Vivian Lucas

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Vivian Lucas – A Portrait in Giving

Photo by Martin Dee


As a UBC Nursing alumna and retired nurse, Vivian Lucas is passionate about the value of education over training, so she created the Vivian Lucas Scholarship in Acute Care Nursing. The scholarship is offered to student nurses who have demonstrated excellent communication, leadership and adaptability—especially those with an interest in, and aptitude for, acute care nursing. One of our favourite “friends of the school,” Vivian answered a few questions about her experiences in giving, with a view to encouraging others to do the same.

You graduated from UBC’s School of Nursing in 1967 and have been a proud alumna since. Why has it been important for you to stay connected and engaged with the School since that time?

I like to keep track of what is going on so I can still feel part of nursing when I am in retirement. I had a great education at UBC and it is gratifying to see how things have progressed with the school.

You have also been a loyal, annual donor to the School for close to 15 years now. Thank you! Was there a special memory or a pivotal moment in your experience with UBC that inspired you to make your first gift to the School of Nursing?

I had a sudden illumination several years ago that the government was going to get a lot of my money after I died unless I made provisions NOW to divert money elsewhere.

A few years ago, you decided to increase your support by establishing the Vivian Lucas Scholarship in Acute Care Nursing to provide for generations of nursing students in perpetuity. Why was this such a meaningful opportunity to you?

Being a student at UBC now is not an inexpensive proposition. It would be a shame if worthy students could not be educated in nursing simply because they lack the requisite funds. Lots of other faculties have lots of money put forward to help their students and I think nursing should  support its students in the same fashion. The bursaries and financial help that I received when I was an undergraduate were very helpful. In the early years of my donation, I just gave to general UBC funds, but I soon came to the realization that it would be better to direct monies more specifically to areas of interest.

Have you been in contact with any of the student recipients of your scholarship?

As far as I know the scholarship has been awarded twice to date and each time the recipients have sent me an appreciative letter. I have not met with them personally. I prefer to keep the contact in a more private manner.

As you know, the School is currently celebrating our milestone 100th anniversary during 2019. You made a most generous donation of $100,000 to the School at the beginning of our 100th year. You have said that you consider yourself to be a “typical person” so could you please share your creative approaches to how you made this significant donation?

I was fortunate to come into a bit of money in 2018 and so I thought I needed to share it with my scholarship fund, which was kind of small at that point. I wanted the student awarded the scholarship to receive a more significant amount, especially in view of the expensive nature of university education which I have noted above. It’s easy to cut a cheque for say, $100 without much thought. This donation required more thought and planning, which is a good thing. Nursing is about thinking, planning and feeling after all. There are also significant tax benefits to making charitable gifts to UBC.

I understand that you have encouraged other nursing alumni to consider making donations to the school both in the present day and also with a gift in their will. Why do you feel that both of these avenues for giving are important?

It’s nice to give NOW and see how people are helped in the now. It also helps with estate planning. Of course I don’t have children so estate planning and income tax angles are important to me. At our 50th UBC reunion in 2017 I did encourage my classmates to contribute to the fund.

What would you like to say to nursing alumni and friends of the School to inspire people to join you in making meaningful donations during this 100th celebration?

Remember your education and your colleagues and what you gained from UBC and how the education  you received there helped your career. Share a little more than you normally would in celebration of 100 years done and 100 years to come. Give something that you have thought carefully about and which is truly meaningful to you. Nursing should be in the forefront of health care.


If reading Vivian’s story has inspired you to explore your own passions and opportunities for supporting UBC, please contact Darya Sawycky in UBC’s Gift & Estate Planning office by phone at 604.827.2973 or by email at

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