by Randi Chapnik Myers

From the Fall 2004 issue of Nexus.

Back in the 1940's, long before it was common for members of minority groups to attend law school, Peter Fuld ('46), a German "half-Jew", and Ivy Maynier ('45), a woman of colour, met at the University of Toronto. It was there that their mutual passion for law and education defied the barriers of discrimination.

Ivy Maynier '45Recently, the Faculty of Law has become the grateful beneficiary of Fuld and Maynier's remarkable lifelong friendship. After Fuld's untimely death, he willed part of his fortune to Maynier, who, upon her death, passed on a bequest of $600,000 to their alma mater. Matched by the University to create a $1.2 million dollar endowment, the gift will fund the Ivy Maynier Bursary which will be awarded to students from underrepresented minority groups who demonstrate financial need.

Ivy (Lawrence) Maynier was born in Montreal, Canada, of Trinidadian parents. Despite growing up a black woman in a climate of racial and sexual discrimination, Maynier placed the highest premium on education. According to her younger cousin, Dorothy Hamilton, Maynier was determined, against all odds, to forge a successful career. From an early age, she wanted to make a difference in the world. In fact, Maynier's intelligence and determination led her to become a pioneer in many academic areas. At McGill University, she was named President of the Women's Debating Union and the first woman student to be awarded the McGill Debating Key. After obtaining her B.A., she was awarded a scholarship to U of T law school where she was the first to graduate with honours in International Law. It was there that she befriended Peter Fuld.

Peter Fuld '46Peter Harry Fuld, son of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, was born in Frankfurt in 1921. As a "half-Jew," Fuld was forced to leave Germany in 1939. With the beginning of the war, he was interned as a German in England and in Canada until his 1941 release. At that time, he applied for Canadian citizenship and enrolled at U of T law.

Throughout law school, Maynier and Fuld were close friends. As they acquired a top notch legal education, both were grateful to the University of Toronto for accepting them into the program. They were always aware that as members of minority groups from outside Ontario, they might have been turned away.

Despite his friendship with Maynier, Fuld's law school years were shadowed by his experience of discrimination. As a "half- Jew," he was shunned by both Jewish and German communities and, as a German, he was shunned by his Canadian colleagues. It was these very experiences, coupled with his observation of similar race discrimination directed at his fellow students of colour, that moved Fuld to help others in need. Throughout his life, he provided assistance to many visible minority refugees in postwar England.

Ivy Maynier (top row, second from right)After Fuld met his untimely death in 1962, his will bequeathed part of his fortune to establish the Peter Fuld Foundation in Germany. Today, this non-profit organization provides education and training for talented young people who have suffered discrimination because of their origins. In addition, Fuld left a large bequest to Ivy Maynier, his old law school friend with the understanding that she would use part of her inheritance to benefit the law school. Although in later years, they had drifted apart, Fuld and Maynier still kept in touch and always recalled each other and their shared experiences with fondness.

By this time, Maynier had long left Canada and was still adding to her impressive list of achievements. After law school, she was called to the Bar in England in 1947. By 1948, she had completed a comparative survey of labour legislation in the British West Indies before moving to Trinidad to practice law, then to Paris to work for the United States Information Service. Thereafter, Maynier found her niche in adult education.

Ivy Maynier with her brother Bert LawrenceLike Fuld, Maynier was moved to help others. She undertook community and welfare work, and expended extraordinary effort developing courses, programs and lectures in all disciplinary fields to make University more accessible to students in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1961, she married a career diplomat with the Federal Government and continued her career at the University of West Indies in Jamaica. According to Lennox Bernard, Resident Tutor School of Continuing Studies, Maynier "moved with ease and panache among the upper class and the intellectual elite, but she also related directly to the various dispossessed groups and communities. She exemplified all that was good and important in an adult educator. She was pragmatic, innovative, people-oriented, radical at times, strong-willed and an agent of social change." Adds Margaret Streadwick, who reported to Maynier at the University of West Indies in 1968, "Ivy had a reputation for having the interests of her students at heart."

Dorothy Hamilton remembers her cousin as a leader who instilled in others the courage to pursue their dreams. Because Maynier went to school on scholarships, she recognized the financial obstacles that so many students faced. So just as U of T did for her so many years ago, she wanted to provide academic opportunities to those who were starting their education at a disadvantage. Maynier's extraordinary bequest to the Faculty of Law carries on her tradition of helping others and making higher learning accessible to all. Says Arnold Weinrib, Admissions Committee Chair, "Roughly 30 per cent of our law school class are visible minority students. This wonderful gift will help many more afford a legal education."