George J. Alexander, former law school dean and professor emeritus, died peacefully July 29, 2013, after a prolonged illness. George led the law school from 1970 to 1985—a period of great growth both in enrollment and in prominence for the law school, making him one of the most influential deans in its 100-year history. During his time as dean, George emphasized scholarship, hired distinguished faculty, and with his commitment to diversifying the legal profession, recruited talented students of color from across the country. He led the law school in developing a more international law curriculum and established it as a pre-minent global legal educator.
George left a strong legacy of commitment to advancing the legal profession and improving access to legal services. He and his wife, Katharine, have been great friends and supporters of the law school. In 2004, they endowed operations of the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center, which serves low-income people in matters of consumer law, immigration law, and workers’ rights. In 2008, they established the annual Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize, which recognizes lawyers who have used their legal careers to help alleviate injustice and inequity.
As professor, dean and friend of Santa Clara, George embodied the University’s mission and values by combining a high regard for academic rigor with a personal commitment to making the world a better place. While we mourn George’s death, we also thank God for the gift of his life. The University community will miss his leadership, wisdom, and friendship.