George F. Curtis (1906-2005) served as Dean from the founding of the law school at UBC in 1945 until his retirement in 1971. He remained actively involved in the law school, addressing every incoming class and continuing to meet with students, faculty and staff throughout his retirement. He was an unfailingly positive presence at UBC, and shared his joy with faculty, staff, students and alumni to the end.
In addition to his work at UBC, Dean Curtis' contributions to British Columbia and Canada were recognized by his being named to the Order of British Columbia (1995) and the Order of Canada (2003).
He was a member of the Order of the Coif, and a recipient of numerous other awards and distinctions, including the first Law Society Award (1986), the Canadian Bar Association R.J. Hnatsyshyn Award in Law (1995), the Queen's Jubilee Gold Medal (2003) and the UBC Alumni Association's Lifetime Achievement Award (2005). He also received honorary degrees from Dalhousie University, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of New Brunswick, and the University of British Columbia.
Dean Emeritus Curtis passed away peacefully on October 23, 2005, at the age of 99. The George F. Curtis Dean's and Student Government Suite honours Dean Curtis' extraordinary achievements as the founding Dean of the law school, his emphasis on the close connections between faculty and students, and reflects the law school's deep and continuing attachment to this extraordinary teacher, scholar and academic visionary.
"Law schools are not teaching or laying the foundation for practicing tomorrow morning. You've got to think 20 years ahead if you can."
- February 1980
"I look back and why I'm so glad I happened to take law is that it gave me the opportunity to be of service. It's not the positions I've held. That doesn't matter at 98. What I get satisfaction from is the sense that I've helped people. I've done service, to people individually, to my community, to the University, to the Province and to Canada. Service is the thing that counts in my life, now."
- September 2005
For more, read:
Profile of George F. Curtis from The Advocate, 29 (1971),
Profile of George F. Curtis from The Advocate, 45 (1987),
Profile of George F. Curtis from The Advocate, 64 (2006),
and W. Wesley Pue, Law School: The Story of Legal Education in British Columbia (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law, 1995). [Call Number: KE289 .P83 1995 (LC)]