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Towards an equitable future for all

Lance Uggla

This fall, the first cohort of Uggla Family Scholars—some of whom may be first-generation learners in their families—will begin their journeys at Simon Fraser University. For many of these students, it will be a life-changing opportunity that may not otherwise be possible without the generosity of one SFU alumnus. 

Last December, Lance Uggla (BBA ’85) and his family committed $34.1 million—the largest gift ever received in SFU history and the largest gift of its kind ever given to a Canadian university—to support the entire university education of 10 exceptional undergraduate students every year in perpetuity. The Uggla Family Scholars will be students who demonstrate strong academic and leadership potential but face significant barriers to accessing a university education.

To address issues of social mobility, equity, diversity and inclusion, the program will also support members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, those living with a disability and those who identify as Indigenous, Black or a person of colour. The scholarships will cover tuition, fees, books, housing and expenses, but will also go beyond financial aid. To foster personal growth and development, there will be a comprehensive leadership program to boost skills through co-curricular opportunities in areas such as financial management and wellness. The Uggla family will also be actively involved in the program and in supporting the Scholars.

The first cohort of SFU students will carry out their studies at the Beedie School of Business or the Faculty of Applied Sciences. This innovative, new program will expand to other faculties in future years.

Lance, who is a graduate of SFU’s Beedie Business School of Business, and his family are also committing £23.4 million for a similar initiative at the London School of Economics (LSE), where Lance earned his master’s degree, and are also supporting the university education of graduates from the Shitima School in Zambia. 

The scholarships at SFU and LSE are set to start in September 2021, with new cohorts of students at each institution beginning their journey in the Uggla Family Scholars program every fall term thereafter, while the program in Zambia will start in January next year. Once fully rolled out, these three scholarship programs will enable a university education for 100 talented students across the world in any one year.

“I am a father of four amazing children who are all building their careers from a similarly strong foundation,” says Lance. “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.”

“We are inspired by and deeply grateful for the Uggla family’s profound vision to empower the future leaders our diverse communities need,” says 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.”

Lance grew up in Burnaby and worked in the financial sector in Toronto before moving to London, where he founded Markit, a data, analytics and software provider. In 2016, he jointly led the merger of IHS and Markit, becoming chairman and CEO in 2018. He sold IHS Markit to S&P Global Inc. last November. Lance credits SFU and LSE for nurturing his entrepreneurial spirit and cites the scholarships as a way of thanking his alma maters for an excellent university education—and to ensuring that the generations after him have the same opportunity.
As a supporter of numerous charitable causes, primarily those focused on giving children a better start in life, Lance and his family’s gifts will help create a more just and equitable society for future scholars.

Learn more about this groundbreaking scholarship