start an evolution: Leading Lights

Leading Lights in the sunset photo

With bold objectives to engage over 50,000 alumni annually and raise $1.5 billion in support of student learning, research excellence, and community engagement, UBC’s start an evolution campaign has had a transformative effect, inspiring ongoing change in both the university and the community.

Serving as the physical representation of this ambitious initiative, UBC has created a permanent installation to share the start an evolution  story and impact, and to celebrate and recognize the generosity of contributors who made gifts of
$25,000 or more during the campaign.


Leading Lights symbolically tells the story of the start an evolution campaign through the use of pillars working to represent the inter-relatedness of activity at UBC and beyond its physical borders. This installation highlights the contribution of our generous donors with a series of permanent triangular pillars that will be visible from afar and reveal further depth and detail as people approach.

Each of the pillar’s three sides will display donor names listed in alphabetical order with graduated prominence within four major gift categories. Surrounding two crossed pathways, the pillars are arranged within the space in an organic and whimsical fashion creating an inviting vertical “surface” of light. They are strategically placed to inspire personal interaction with the installation, and are illuminated to draw visitors both day and night.


Conceived to be timeless, memorable and interactive, the installation creates a new focal point and community landmark at the entrance of the Vancouver campus. The recognition feature is located in the high traffic area between the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre and the Wesbrook Building on University Boulevard. Located along this green space, it is part of a series of landscape elements that shape the important narrative of the university’s outdoor spaces, reaching from the UBC’s entrance at Wesbrook Mall through Martha Piper Plaza on Main Mall.