University of Northern British Columbia

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University of Northern British Columbia
Nizdeh Nekeyoh Hohudel 'Eh Baiyoh ("House of Learning" in Dakelh (Carrier))
UNBC Coat of Arms.png
Motto’En Cha Huná ("He/she also lives" in Dakelh (Carrier), interpreted as "respecting all forms of life")
TypePublic university
Established1990; 31 years ago (1990)
Endowment$62.8 million (2020)[1]
PresidentGeoffrey Payne (Interim)
ProvostMark Dale (Interim)
Students3570 (2019–2020)
Undergraduates2829 (2019–2020)
Postgraduates599 (2019–2020)
63 (2015–2016)
3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9
, , ,

53°53′14.40″N 122°48′49.40″W / 53.8873333°N 122.8137222°W / 53.8873333; -122.8137222Coordinates: 53°53′14.40″N 122°48′49.40″W / 53.8873333°N 122.8137222°W / 53.8873333; -122.8137222
CampusUNBC Main Campus (Prince George, BC), Wood Innovation and Design Centre (Prince George, BC), Peace River-Liard Campus (Fort St. John, BC), Northwest Campus (Terrace, BC), South-Central Campus (Quesnel, BC)
TaglineCanada's Green University™️
Coloursgold   and green  
AffiliationsWilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute, UArctic, ACU, AUCC, IAU, U Sports, AUFSC, CBIE.
SportsUNBC Timberwolves

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) is a small, research-intensive public university in British Columbia, Canada. The main campus is located in Prince George, British Columbia. UNBC also has regional campuses in northern British Columbia in Prince Rupert, Terrace, Quesnel, and Fort St. John. The enabling legislation is the University of Northern British Columbia Act 1996.[2] In the 2019–20 academic year, 3,570 students were enrolled at UNBC.

In 2015 and 2016 UNBC was ranked as the number one university of its size in Canada in the Primarily Undergraduate category by Maclean's Magazine.[3] As of 2019, UNBC was ranked in the top three in its category for 12 straight years.

In 2007, the university obtained the trademark for "Canada's Green University".[4] Because of its northern latitude, UNBC is a member of the University of the Arctic.


The British Columbia legislature passed Bill 40 (the UNBC Act), which formally established the university, on June 22, 1990.[5] The university was established in response to a grass-roots movement spearheaded by the Interior University Society. UNBC offered a limited number of courses in rented office space in 1992 and 1993 but was opened officially by Queen Elizabeth II,[6] with 1,500 students in 1994 upon the completion of the main Prince George campus after two years of construction.[7]

The university gained attention with the introduction of the Northern Medical Program (NMP), a collaboration between UBC and UNBC.[8] Through this collaboration, several academic physicians have been attracted to the city, which has led to an emerging academic medical community. For example, the introduction of the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North has attracted academic oncologists, such as Dr. Robert Olson.[9][10][11][12][13][14]

Organization and administration[edit]

The governance was modeled on the provincial University of Toronto Act 1906, which established a bicameral system of university government comprising a Senate (composed of members of the faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a Board of Governors (composed of members of the community), which exercises exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The President, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.[15]


University rankings
Global rankings
Times World[16]801–1000
Canadian rankings
Times National[16]27–29
Maclean's Undergrad[17]5
Maclean's Reputation[18]40

The Prince George campus is located on Cranbrook Hill, overlooking the city of Prince George from the west, and is widely renowned for its innovative architecture. The award-winning Wood Innovation and Design Centre, designed by Michael Green Architecture, was the world’s tallest modern all-timber structure upon completion and serves as a facility for the research and education on the uses of wood.[19]

The separate buildings are linked by an agora that is partially below ground level. It is the efficient heating system connected to all the core campus buildings that permits UNBC to pursue its goal of heating the university by the gasification of clean-burning, renewable wood pellets collected from the waste of pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

The buildings at UNBC are designed to represent the northern landscape. The Canfor Winter Garden area has a flowing blue staircase below a ceiling of wooden lattices, representing the west coast rain forests. The cafeteria has a lighthouse design that represents the rugged coastline of northern British Columbia. Another structural feature, a pair of triangular glass peaks, represents mountains and functions as skylights above the UNBC Bookstore.

On October 13, 2010, UNBC was co-awarded the Campus Sustainability Leadership Award by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for its bio-energy project, which targets a reduction in fossil fuel use by supplying 85% of the heating needs at UNBC.[20]

University Hospital of Northern British Columbia[edit]

The University Hospital of Northern British Columbia is a Level III trauma centre in Northern BC.



