This notice is from the archives of The Notice Board. Information contained in this notice was accurate at the time of publication but may no longer be so.
With great sadness, the University of Lethbridge extends its sincere condolences to family and friends of Dr. Van Christou (LLD ’84) who passed away Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the age of 91.
Christou was a founding father of the U of L and an outspoken advocate for locating a university in Lethbridge in the 1960s. He was chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s educational committee at the time and he remained steadfast in the fight for a university in Lethbridge, until the government announced in 1966 that Lethbridge would indeed be the site of the province’s third university.
He was a member of the U of L’s founding Board of Governors, serving from 1967 until 1973. From 1975 to 1979, Christou was the University’s third chancellor. Van and his late wife, Helen, secured the first major art donation to the University, the sculpture titled Moses. They had seen the sculpture in the American pavilion at Expo ’67 and succeeded in obtaining the sculpture as a gift from the owner, the House of Seagram Ltd. As pioneers of the U of L’s art collection, the Helen Christou Gallery opened in 2002.
In 1984, the U of L conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree upon Van in recognition of his outstanding community service, especially in regard to the development of higher education, fine arts and culture.
More recently, Van was named 2014 Citizen of the Year. He was a talented and passionate photographer and a longtime member of the Lethbridge Photography Club.
Christou was born in Lethbridge in 1926. After graduating from high school, he obtained a degree in dental surgery from the University of Alberta and went on to study orthodontics at the University of Rochester.
Please see here for a statement from the University of Lethbridge. Dr. Christou also participated in the University's 50-Voices project that interviewed 50 influential people from throughout the University's 50-year history. That interview is available here.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Lethbridge Lodge Hotel.
The U of L will lower its flag on Thursday in honour of Van.
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