a difference in every sector of society.  The university is also a global centre for research, contributing to innovation and various studies that have advanced knowledge in multiple disciplines.  UBC has become a world renowned university, consistently ranking among the 40 best universities in the world.

Currently, my daughter Kiana Martin is a third year science student (of developmental cell biology) at UBC, volunteering in a laboratory with micro-organisms; and trying to balance the holy trinity of university life:  sleep, study, and social life.  She insists it is impossible to maintain all three, so is perpetually sleep-deprived.

A magnificently new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre was built in time to house "Year of the Alumni" events to mark this important milestone.  I was honoured to attend the Faculty of Education's celebration (during the writ period) where I was named among the top 100 alumni along with a fellow alum, Justin Trudeau, our new Prime Minister.

Honourable senators, tis the season of love, peace, hope and joy.  What joy it is to share the excitement and pride of the UBC Thunderbird's fourth Vanier Cup, underscoring UBC's century of success.

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