In 2016, Santa J. Ono was appointed as the 15th president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia, a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. As president, he leads an institution boasting 63,000 students, 5,500 faculty and 10,000 staff, and a $2.5 billion operating budget.
As an administrator, Ono is known for his vision beyond the laboratory. He was the first Asian-American president of the University of Cincinnati when he was appointed in 2012. Previously, he served as the University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Cincinnati and Senior Vice Provost and Deputy to the Provost at Emory University. Inside Higher Education named him America’s most notable university president in 2015. In 2016, the American Council on Education awarded him the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award.
As a professor of medicine and biology, Ono has worked at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London, and Emory universities. He was also inducted by Johns Hopkins into its Society of Scholars, and as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Inventors, USA.
Ono’s research encompasses the immune system, eye inflammation and age-related macular degeneration.
An avid music lover, Ono studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and still finds time to play his cello – even taking to the concert stage to perform on occasion.
Ono is married to Wendy Yip, who trained as an immunologist at McGill and as a lawyer at Boston University. They have two daughters.