Walter Gage retired in 1975 after 50 years at UBC. While this website will certainly appeal to alumni who had the honour of meeting Dean Gage in person, this site will also appeal to all UBC grads who are curious to learn more about this wonderful man.

To members of our generation who knew Walter Gage: We aren’t getting younger. Time is working against us. The need to capture stories is NOW because, well, the promise “I’ll do it later” may never be fulfilled.

Walter Gage was the heart and soul of the “Pay it Forward” concept. We’ve heard stories that date back to high school. “I’d like to go to UBC but what exam marks do I need? Can I afford to go?” It was Dean Gage who answered these questions and often found bursary or scholarship monies to make it possible. We were amazed to hear that money would sometimes come from his own pockets. It was one of his ways of paying it forward. Were you a student who benefitted from his fund-matching prowess or personal generosity? Did you know someone who did? Can you share that story?

The stories we’ve been able to trace go beyond students and touch our faculty members.  An English professor was in jeopardy of not be reappointed and possibly losing his teaching position at UBC. Walter Gage found the financial aid to allow the professor to obtain his PhD and relieve the pressure of uncertainty. The story has a bit of intrigue as it involves another UBC grad inducted in the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

Many benefactors have initiated scholarships and bursaries to carry on Walter Gage’s Pay it Forward dream. Click here to read a terrific story why the Walter Gage Memorial Bursary was launched by a Civil Engineering alumnus. Of course his  influence extends to all UBC faculties. Support UBC chronicles a story how two Medicine graduates are paying it forward to help students. Another article states: “His generosity cut across all faculties, leaving an indelible impression that has inspired generations of alumni to pay it forward.”

Not all stories involve financial aid. A heart-warming story we discovered was the time when Walter Gage befriended a legally blind student. Her mother told us of her daughter’s special relationship with him. President Gage found the time to regularly have breakfast or coffee with her. Sadly, she passed away a few years after attaining her degree in 1973. To pay tribute, Walter Gage started a memorial bursary in her name to provide financial assistance for blind students who require special equipment related to their studies. Click here to listen to the story.

These are just a few we’ve been able to surface. We know there are more untold waiting to be shared. The intent is to publish a book if and only if we have enough stories. In other words, it’s up to YOU and your willingness to invest a bit of time to submit your stories. Think of it as a Pay It Forward.

We plan to do frequent updates on our progress and will post some entered stories on this website. We will keep you informed where we stand in making the book a reality.

To alumni who followed the footsteps of their UBC parents: Ask them about Walter Gage. Is there a warm smile or a spark in their eyes when you mention his name? Visit the website together and help them to document that positive experience.

We’ve made it easy to write stories about Walter Gage. Tab over on the website to “Add Your Story” or click here.

Let’s enGAGE!

Click here  to add your name to the growing list.