The UNBC motto, 'En cha huná, directly translates as "He/she also lives" in the Nak'azdli (Fort St. James) dialect of the Indigenous language Dakelh (Carrier). It is interpreted in English as "respecting all forms of life".[21]

Student life[edit]

The Northern Undergraduate Student Society, known colloquially as NUGSS, represents the undergraduate student body at the University of Northern British Columbia. A non-profit organization, NUGSS serves and represents all undergraduate students at all UNBC campuses. The Society governs student-led organizations on campus, provides the health and dental plan, advocates for student needs in local transit, and hosts various events. Annual NUGSS events include Backyard BBQ, Jump Back to NYE, and Final Affair.

The Northern British Columbia Graduate Student Society (NBCGSS), represents about 750 full-time and part-time graduate students. It was founded in the year of 1997, less than a decade after UNBC was founded. Every year NBCGSS holds events like winter/semi formals, a ski trip and a summer trip. NBCGSS is a member of the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS).[22]

The UNBC First Nations Centre provides support services for indigenous students, including bringing in elders, counselling, and events such as talking circles and sweat lodges. The Northern Pride Centre Society or (also known as the "PC") offers a safe space, support, and resources to the LGBT and ally community, including a new Positive Space Campaign designed by UNBC students.

Student media[edit]

  • Over the Edge, a bi-weekly student newspaper. Established in 1994.
  • CFURadio 88.7 FM, the independent campus community radio station.


The Timberwolves compete in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association. UNBC fields men's and women's teams in soccer and basketball.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • James Moore (Member of Parliament and Conservative Cabinet Member)
  • Currie Dixon, Yukon Legislative Assembly Member (2011–2016), Leader of the Yukon Party and Yukon Legislative Assembly Member (since 2021)

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "Captcha". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Best of the best: Introducing the 2016 Maclean's University Rankings".
  4. ^ "UNBC is Canada's Green University - University of Northern British Columbia". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  5. ^ "UNBC History - University of Northern British Columbia". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Royal Visit '94: The Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Prince George, August 17, 1994". Northern BC Archives. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  7. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  8. ^ "Northern Medical Program". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  9. ^ Olson, Robert; Brastianos P; Palma D. (2011). "Prognostic and predictive value of epigenetic silencing of MGMT in patients with high grade gliomas: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Journal of Neuro-Oncology. doi:10.1007/s11060-011-0594-5.
  10. ^ Olson, Robert; Iverson G; Carolan H; Parkinson M; Brooks B; McKenzie M (2011). "Prospective comparison of two cognitive screening tests: Diagnostic accuracy and correlation with community integration and quality of life". Journal of Neuro-Oncology. doi:10.1007/s11060-011-0595-4.
  11. ^ Olson, Robert (2011). "Selection bias potentially overestimates risk of breast pain from radiotherapy". Radiotherapy & Oncology.
  12. ^ Caon, Julianna; Olson R; Tyldesley S; Bergman A; Bobinski M; Fong M; Ma V; Vellani R; Goddard K (2011). ". Assessing the risk of inadvertent radiation exposure of pregnant patients during radiation rtherapy planning and treatment in British Columbia". Practical Radiation Oncology.
  13. ^ Olson, Robert; Bobinski MA; Ho A; Goddard K (2011). "Oncologists' views of informed consent and shared decision making in paediatric radiation oncology". Radiotherapy & Oncology.
  14. ^ Olson, Robert; Caron N; Olivotto I; Speers C; Chia S; Davidson A; Coldman A; Nichol A; Bajdik C; Tyldesley S (2011). "Population based comparison of breast cancer screening and treatment utilization by health care region in a Canadian province". Canadian Journal of Public Health.
  15. ^ "Organizational Structure - University of Northern British Columbia". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  16. ^ a b "World University Rankings 2021". Times Higher Education. TES Global. 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Canada's best Primarily Undergraduate universities: Rankings 2021". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Canada's best universities by reputation: Rankings 2021". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Wood Innovation and Design Centre". Think Wood. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  20. ^ UNBC Wins AASHE Award. (2010-10-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  21. ^ "About the University of Northern British Columbia - University of Northern British Columbia". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  22. ^ "About: Our Approach". Retrieved 31 May 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Charles J. McCaffray (1995). UNBC, a Northern Crusade: The how and who of B.C.'s Northern University. Duncan, British Columbia: the author. ISBN 0-9680300-0-9.

External links[edit]