The F. Murray Fraser QC Scholarship paves the way for FYP graduates to study law at the University of Calgary

The F. Murray Fraser QC Scholarship paves the way for FYP graduates to study law at the University of Calgary

Graduates of the University of King’s College or Dalhousie University who completed King’s Foundation Year Program (FYP) are uniquely eligible for a new scholarship offered by the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary. The F. Murray Fraser QC Scholarship will be offered annually to a student entering their first year in the Faculty of Law, JD Program. Valued at up to $12,000, the scholarship was established by Anne Fraser in memory of her late husband Murray Fraser, QC, former President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calgary.

The F. Murray Fraser QC Scholarship strengthens the partnership between King’s and the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law, a partnership that began in 2018 with the announcement by Dean of the Faculty of Law Ian Holloway, that students admitted to FYP qualify for provisional pre-admittance to UCalgary Law. King’s and Dalhousie graduates who completed FYP and who are entering their first year of UCalgary’s Faculty of Law JD Program will be automatically considered for the scholarship, with academic merit and student leadership rounding out the criteria.

Now in its fiftieth year, the Foundation Year Program (FYP) at King’s is renowned for its rigorous format of lectures, tutorials and biweekly essays. The program revolves around robust engagement with some of the most influential works of the western tradition, brought together in a book list that is updated annually. Students and alumni who have completed the program praise its format for honing their skills in analysis, argumentation and verbal expression.

“To my mind, the kind of education that King’s provides is more important than ever,” says Dean Holloway. “There are many wonderful things about FYP, but from the perspective of legal education, what it does so brilliantly is teach students to understand that almost every single social issue we’re dealing with in the present is in fact grounded in the past. It also teaches them to read very difficult texts, and to express themselves well—both orally and in writing. For all those reasons, it’s hard for me to imagine a better preparation for law school than an undergraduate education at King’s. That we’re able to recognize that while at the same time celebrating someone who played an important part in the lives of both Halifax and Calgary is truly wonderful.”

To FYP Director Daniel Brandes, the program is “in many respects, an ideal point of departure for the study (or practice) of law.”

“The skills cultivated in FYP—the ability to read widely and carefully with an eye for what is essential in a text; the ability to construct a persuasive argument with strong supporting evidence; and the ability to take up perspectives that are foreign to one’s own, to go ‘imaginatively wandering’ amidst the foundational works that helped shape our concepts of law, justice, authority, and power—are the same skills that will surely be prized, and further developed, by the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law. In my view, this sense of shared purpose finds perfect expression in the maintenance of this scholarship, for which we are very grateful, indeed,” Brandes says.

University of King’s College President and Professor of Law William Lahey emphasizes that FYP not only develops a student’s intellect, it also helps students learn how to relate to others. “It’s crucial that the opportunity for intellectual development that FYP offers students comes in the context of a uniquely supportive learning community. After a year spent in constant dialogue with faculty and their peers, students consistently describe feeling more confident in their own voice and they also point to the transformative effects of a year spent listening to others. The value of that empathy, to students themselves and to the professions they will go on to, cannot be overstated. The F. Murray Fraser QC Scholarship is tremendous recognition of the fact that thoughtful, caring young people make ideal candidates for the study and practice of law.”

Murray Fraser grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a young man he worked at the Big Cove YMCA as a camp counsellor and later camp director. He chose to begin his university years at King’s, before going on to graduate with arts and law degrees from Dalhousie University where he was president of the student council.

Fraser earned a Master’s in Law from the University of London and returned to Halifax to practice. He joined the Faculty of Law at Dalhousie and later became its acting Dean. At the age of 37 he spent a year as a family law consultant at the Law Reform Commission of Canada. While there he was recruited to be the founding Dean of Law at the University of Victoria, where he also served as Vice-President (Academic). On its 25th anniversary, the Faculty of Law paid tribute to Fraser’s innovative curriculum and the warmth he and his wife shared with the community by renaming its building the Murray and Anne Fraser Building.

Fraser became President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calgary in 1988. Fraser’s leadership burnished his reputation with students, faculty and staff. When, after eight years he departed Calgary in 1996, the university celebrated the contributions both he and Anne Fraser made to education and their community with honorary doctoral degrees. In 1998, it was announced that the West Block of the building housing Calgary’s Faculty of Law would be called Murray Fraser Hall.

The Fraser family retains strong ties to Nova Scotia: their sons and families live in Halifax, and they have held a summer home in the province for 50 years.

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