Couple Makes a Planned Gift of Lifelong Learning

David holds a solid gold bar he won at a charity event.


“Pursuing what you love will lead to life-altering experiences that can help change the world.” That’s the philosophy of David and Normajean McGuire, two people passionate about life and learning, who also made a bequest in their wills to create bursaries at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The couple wished to endow a gift that inspired student learning, a legacy that represented what they valued in life and how they wanted to be remembered. “We felt that it was no longer a name that keeps your memory alive,” says Normajean, “but the students.” The David and Normajean McGuire Memorial Bursary Endowment will help generations of UBC students pursue their own passions in life, opening up a world of possibilities to impact the lives of others.

David loved working with people and pursued a degree in social work which led him to the Canadian Mental Health Association in Edmonton. Normajean, born and raised in Edmonton, was drawn to helping people with special needs. Her love of sign language translated into a career as an employment counsellor. One day, their passion for helping others led David and Normajean to each other. David, witty and intelligent, made Normajean laugh at one of his jokes. She was eighteen and knew she’d fallen in love.

Five years ago, the couple packed up their dogs and moved to Kelowna on a whim to live the Okanagan lifestyle. And then David became ill. The McGuires considered how what they loved in life could become a legacy for others. “David loved school and school favoured him,” Normajean says. For David, studying anthropology, languages, sociology and psychology, was like breathing. He became a full-time university student for fun while balancing a successful professional career. Learning, for David, was an important part of living life.

Inspirational professors motivated David to study what he loved— and he wanted students at the Okanagan campus to do the same. “People drop out of school because they can’t afford it,” Normajean explains. “With funds in place they can focus on school rather than paying rent and working.” The McGuire’s planned gift will assist deserving students overcome financial hardship and finish their degree.

Planning a gift to UBC was an easy decision for the McGuires. “There is a connection between you and the students you help,” Normajean says. “You have the chance to help them do great things and set the example for them to give back to others.” The couple’s desire to help people will live on throughout the lifetime of the University, something the McGuires valued. “Planned gifts,” says Ian Cull, AVP Students, “are especially powerful as they remind us of the passion people have for our University; such a passion that they want to remain attached to it in perpetuity.” David passed away in 2009 but his love of learning will continue through the UBC students he and Normajean will support.