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W. Wesley Pue

$18,365.00 (raised so far)

About W. Wesley Pue

In April of 2019, the Allard School of Law lost one of its most enthusiastic, innovative, and generous scholars when Professor W. Wesley Pue passed away after living courageously with cancer for four years. His contributions to the law school and the university over 25 years of dedicated service were many and his impact profound.

Wes came to UBC in 1993 as the inaugural holder of the Nathan T. Nemetz Chair in Legal History, having previously been on faculty at the Robson Hall Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba and the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. As a legal historian, Wes was a scholar of the legal profession who sought to understand its foundations and its place in processes of nation-building and of Empire. Among a great many publications, he wrote a history of legal education in British Columbia, and his final scholarly work—Lawyers’ Empire: Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950—won the Canadian Law & Society Association annual prize for the outstanding book of law & society scholarship in 2017. Two years later, the Association renamed this award the W. Wesley Pue Prize.

Wes was also a first-rate builder of scholarly community, a talent that he shared between university (serving as Vice Provost at UBC’s Vancouver campus and Provost at UBC Okanagan) and numerous scholarly associations. As the Associate Dean Graduate Studies in the Allard School of Law, Wes rejuvenated existing programs, created new degrees, and was an unparalleled enthusiast for graduate students and their scholarship. He was convinced, and never tired of saying, that graduate students were responsible for the most interesting and innovative work in the academy. To help create a platform for their ideas, Wes encouraged and supported an annual graduate student in law conference that, nearly 25 years later, continues to showcase their work. In 2003, he received UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize for excellence in graduate teaching. Wes also served for years as a member of the Publications Board at UBC Press where, among other things, he founded the Law & Society book series which has become a destination of choice for law & society scholars.

To those of us who were supervised by and worked with him, Wes was a mentor who encouraged, supported, and believed in his students and his colleagues. There are a great many who regard him as a signal influence and inspiration in their lives, as an exemplar of a life well lived, and as a friend. For this go thanks to his wife Joanne and his daughters, Heather and Colleen, for sharing him with us.

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The impact of your support

To honour Wes’ life and accomplishments, friends, family, and colleagues will be establishing a fund or award in his name at the Peter A. Allard School of Law. Your gift will pay tribute to Wes and support students at UBC in pursuit of graduate degrees in Law. Final decisions on the award description and student eligibility will be made in consultation with the family.

Messages of Remembrance

All Messages
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  • Wes led the LLM seminar in 2004-05. I learnt a lot from the way Wes sent round a cache of ibooks each class for us to look at and the way in which he applauded students for testing out new ideas. Now I teach some of Wes' work in Melbourne, where students admire his understanding of the history of the legal profession in Australia. I really value having had Wes as my teacher.

    Gabrielle Simm, Former LLM student
  • Missing you still, Wes — a wonderful colleague and friend.

    Susan B Boyd, Colleague and friend
  • Adieu...

    David Hannigan, Friend
  • Reflections on Wes and his scholarship at the launch of "Lawyers' Empire: Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950", March 2016 (video link under Impact of your Support)

    David Sugarman,
  • Reflections on the launch of "Lawyers' Empire: Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950", March 2016 (watch video under Impact of your Support)

    Harry Arthurs,
  • It was always a privilege and inspiration to be in the presence of such a principled academic, brilliant scholar and fine human being. Here's a toast to Wes's friendship and continuing influence. Slainte Mhath,

    John McLaren, Friend
  • In July 2017, at our Canada's Legal Pasts conference in Calgary, I had a moment that stays with me. Wes, my long-time teacher, mentor and friend, his voice strong and familiar despite his struggles, commended an honours student of mine on the legal history project she had just presented on an episode in Calgary's history of alcohol regulation. I thought, "my cup runneth over."

    Lyndsay Campbell,
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Thomas Ross

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Susan Boyd & Claire Young

  • Mary Liston & David Duff

  • Graham Reynolds

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Robert Menzies & Dorothy Chunn

  • Shelley GAVIGAN

  • Fraser D HODGE

  • Pooja Parmar


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