Remembering Elder Alfred Scow

The Honourable Alfred J. Scow at his home in September 2012.

The Honourable Alfred J Scow at his home in September 2012.

Each of us at the First Nations House of Learning was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our elder, the Honourable Alfred J. Scow. Alfred has made a lasting contribution to the University and Canada. He is an inspiration to all of us.

As a member of the First Nations Longhouse Building Committee, Judge Scow has been a part of our community since the beginning, but his connection to UBC goes back much further. In 1948, it was Alfred’s father, the late Chief William Scow who gave UBC the right to use the name Thunderbird for its sports teams. Alfred was also in attendance when the name and the Victory Through Honour pole, carved by Ellen Neel, were presented to the University.

One of UBC’s most prominent alumni, Alfred completed his studies in 1961 as the first Aboriginal person to graduate from a BC Law School. He went on to be the first Aboriginal lawyer to be called to the Bar in B.C. and the first to be appointed as a legally trained judge in the Province.

In addition to his many contributions to the First Nations House of Learning, Scow served on boards and committees across the University including the UBC Senate, the Faculty of Law First Nations Advisory Committee, and the Alumni Association Board.

It is the work and dedication of our elders, such as Alfred Scow, that have made everything we do possible and all of us at the University – faculty, staff, and students – owe him a tremendous debt. His legacy will live on in the success of all of the Aboriginal students that have followed in his path.

A memorial service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, on March 9th at 2:00 PM.

Please join us for a celebration of Alfred’s life in Sty-Wet-Tan, the Great Hall of the First Nations Longhouse, on March 10th, 2013 at 2:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society.


Last year Alfred Scow was awarded a UBC Alumni Achievement Award, a video interview is available here. To learn more about his life and many contributions, please see his Faculty of Law Alumni Profile.

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