Photo: The Rt. Honourable Bill Graham and his wife Catherine celebrating the launch of the Call of the Wild at Green College
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada grew up at the Graham House, now Green College.
Members of Green College mourn the passing on August 7 of one of the College’s Foundation Fellows, the Hon. William (Bill) C. Graham, PC, OC, QC, former Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002-2003), Minister of National Defence (2004-2006) and interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (2006). Mr Graham was also chancellor of Trinity College in the University of Toronto, which—jointly with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, currently directed by a Green College Society Member, Peter Loewen—houses the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History.
Green College at UBC has a special debt to the Graham family, acknowledged by the name of ‘Graham House’ that, since the College’s opening in 1993, has been emblazoned over the entrance to the building that stands at its heart. That building was formerly part of the ‘Graham House,’ meaning the mansion and grounds belonging to the Graham family. The estate passed to UBC as a gift of the family, upon the death of Ronald Graham—Bill Graham’s father—in 1963. As Diana Ericson records in her account of Green College, UBC: Its Architecture and Historical Background, in the 1950s Ronald Graham and his wife Helen “became known as ‘the busiest and most energetic hosts in Canada,’ and their home gained a reputation as a lively centre of warm and generous hospitality”—a reputation that, in its way, Green College endeavours to maintain to this day.
Lawyer, academic and statesman, Bill Graham was a convinced internationalist, promoter of French-English bilingualism in Canada, and supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. For a full tribute see https://www.utoronto.ca/news/memoriam-bill-graham-1939-2022 (‘a principled public servant who helped Canada re-envision its place in the world’). Mr Graham was our guest of honour at the Founders’ Dinner at Green College in 2010, when Dr David Strangway, former President of UBC, presented him with a certificate making him a Foundation Fellow. In his remarks on that occasion, he encouraged Greenies to think of devoting themselves to careers of public service, and to learning languages apart from their native language. He returned to the College in 2016 for an event to mark the launch of his book Call of the World: A Political Memoir.
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