In memoriam: Dr. Joyce Clearihue (March 10, 1927 - July 11, 2023)


Photo supplied by UVic Development

by: Lisa Abram, Communications Officer

If you are lucky, once in a while you meet someone whose presence is so beguiling and impressive, that you never forget them. I consider myself fortunate to have met Dr. Joyce Clearihue when I first arrived in Victoria with my husband.

One evening we were invited to watch the Snowbirds perform their aerial acrobatics over Clover Point, followed by an evening of food and mingling at a downtown hotel to raise awareness for Crohn's and Colitis.

Joyce wandered over to where we were sitting and asked if she could join us. I immediately admired her forthrightness, warmth, and intention to greet a table of strangers. She delighted us with life stories from her past and present. Accomplished Doctor. Adventurer. Loving Companion. Generous Benefactor. Her energy was contagious, and we all shared some good laughs.

When I was first hired at UVic Libraries, I was delighted to see the Clearihue building, named after her father Judge Joseph B. Clearihue, and UVic's first Chancellor, located next to the library. With her passing on July 11, 2023, at the age of 96, we honour her incredible legacy to UVic and to the community-at-large.

In September 2019, former Dean of Law Susan Breau announced a donation to the law school and the law library by Dr Joyce Clearihue in the amount of $434,000 to assist in establishing the Indigenous law collection as follows:

  • $80,000 to acquire Indigenous law print resources, digital media, and additional electronic databases, as well as migrate large current print subscriptions to electronic format.
  • The remaining funds used to establish the Clearihue Endowment for Indigenous Collections:
    • Over the 2020/21 and 2021/22 fiscal years, we focused on identifying gaps in their existing Indigenous law collections, and with a focus on purchasing material, like the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples transcripts, to support the current JID and Indigenous law courses and areas of faculty research.
    • Two archival collections have recently been acquired—the Neil J. Sterritt Archives and the Dr. J. Wilton Littlechild Archives—that support research and learning at the Faculty of Law and beyond
    • We are currently in the initial planning stages of an Anishinaabe songs project that will not only document and preserve this source of knowledge but also create new learning resources.

Read more about UVic Endowments.

Thank you Dr. Joyce Clearihue for the memories and your kindness!