April 15, 2021
Ann Hilton is just putting the finishing touches on a watercolour painting. A professor emerita from the UBC School of Nursing, Ann has turned her former hobby of watercolour painting into a second career, mounting exhibitions and accepting commissions.
Ann’s new career is in contrast to her past life as a professor in the UBC School of Nursing, where she started in 1974. Becoming faculty at UBC was a homecoming of sorts, as she had graduated from the School of Nursing in 1968.
“It was exciting! I found myself teaching back in the same school — and in fact, some of my old teachers were now colleagues,” says Ann. “So that was kind of neat, with a different kind of interchange I would have with them as a peer.”
While a student and as faculty at UBC, Ann always noticed how students often had to hold down part-time jobs to fund their academic studies.
“I could see in teaching, the number of students who were working jobs and trying to manage all their commitments and how difficult that was.”
To that end, she created the B. Ann Hilton Fellowship in Nursing funded by an endowment and a gift in her will. Ann feels strongly about the need to help students — just as she was.
“In my baccalaureate, I was supported by a memorial bursary. For my master’s and doctoral work, I was supported by the Canadian Nurses Foundation. The National Health Research Development Program was also a huge support for my doctoral work.” Ann adds, “There would be no way that I would have been able to do either of those — particularly the doctoral program — if I had needed to fund all that myself.”
When it came time for Ann to decide whether to leave an inheritance to family or UBC in her will, there was no doubt in her mind she would do both. To other donors considering this, Ann has this to say.
“There are the tax breaks it can generate — and I’m not leaving out my nieces and nephews. Their parents raised them with a tradition of giving ever since they were small, and there was always a charitable contribution,” says Ann. “So now, instead of exchanging a lot of gifts, I indicate to my relatives, I’m making a major donation back to my fellowship. It’s doable — and it doesn’t mean you have to exclude family.”
For Ann Hilton, her family legacy and her experiences as a UBC faculty member have led her to engage again with her past — and have helped guide her philanthropic choice to help nursing students of the future.
UBC has a PhD program very much different than those in Europe — allowing me time to develop my thinking and research proposals. The B. Ann Hilton Fellowship has been really important in removing financial constraints and allowing that concentrated time.
Ismalia De Sousa was the first recipient of the B. Ann Hilton Fellowship in Nursing. In addition to enabling her to study at UBC, it has given her a precious gift for her PhD research – time.
“UBC has a PhD program very much different than those in Europe — allowing me time to develop my thinking and research proposals. The B. Ann Hilton Fellowship has been really important in removing financial constraints and allowing that concentrated time.”
For Ismalia, nursing is all about relationships. Having studied for her Bachelor of Nursing in Portugal before living in the UK — where she specialized in stroke care while obtaining her Master of Nursing — Ismalia has a truly international perspective on the profession.
“An essential piece of nursing is the relationship we establish with patients and with communities,” she says. “Having worked and studied in the UK, I wanted to take my education to another level by taking my PhD in another country and learning how other people think and live.”
UBC seemed a natural fit for Ismalia, not only for its exceptional PhD program in the School of Nursing but also its natural beauty.
“I really enjoy Vancouver — how open it is and the connection with nature and the sea. Being born in Lisbon, I love being close to the sea.”