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William Deverell

Key contributions: A renowned author, Deverell also is a successful lawyer, environmentalist and a founder and honorary director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

The BCCLA has played a prominent role in fighting for human rights since its formation in 1962 to advocate for a small religious sect, Sons of Freedom, whose members had been charged with conspiring to intimidate Parliament and the B.C. Legislature.

Between 1968 and 1973 the BCCLA took on a string of challenges against censorship, including obscenity charges against Vancouver’s alternative newspaper, the Georgia Straight. Deverell was among prominent Canadians such as David Suzuki involved with the association in fighting for civil rights.

Deverell, who received an LLB in 1963 and B.A. in 1964, was awarded an honorary doctor of letters in 2016.

“Deverell is widely regarded in literary circles as a national treasure and we hold great admiration for all he has accomplished as an award-winning author, lawyer, environmental activist, and as a champion of civil rights,” noted U of S President Peter Stoicheff.