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UBC law school receives $500,000 donation from 1972 graduate

Tuesday, August 01, 2017 @ 11:26 AM | By Paula Kulig

The University of British Columbia’s Peter A. Allard School of Law has received a gift of $500,000 from Ron Stern, a 1972 graduate, to establish a new faculty position in the area of constitutional law.

The funding will be matched by the investment income generated from the Allard Faculty Recruitment and Retention endowment.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

Stern’s donation is made in honour of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the first woman to hold the position, as well as the top court’s longest-serving chief justice. She is retiring at the end of the year.

"During my time at law school, I was taught by inspiring and passionate professors who contributed to my understanding and appreciation for the law,” Stern said in a July 27 news release issued by the law school. “I am pleased to support the expansion of the faculty while at the same time paying tribute to the many outstanding contributions of the chief justice. My gift is also intended to assist the law school in moving to the next level as an educator and contributor to society."

Chief Justice McLachlin graduated as the gold medallist in her class at the University of Alberta, and practised in Alberta and British Columbia before joining UBC’s law school in 1974 as a tenured associate professor. After teaching for seven years, she was appointed to the Vancouver county court in April 1981.

Over the next seven years, she was appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court and later the province’s Court of Appeal, before being named chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court and then a justice on the Supreme Court of Canada. In January 2000, she was appointed chief justice by then-prime minister Jean Chrétien.

"The Allard School of Law thanks Mr. Stern for his very generous gift, which will build expertise at the law school and enhance the law school’s ability to teach the very best students,” dean Catherine Dauvergne said in the release. “Mr. Stern’s gift is a tremendous example of the transformative change that can be achieved through new investments in people and programs."

After graduating from law school, Stern practised law for about 15 years as a partner at a leading Canadian law firm, with an emphasis on corporate and commercial law and various social interest matters. He is the founder and president of Vancouver-based Stern Partners, which invests in a range of operating companies, and is also the chairman and CEO for some of those companies.

Stern serves, or has served, on a variety of corporate and community boards, including the Vancouver Airport Authority, Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation, Vancouver Symphony Society, Canadian Council of Israel and Jewish Advocacy, and Science World British Columbia. Since 2010, he has served on the dean’s advisory council at the law school.

Photo of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin by: Roy Grogan