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November 2014

Katharine and George Alexander Professorship Created

Gift honors the late former dean of Santa Clara University School of Law, George J. Alexander

A $2 million gift from Katharine V. Alexander in honor of her beloved late husband George J. Alexander, will help create the Katharine and George Alexander Professorship of Law.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 3, 2014 — In a fitting tribute to a man who spent his life promoting the use of the law for equality and justice, a $2 million gift from Katharine V. Alexander in honor of her beloved late husband George J. Alexander, will help create the Katharine and George Alexander Professorship of Law.

The Alexander Professorship will support student-centered education focusing on the potential for the law to promote access to and equality within the legal system. The Alexander Professor, to be recommended by the law school dean and appointed by SCU’s president, will be one involved in public and professional service, with a clear commitment to furthering the distinctive mission and quality of Santa Clara University School of Law. 

“The Alexander family has been a stalwart force at Santa Clara to expose our students to the important work of advocating for those with great need but few resources,” said Dean Lisa Kloppenberg. “This new professorship will further help ensure that the values of the family, which are shared by Santa Clara, live on in our students.”

Prof. Alexander taught law for 52 years, from 1970 to 2003 at Santa Clara and before that at the law schools of the University of Chicago and Syracuse University. From 1970 to 1985 he was dean of Santa Clara Law, after which he received the first endowed chair in the school’s history, the Elizabeth H. and John A. Sutro Professorship. He also served as the director of the Institute of International and Comparative Law. 

He met Katharine, his lifelong partner and ally through the practice of law, when both were law students at the University of Pennsylvania After raising two children, Katharine taught at San Jose State University.  She later worked in the Santa Clara County Public Defender Office for over 25 years. 

“It gave George such joy to teach students at Santa Clara Law and help them see law as a true vehicle for justice," said Katharine Alexander. "I am so grateful that we can support the law school in continuing to foster the values that were so important to George."

In 2004 the Alexanders helped create what is now the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center, which educates law students by guiding them in providing pro bono representation to low-income individuals in several areas of law. In 2008, the Alexanders established the annual Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize, which recognizes and rewards lawyers who use their legal careers to help alleviate injustice and inequality.

A lifelong advocate of access to justice and equal application of the law, Prof. Alexander was active in the New York Civil Liberties Union, and in 2000 received the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties. In 2002 he received an award for Visionary Activist for Equality, Access and Diversity Throughout Law and Society from the Society of American Law Teachers, where he was formerly president and a founding member.

Prof. Alexander authored or co-authored 13 books, including Honesty and Competition; The Aged and The Need for Surrogate Management; Writing a Living Will: Using a Durable Power of Attorney; International Perspectives on Aging; and Commercial Torts, as well as many book chapters and more than 50 articles in refereed scholarly journals in the United States and abroad. He is also the author of a monograph on school segregation in Buffalo, NY (prepared while he was a consultant for the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights); a book on medical jury instructions; and a motion picture on legal research.

He received his LL.M. and J.S.D. from Yale Law School, his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his LL.B. from Pennsylvania Law School.

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121


Alexander Professorship,Katharine and George Alexander