Don Nilson continues to honour faculty members with a gift for extraordinary teaching

Posted 2022-01-10

Don Nilson’s Story

Video thumbnail for Don Nilson’s Story

Don Nilson (BCom ‘76 MSc ‘85) is ensuring the impact of the CUS Teaching Excellence Award is both immediate and long lasting.

An award with a 46-year history has recently received an extra financial boost from UBC Sauder alumnus Don Nilson. The Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) Teaching Excellence Award, created by Nilson and his CUS classmates in 1975, celebrates an outstanding professor or faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to teaching at the school.

Nilson’s generous planned gift will establish an endowment for the award through his estate, ensuring that the award will continue to be distributed every year in perpetuity. In addition, he is ensuring the award is funded right away by pledging to provide annual support. The award will now include a $16,000 cash prize endowed in perpetuity to future winners. 

By combining present and planned giving, Nilson is able to blend his passion and vision — and inspire excellence at UBC Sauder. His gift celebrates and elevates the importance of teaching excellence, encouraging both students and teachers to be the best they can be when they enter the classroom.

“Teaching is one of the finest professions in the world,” says Nilson. “It’s incredibly important that we create an environment that fosters excellence so students can have the best experience possible.”

The award is administered by the CUS, allowing Bachelor of Commerce students to nominate a professor who has displayed excellence in teaching. To find out more about how to support UBC Sauder through a planned gift, please visit UBC Gift and Estate Planning


About Don Nilson

Don Nilson, CPA, FCPA, TEP, CFP, FP CanadaTM Fellow, has always been ambitious, starting when he was CUS President for the Class of 1976. He returned to do an MSc (Bus Admin) in 1980. He got his first teaching post at UBC Sauder that year and went on to be a lecturer with the faculty, both nationally and internationally for 37 years. In 1975, he co-created the CUS Teaching Excellence Award, as it has come to be known, with fellow CUS members Peter Ferris and Gary Hall.

He founded Nilson & Company, Professional Accountants in 1979 and AFT Trivest Management, Investment Counsel in 1994. Presently in semi-retirement, he is writing a book on personal financial planning.


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