Robert Sutherland was the first black graduate of Queen’s University, who went on to become the first black law student at Osgoode Hall. He bequeathed his entire estate to Queen’s, and in so doing saved the unviersity from financial collapse in the late 1800s. His gravestone bears the quotation above, written by Principal George Monro Grant. So why won’t the university board honour this historic alumnus by naming its decade-old Policy Studies building after him?
In the Globe’s comments section, Queen’s alum Allan Martel writes:
“I am a Queen’s alumnus and, since this turns on money rather than decency and common sense, I will put up $1,000 to have the building named after Sutherland who is clearly a very worthy candidate probably passed over without a thought in earlier times.
I suggest that the students contact alumni (perhaps through the obnoxiously aggressive alumni office) to raise the necessary funds to make this happen. There are probably thousands of us out there who are both ashamed and embarassed by this action (or inaction) on the part of Queen’s.
Let me be perfectly clear here, the amount of dollars that should be required, in my view, is less then one cent. But is it costs me more to put this right, I’m certainly prepared to do it.”