Remembering a UBC friend and alumnus
Prominent Vancouver businessman, philanthropist and UBC alumnus Milton Wong passed away on New Year’s eve after battling pancreatic cancer, at the age of 72.
Wong, who grew up in Chinatown as the eighth of nine children of an immigrant tailor, graduated from UBC in 1963 after studying political science and economics. He went on to establish financial management firm M.K. Wong and Associates in 1980. The firm was eventually sold to HSBC Global Asset Management in 1996.
During his successful career, Wong purchased the Chinese Freemasons’ building at Pender and Carrall, where his father had started Modernize Tailors in 1913. He restored it and converted the upper floors into housing for seniors.
Milton Wong remained engaged with UBC throughout his life. He was co-founder of the Portfolio Management Program at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, where he became an inspirational mentor for a generation of young entrepreneurs. He was a generous donor and supporter of the late Michael Smith’s human genome sequencing project at UBC.
“Milton Wong was a builder, constantly looking for ways to make Canada better,” says UBC President Stephen Toope. “He was, quite simply, one of the most generous and genuinely thoughtful people that I have ever met.”
Wong leaves a remarkable legacy. He was one of the instigators of The Laurier Institution as well as the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival, and played a major role in supporting many First Nations initiatives, land claims and business partnerships.
A tireless supporter of higher education, Wong served two terms as Chancellor of Simon Fraser University from 1999 to 2005. He was instrumental in raising funds for and supporting organizations such as the BC Cancer Foundation, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Science World and the YWCA.
Milton Wong is survived by his wife Fei, daughters Andrea, Sarah and Elizabeth, sons-in-law Kevin and Joe, and three grandchildren. A memorial service will be held later this month.