Honouring a Life of Public Service and International Vision

From the Spring 2000 issue of Nexus.

The family and friends of William C. Graham '64 have honoured both Bill and the Faculty by establishing an academic chair, the William C. Graham Chair in international Law and Development.

As an editor of the Law Review and the gold medalist of 1964, Bill will always be remembered as an outstanding law student. Following his graduation in 1964, Bill decided to pursue his interest in international law by studying at l'Université de Paris, where he earned a doctorate and learned the professional language of French law. Bill's scholarly work explored the interplay of economic and political integration, especially the extent to which economies could combine without formal political and legal amalgamation. This subject was to become more and more important in Europe, as well as at home, where both Quebecers and Canadian nationalists were growing increasingly anxious about their possible loss of identity.

Throughout his professional life, Bill Graham has made it his mission to advance international co-operation and understanding. As a partner at Fasken & Calvin between 1967 to 1980, he focused on civil litigation and international business transactions and the arbitration of domestic and international disputes. About this time, he also taught a course at the law school on European community law, a novel offering in its day, and one that foreshadowed the menu of international options now available at the Faculty.

In 1980, Dean Iacobucci persuaded Bill to leave one of the few international practices in Canada to return to the Faculty as a professor of international law, focusing on international trade law, and, later, director of the University of Toronto's Centre for International Studies. With his unique qualifications, Bill assumed a leading role in helping to revive the Faculty's international law programme. Bill's commitment to internationalist studies and to the possibilities for public service and practice in the international arena have inspired a generation of our graduates.

In 1993, Bill moved from academe to Parliament Hill. As the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre-Rosedale, Bill not only acts in his constituents' interests in domestic issues of all kinds, but educates his colleagues on many matters of international concern. As chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, among other responsibilities, he continues to serve his country and bring pride to U of T's Faculty of Law.

The William C. Graham Chair in International Law and Development honours Bill's commitment to public life, economic progress, and co-operation among peoples and nations. Its creation ensures that the study of international law will hold a prominent place at the Faculty as far as the future can be imagined.