Alumni Engagement Propels Okanagan Campus to New Goals

A lifelong relationship started with an acceptance letter from the University of British Columbia. Alumnus Ross Langford began his UBC journey as a student, a journey culminating in his role as cabinet chair of the start an evolution campaign for the Okanagan campus — one of the largest fundraising initiatives in university history. Langford and the volunteer cabinet are helping to raise $100 million for student learning, research innovation and community engagement initiatives.

“Our campaign is unlike any other previously seen in Canada,” says Langford. “Our dual goal is to raise funds for the University, and also to raise energy in the form of alumni engagement and personal involvement in our broader community.”
Personal involvement is essential to Langford, a partner at the law firm of Farris, Vaughn, Wills & Murphy LLP, who believes that volunteering brings success to the whole community. Invested in UBC’s growth in the Okanagan Valley, Langford is proud of his UBC heritage and is using it to help direct the vision of UBC’s future in the Okanagan.

Being an alumnus means more than a degree— for Langford, it’s a commitment to engage with the University and the community.
“People who’ve had the UBC experience feel good about that experience,” he says. “These alumni are passionate champions for UBC and are the best advocates for continued growth.”

Langford is one such alumnus who fondly remembers his UBC days.

“You live with a community of like-minded individuals all learning to be independent. UBC was a really dynamic place.”

He recalls—maybe not too fondly— cold and wet, early morning rowing practices on Burnaby Lake during his years at UBC. Heavily involved in intramural sports, this included Langford and his rowing crew teammates winning “Storm the Wall,” UBC’s most iconic rec activity. In his view, participating in campus activities enriches the culture of the campus for students and faculty.

Langford felt a desire to help a local campus with an international reputation, right from the beginning — when the Okanagan campus opened in 2005. Limitless opportunities exist for alumni to engage with the Okanagan campus and support initiatives from their own UBC experience.

Langford, a former athlete, and his firm backed from its inception in 2006 the varsity Athletics Scholarship Breakfast, a key fundraiser that supports  scholarships and bursaries for student-athletes. His involvement with the campus increased when his law firm established the Farris, Vaughn, Wills & Murphy LLP Award in Legal Studies for a student entering law.

Now a leader in the start an evolution campaign, Langford supports this founding campaign which he sees as paramount in impacting generations of UBC students.

Langford says he hopes the campaign will be a bridge to alumni who have graduated from Point Grey, alumni who now have diverse opportunities to engage with their Point Grey alma mater, but at a campus in the community in which they live. These alumni will also have an opportunity to transfer the sense of UBC heritage to the new Okanagan alumni so the new alumni understand they belong to an interconnected community.

A UBC education makes Langford feel privileged and indebted to the community that gave him opportunities.

“It is incumbent on anyone with talents and opportunity, to make the community better,” says Langford. This commitment, in his view, will secure the long-term success of UBC’s Okanagan campus and its ability to make a difference in local communities.

“Together,” says Langford, “these elements will create a momentum to carry UBC’s Okanagan campus far beyond the end of this campaign, into a stronger, brighter future for the campus and for the Okanagan Valley, and their ability to influence the world we live in.”

As alumni, everyone’s UBC experience starts with a letter, but getting involved with the University continues and deepens that experience with limitless impact.