Creating future leadership through philanthropy: Patrick and Beryl Campbell

Beryl and Patrick Campbell
Beryl and Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell always had an adventurous spirit. During his time at UBC, he played football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball, and earned three Big Block Awards for his athletic achievements. With his 1947 BASc in mechanical engineering, he took that same spirit with him on a career that spanned more than three decades and took him around the world. He worked as a pipeline engineer for Williams Brothers, and his work took him from Canada to the US, South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, working his way up to president of the company.

He and his wife Beryl never forgot that education was the starting point for their rich and adventurous lives. They established the Patrick and Beryl Campbell Charitable Trust to support children, education and health in Canada and Bermuda, feeling that “if we support students today, they will become future leaders.”

Their first gift to UBC was made together with Patrick’s brother Alastair and was to establish the Mairi Grant Campbell Fellowship in English Literature to honour their mother. Mairi Grant graduated from the University of Glasgow around 1917 with an honours degree in English Literature, a notable achievement for a woman of her time. Although she was unable to use her education to become a lawyer—which was her initial goal—she instead became a well-respected educator, with her passion for education making a deep impression on her sons.

Since its establishment in 1995, the Fellowship has helped more than 20 students pursue graduate studies in the Department of English, providing more than $295,000 in financial support. Tamas Dobozy PhD’00 was the second (and third) recipient of the fellowship. He is now a Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, and he notes the award changed his life:

“The award was especially important to me, because I had been taken on by the English PhD program on a conditional basis … the following year, I was given full admittance to the program as well as the Mairi Grant Campbell Fellowship. It was such a huge, huge thing. I went from being demoralized and second-guessing the decision to being elated and more driven than ever. The following year I won a SSHRC PhD fellowship, as well as being named a Killam Fellow, so the Mairi Grant Fellowship was the start of very big things for me.”

Before he passed away in 1996, Patrick Campbell made two further gifts to UBC. The Patrick David Campbell Graduate Fellowship has supported over 68 students for more than two decades and provided over $756,000 in financial support. The endowment that supports the Patrick David Campbell Chair has generated over $1.7 million to support the activities of the Chair, which include teaching design and coordinating project activities, stimulating advanced-technology design activities in local industry, and providing realistic creative design exercises for undergraduate and graduate students. These activities have contributed to an increased focus and proliferation of engineering design curriculum at UBC, and to increased engagement with alumni and industry leaders relating to advanced technology design education and innovation.

The impact that Patrick and Beryl have had on UBC education is tremendous—and their legacy lives on through their Charitable Trust, now run by their family. In late 2017, the Trust made a gift of $250,000 to establish the Patrick and Beryl Campbell Centennial Leaders Award as part of UBC’s new Blue & Gold Campaign for Students. They also made a further $150,000 gift to the Chair and a $50,000 gift to the Mairi Grant Campbell Fellowship in English Literature, boosting those two funds and ensuring they can continue to help teaching and learning at UBC.

Centennial Leaders Awards are “full-ride” entrance scholarships that are given to students who show academic merit, community leadership—and who also demonstrate financial need. The awards are renewable over the course of their four-year undergraduate studies at UBC. With this approach, UBC can recruit bright students with leadership potential who might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue higher education and realize their dreams—which is why these awards are a priority for the new Blue & Gold Campaign for Students.

Regan Oey is one of the campaign’s student ambassadors, and he received a Centennial Leader award when he entered UBC. You can read more about his story here, where he shares that he would not have been able to attend UBC without his award. In the future, Regan is hoping to use his time and education gained at UBC to help others—whether that’s people from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, or other students like him who wouldn’t have come to university without support.

The Patrick and Beryl Campbell Centennial Leaders Award will be able to disburse its first award in 2018, helping students like Regan—and will be an instrumental part of the Campbells’ legacy of supporting future leaders.

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