Alexander Cameron Rutherford (1927–1942)
Alexander Cameron Rutherford was born in Osgoode, Carleton County, Ontario, on February 2, 1857. In 1881, he graduated with a BA and BCL (Bachelor of Civil Law) from McGill University and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1885. He married Mattie Birkett, with whom he had two children, Cecil and Hazel. Rutherford practised law in Ontario for ten years before making the decision to explore the rapidly developing communities out west.
In 1895, Rutherford and his family moved west to Strathcona, Northwest Territories, where he was elected to its Legislative Assembly. In 1905, the day after the establishment of the Province of Alberta, Rutherford was called to lead the first government of Alberta. It was he who, in 1906, introduced a bill which founded the University of Alberta. Having been in correspondence with and developing what became a lifetime friendship with Henry Marshall Tory, Rutherford approached him to serve as the University’s first president. The two men envisioned an institution of higher learning that would be paramount in the creation of a modern province: the University of Alberta.
Rutherford resigned as Premier of Alberta in 1910 but pursued his passionate interest in the University, serving as Chancellor from 1927 until his death in 1941. Rutherford had numerous business associations and was active in many organizations including the Edmonton Mortgage Corporation, Imperial Canadian Trust Company, and the South Edmonton Literary Institute, to name but a few. An avid reader and book collector, his marvellous collection of Canadiana is now housed in the University of Alberta campus library which today bears his name: Rutherford Library.