NEWS
06/13/2016 13:38 EDT | Updated 06/14/2017 01:12 EDT

A quick sketch of the next president of the University of British Columbia

VANCOUVER — Here's a look at Santa Ono, the new president of the University of British Columbia:

Age: 53

Early Years: Born in Vancouver to a Japanese-born father who was a professor in UBC's math department. His family moved back to the U.S. a few years after he was born, and lived primarily in Baltimore.

His name: Ono and his brother are named after characters in Japanese folk stories, but his father removed a few letters from each. "My father, being a mathematician, likes to add and subtract," Ono said. His brother's name is Momoro, after Momotaro, a folklore hero known as a "peach boy" because he was found by a childless couple inside a peach bobbing down a river. When Ono was born, his father decided to name him after a samurai character, Santaro. "He removed the 'r' and 'o' from Santaro, and it became Santa, not knowing that he was setting me up for a lifetime of ridicule from October to December," Ono said.

Education: Holds a biology degree from the University of Chicago and an experimental medicine PhD from McGill University in Montreal. His primary research interests focus on the immune system and eye disease.

Professional Life: He has held positions at Emory University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and University College London. He joined the University of Cincinnati in 2010 as provost before its board unanimously appointed him president in 2012.

Personal Life: Ono met his wife Wendy Yip at McGill. She is an accomplished immunologist and lawyer. Her late father was from Shanghai and taught at McGill, while her mother Dr. Alice Chan-Yip is a pediatrician and a member of the Order of Canada. Ono and Yip have two daughters, 18-year-old Juliana and 11-year-old Sarah.

Musical Interests: Ono is a cellist and studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. He is avid music lover whose tastes range from Rihanna to Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Mental Health Advocacy: Ono spoke frankly about his mental health history at a fundraiser last month. The event was to commemorate a student who had killed himself in 2014. Ono revealed that he had twice attempted suicide: once when he was 14 and the second time in his mid-20s. He said in a statement Monday that he aimed to spread awareness about mental illness and share his own struggles as a high-achieving student who battled and beat depression.

Quote: "Thank you for making it possible for this Vancouver boy to return home." — Ono speaking Monday during his introduction.