Alfred Loft Book Prize in Canadian History and Professor Alfred E. Loft Memorial Scholarship

Alfred E. Loft (1911 - 1988)

Gifted history teacher Alf Loft is much missed and fondly remembered by his many friends, colleagues and former students at UVic. Highly regarded by all who knew him, this popular professor remained active in the university community from the time of his official retirement in 1976 up until his final days.

Professor Loft, who died in 1988 in Victoria at the age of 77, began his teaching career in elementary schools in Saskatchewan in 1932. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1941 to 1945, then received his BA in History and English at UBC in 1947. He resumed his teaching career is Rossland, B.C., after the war, and joined the Victoria Provincial Normal School as an instructor in 1954.

In 1956 Loft was hired as an Assistant Professor of history in the College of Education at Victoria College. Soon after he joined the Faculty of Arts and Science at the College, and stayed when the College received official university status in 1963. In 1969 was promoted to the position of Associate Professor.

Words of praise an affection for Loft come from all quarters, including from Professor Peter Smith (Classics): "I always liked him on the personal level enormously, which I've always attributed in part to his Saskatchewan background. What a wonderful contingent of people we have had from Saskatchewan! He was so honest, with absolute integrity in every way. He was one of those “salt of the earth prairie people, a backbone of the university," Smith said.

"Everybody knew and liked Alf," said Bill Stavdal, manager in charge of publications for the provincial Ministry of Education. "I took a Canaadian survey history course from him at UVic when I was doing a degree in the late '60s. He had a great love of his subject and a gift for teaching. He managed to convey to students that Canadian history is not a dull subject. And he had a wealth of anecdotes. He spent his summers travelling and hiked portages that people he taught about had actually done. He was not just reading a book when he taught - he made history a living subject."

Loft was an active member of the UVic Speakers Bureau and frequently taught as a guest lecturer at U.Vic after his retirement. He was married, with two daughters.

Reprinted from The Ring, June 10,1988

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