$2.5M gift from UBC alumni to create student engineering design centre

The University of British Columbia opens today on its Vancouver campus the Wayne and William White Engineering Design Centre, which will boost collaboration and hands-on innovation among students from 11 engineering disciplines.

The facility was made possible with a $2.5 million gift from UBC alumni Wayne and William White, twin brothers who graduated from UBC in 1967 with Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) degrees – Wayne in metallurgical engineering and William in mechanical engineering.

UBC Alumni Wayne and William White, and their spouses:Barbara and Gale White, with UBC VP Barbara Miles and Dean Aboulnasr. Photo credit: Don Erhard.

“We are very grateful to Wayne and William White for their generosity and vision,” says Applied Science Dean Tyseer Aboulnasr. “They have contributed to a learning environment where students can develop into professional engineers equipped to tackle society’s most pressing issues.”

“We’re delighted to give back to UBC as it was our studies here that made it possible for both of us to have fulfilling careers,” says Wayne White.

“It gives us great pleasure to provide a facility that we would have greatly enjoyed and benefited from as students,” says William White.

The $8.5 million Wayne and William White Engineering Design Centre is the first and only building on campus specifically intended to connect students from all UBC’s engineering programs in order to promote interdisciplinary team work, increasingly the norm in industry.

UBC Engineering’s 4,020 undergraduate and 1,279 graduate students will be able to collaboratively plan, design, assemble and exhibit their projects – from biomedical devices to ultra lightweight, fuel efficient vehicles.

Features of the three-story, 20,322 square feet (1,888 square metres) facility include three major spaces for design instruction, communal learning and competitions along with meeting rooms and a student lounge. Much prized are two workshops: one where students can safely fabricate fiberglass and carbon fiber composites and another for electronics fabrication.

The Wayne and William White Engineering Design Centre, located at the corner of East Mall and Engineering Rd., also received significant support from other alumni and donors including Ledcor Charitable Foundation, which provided funding for the composites workshop.

UBC offers 11 different undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Applied Science degree in chemical and biological, civil, electrical, computer, materials, mechanical, mining, geological, integrated and environmental engineering as well as engineering physics. For more information, visit: http://www.engineering.ubc.ca/about/index.php\

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Wayne and William White grew up in Vancouver and moved to Toronto 39 years ago. They decided to contribute to the proposed engineering student design centre in 2007 after attending a UBC alumni event in Toronto.

Wayne White is an investment advisor at Brant Securities Limited. He has worked as an investment advisor in Ontario for close to 40 years, specializing in the natural resource industry. Wayne has been married to Barbara White for 44 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.

William White is the co-founder and managing partner of Financial Advisory Services at IBK Capital Corp, an independent and privately owned investment banking firm. Married to Gale White for 44 years, William has three children and six grandchildren.

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