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UBC alumnus funds new award for undergraduate students planning on law school

Walley Lightbody is a double alumnus and a strong advocate for the UBC Okanagan campus. His new $100,000 gift will create an endowment that supports students graduating with a degree in economics, philosophy or political science, who plan to enter law school.

August 3, 2021

Marietta and Walley Lightbody

Walley Lightbody graduated from UBC with an arts degree in 1956. He was offered a scholarship from the National Broadcasting Corporation to attend Northwestern University in Chicago. Instead, he chose to stay in BC and study law. He has enjoyed a successful legal career and remains a firm believer in giving back to his community.

“I had seven years at UBC, and it seems only right we alumni contribute something back,” says Walley Lightbody. “For the betterment of society, especially for younger people who may financially need help. They should have the opportunity and there should be no barriers or disparity because of wealth.”

Throughout the years, he has kept close ties to UBC. In 2013, Walley and his late wife Marietta were selected as winners of the Okanagan Alumni Community Builder Award, which honours Okanagan-based UBC alumni who have made and continue to make a difference locally or globally.

Walley currently spearheads a scholarship fund for Okanagan campus graduates who plan to pursue a law degree at UBC’s Vancouver campus. The endowment created in his name will provide a $4,000 award in perpetuity. Students who take one of four law courses in their department indicating an intention to enter law school will be invited to apply for the award. He hopes his gift will inspire and support future generations of lawyers who take their undergraduate degrees at UBC Okanagan. For Walley, law school was a milestone — and a coming of age.

“Law school has been one of the highlights of my life,” says Walley. “The ability to enter society and function as a lawyer is gratifying. As well, doing the groundwork necessary to keep the profession at the forefront and current is so important. I’m very fortunate to have gone through that experience.”

There’s also the collegial aspect of the law profession, which Walley feels strengthens its integrity and community.

“The ability to get along with your colleagues is an essential factor. There’s a certain camaraderie that exists among lawyers, and it’s very important — the lawyer’s word is what their professional life is worth,” says Walley. “I also want to say to those aspiring students going into law that it’s a rewarding profession. I look forward to having you there and enjoying it as much as I did during the years I practiced.”