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Ryerson University announces renaming of Faculty of Law

School pays tribute to the Honourable Lincoln Alexander’s legacy as a leader in the fight for racial equality, a champion of education and youth, and a trailblazer in Canadian history.
April 07, 2021
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Ryerson University is delighted to announce its newly launched Faculty of Law will be renamed the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University. The renaming will be made official at an inaugural year-end celebration, opens in new window, which will take place virtually on May 6, 2021.

A brilliant lawyer and distinguished public servant, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander (1922 - 2012) was the first Black person to be elected to Canada's House of Commons, to serve as a federal Cabinet Minister, and to be appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, where he played a key role in promoting multiculturalism, championing education, and advancing youth leadership.

In his provincial, federal, public, and private roles, Mr. Alexander also consistently advocated for the equal treatment of Black people and the importance of embracing equity, diversity and inclusion in Canadian society. For his many contributions, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and to the Order of Ontario.

The renaming of Ryerson’s Faculty of Law is a momentous occasion and will mark the culmination of Ryerson Law’s inaugural year as Toronto’s newest law school in over a century. Launched in September 2020, Ryerson welcomed its first class of 170 law students with a mission to equip the lawyers of tomorrow with the contemporary skills and experience required to expand the reach of justice and respond to the evolving challenges that face Canadian society.

And, like its soon-to-be namesake, Ryerson Law’s program is both innovative and ground-breaking. The law school is committed to shaping a new kind of lawyer: one that challenges the status quo, embraces diversity and inclusion, bridges the gap between law and technology, and expands the reach of justice for all. In doing so, Ryerson is reimagining legal education in pursuit of a more just society.

Ryerson Law’s rigorous curriculum features a collaborative co-teaching model with exceptional faculty and practitioners from a range of backgrounds and perspectives. Many of Ryerson Law’s faculty are members of equity-deserving groups - making it among the most diverse law schools in the country.

Furthermore, Ryerson’s JD program is only the second law school in Canada to be designated as an Integrated Practice Curriculum, which means that professional skills training is woven throughout the three-year academic program and graduates will not be required to article to be licensed as lawyers.

For more information about the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, please visit the about our namesake page.


  1. "Throughout his career, Mr. Alexander demonstrated a longstanding commitment to championing education and youth initiatives and advancing racial equality. Today’s announcement is a very fitting testament to those commitments and we hope that our students will similarly serve and support others in their future careers holding true to their values with the same fervor that he did." - Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University

  2. "The fight for racial justice and equality under the law is profoundly democratic work. Throughout his career, both as a lawyer and statesman, Lincoln Alexander championed this effort, and in so doing both challenged and forever strengthened Canada’s democracy. By his very presence, long-standing institutions, such as the viceregal offices and the legal community, were drawn to question their role, who they served, and who they included. It is with great pride that I celebrate the naming of this new Ontario law school in honour of a great trailblazer and leader. May his legacy of questioning rules, pushing against barriers, and generosity guide all who come to learn and serve." - Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

  3. "Many know that my grandfather studied law, and that his choice to do so led him on his particular journey. He made many sacrifices and worked extremely hard throughout his life. I believe having a law school named after Lincoln MacCauley Alexander definitely sets the bar high, but also provides a feeling of uniqueness, inclusiveness, and relatability. I know Lincoln would be exceptionally delighted to have Ryerson University name their school of law after him. It is another way that his legacy continues and inspires. We are truly happy and grateful to be able to witness this honourable designation.” - Erika Alexander (Mr. Lincoln Alexander’s granddaughter)

  4. "Throughout his decorated career, Lincoln achieved many pioneering firsts but his kindness, generosity, and devotion to family and to Canadians across the country is irrefutable. I am heartened to know that Lincoln's values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are deeply espoused by the law school that will bear his name. His legacy will undoubtedly live on through the future graduates of the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University." - Mrs. Lincoln Beal-Alexander (Marni)

  5. "We are so proud that our law school will be renamed after Lincoln Alexander - an indisputable trailblazer in Canadian history. Beyond his ground-breaking career, Mr. Alexander was a man of great character, determination and resilience. His life serves as an inspiration for all Canadians, and in particular for our law students - who represent the trailblazers of tomorrow." - Donna E. Young, Founding Dean, Ryerson Law