UBC Alumni Couple “Pay it Forward” with Gift of Securities

Glen and Margaret Carlson. Photo: Tim Swanky
Glen and Margaret Carlson. Photo: Tim Swanky

As a husband and wife team, Glen and Margaret Carlson have a lot in common: they are both graduates of the Faculty of Medicine, and they both share a passionate determination to help students pursue their dreams. By donating publicly traded securities, these generous alumni have supported the both the Faculty of Medicine and the School of Music.

“Going to university was probably the best decade of my life,” says Glen, who has been giving back to UBC since graduating in 1960. “As a third year medical student, I literally ran out of money. I couldn’t even afford to pay my landlady.”

Thanks to some assistance from the Dean of Students, Glen received a small loan of $300—enough to pay his landlady and complete the year. It was a small kindness that has stayed with him all his life.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been students,” says Glen. “I don’t think we really appreciate how much it costs to get a higher education today. The fees aren’t small, the cost of accommodation is not small, and a lot of young people are running up tremendous debt.”

After Glen graduated, he practiced in Burnaby while Margaret, who he married in 1961, completed her medical degree. Glen accepted a position in Merritt, and Margaret joined him after graduating in 1964. For the better part of their 45-year career, she was the only female doctor in the area.

Because of Glen’s experience, the Carlsons always felt a responsibility to help others. In 2006, they made their first of several gifts of securities to the newly established Glen and Margaret Carlson Bursary in Medicine. By donating shares that had appreciated in value instead of cash, the Carlsons were able to eliminate all taxes that would otherwise be owing on the shares’ accumulated capital gains .Their gifts have generated over $215,000 for students facing financial need.

To date 60 students have benefited from Glen and Margaret’s gift, but their generosity didn’t stop there. In 2009, Glen and Margaret became the first major supporters of the Old Auditorium Renewal Project with another gift of securities.

As a self-proclaimed “opera-nut,” Margaret has travelled the world to attend performances while Glen jokes that he “carries the bags.”

“We saw the potential of the Old Aud,” says Margaret. “A modern facility will provide students with professional experience that they can use around the world.”

For Glen and Margaret, education remains the best way for a student to broaden their horizons and experience all the world has to offer. “I still feel education is the key to everything,” says Glen.

“And that’s why we do what we do. We want to ensure that young people today have the same opportunities we had in our day,” adds Margaret.