Lance Uggla, the son of a B.C. sawmill worker, who rose to be a global guru in the financial information sector, has gifted Simon Fraser University (SFU) $34.1 million to support students seeking higher education that will address issues around equity, diversity and inclusion.
The donation to support 10 exceptional undergraduate students per year to study at SFU is the largest gift of its kind ever given to a Canadian university.
The program will support members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, those living with a disability and those who identify as Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour, SFU said.
Uggla and his family are also committing £23.4 million for a similar initiative at the London School of Economics (LSE), where Uggla earned his master’s degree after graduating from SFU’s Beedie Business School of Business.
Together with a third similar program in Zambia, Africa, the scholarship programs will enable a university education for 100 talented students across the world in any one year.
“We are inspired by and deeply grateful for the Uggla family’s profound vision to empower the future leaders our diverse communities need,” said SFU President Joy Johnson.
“This is truly a transformative gift that will help to change lives, advance society and enable SFU to continue its growth as a leading advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion,” he said.
Giving thanks by giving back
“I feel fortunate every single day that I have benefited from an excellent university education, and by enabling these scholarships in perpetuity it is my way of saying thank you to Simon Fraser University and LSE for giving me such a strong foundation for my career,” said Uggla, Chairman and CEO of London-based IHS Markit, which has more than 15,000 employees in 34 countries globally.
“I am a father of four amazing children who are all building their careers from a similarly strong foundation. The Uggla Family Scholars that this program will support, all from less advantaged backgrounds, will equally be given the opportunity to excel in the years ahead. I am excited to get started and help the first students begin their journeys.”
Uggla worked in the financial sector in Toronto before moving to London, where, in 2003, he founded Markit, a data, analytics and software provider, which today has more than 50,000 business and government customers.
The scholarships are set to start in September 2021 at SFU and LSE with a first cohort of 10 students at each institution to begin in the fall of 2021. New cohorts of students at each institution will begin their journey in the Uggla Family Scholars program every fall term thereafter. The program in Zambia will start in January 2021.
The scholarships will cover tuition, fees, books, housing and expenses, but will also go beyond financial aid. A comprehensive leadership program will provide co-curricular opportunities for personal growth and development, including financial management and wellness.