The White brothers generously provided the support that made possible the Wayne and William White Engineering Design Centre. The Faculty extends its great thanks and appreciation to the brothers for their dedication to the students of UBC Engineering.
Three things have strongly influenced twins Wayne and William White throughout their lives and careers: Christian faith, the importance of giving back, and the impact of engineering.
Wayne and William were the first in their family to attend university. “We were mentored by Norman Lea, who founded N.D.Lea and Associates, a civil engineering firm,” says Wayne. “He encouraged us to study engineering. We looked at a number of Canadian engineering schools, including Western and Queen’s, but decided UBC offered the best program. We have never regretted that decision.”
Norman Lea was also the founder of the Delbrook Baptist Church in North Vancouver, which the twins attended and where they experienced and observed philanthropy at a young age. William remembers, “Norman Lea and his wife hosted the young peoples’ meeting each week in their home, and rented a school gymnasium on Saturdays so we could have a place to play sports, as there were no public recreation centre at the time.”
At UBC the twins worked hard to receive the bursaries, scholarships, and summer jobs that allowed them to afford tuition. They also met the women who were to become their wives: Gale in Arts and Barbara in Nursing.
Throughout their successful business and investment careers, Wayne and William remembered UBC fondly – especially Dean Walter Gage, who personally supported Wayne in his third year of studies and is remembered by William as inspiring. “You felt blessed to be in his class,” he remembers.
At an alumni event in 2007 the brothers learned of the proposed new Engineering Design Centre, and knew the time was right for them to give back to UBC and fulfill their personal philanthropic goals.
The Engineering Design Centre will provide all Engineering students with a design studio, workshops and project rooms for classes and meetings. The Centre is the pinnacle of curriculum changes across UBC Engineering that are focussing on hands-on engineering design, project-based learning, and collaborative problem-solving.
“As alumni, we recognize the great value of engineering education at UBC. We wanted to encourage everyone else who benefited from their time at UBC to help make sure that today’s students have similar advantages,” the brothers remarked.
“UBC Engineering launched our careers in business and provided us with the success that made possible our gift to the Engineering Design Centre,” adds William.