Gift agreement signing, Hong Kong, March 5, 2018. Left to right: Professor Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of British Columbia; Dr. Edwin S.H. Leong, Chairman and Founder, Tai Hung Fai Enterprises; Frank Lee, Senior Partner, Vincent T.K. Cheung, Yap and Co; Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, and Vice-President, Health, University of British Columbia.

A substantial philanthropic investment from Edwin Leong is intended to galvanize a community of researchers across UBC and position the university as a Canadian leader in addressing healthy aging – a personal and a public health issue of critical importance to individuals and communities around the world.

The Edwin S.H. Leong UBC Chair in Healthy Aging – a UBC President’s Excellence Chair will provide the leadership for a new, interdisciplinary Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program with the goal of defining the pathways through which individuals, communities, health systems, and whole societies can deliver a future with healthy, optimized aging for all.

By bringing together experts from different fields of research to investigate aging in a holistic way, this ambitious program will foster a life course approach, taking aging as the starting point and looking both backward and forward in the life journey, seeking the greatest opportunities to intervene.

A detailed understanding of disease progression based on an individual’s biology and history will enable researchers to better predict who is likely to develop a disease. This knowledge will also translate into improvements in care through a better understanding of how to manage a given illness and how to intervene to improve outcomes and optimize quality of life and longevity.

UBC announced the program on March 7, 2018.

UBC announced the chair on March 24, 2022.

Two advisory councils – the International Scientific Advisory Council (ISAC) and the Program Development Advisory Council (PDAC) – are supporting the successful development and launch of the Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program, while ensuring the program remains true to Dr. Leong’s vision.

About Edwin Leong

Edwin S.H. Leong, 66, earned his bachelor of science degree from UBC in 1973 before founding his property development company, Tai Hung Fai Group, in Hong Kong in 1977. His company has built hotels, shopping centres and commercial buildings throughout Hong Kong. The group has been engaging in different charitable initiatives since 2005 and The Tai Hung Fai Charitable Foundation was then established in 2013 for increasing charity commitments. The foundation has a history of philanthropy focused on helping disadvantaged elderly and underprivileged children, providing scholarships, supporting medical and other research, and health care.

When the Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program was announced, Dr. Leong sat down with UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono to discuss this transformational gift to UBC.