Mr. Speaker, in commemoration of black history month, I am pleased to acknowledge Robert Sutherland, Ontario's first black lawyer and one of Queen's University's earliest benefactors.
Robert Sutherland graduated from Queen's in 1852 with an honours degree in classics and mathematics. He later studied law at Osgoode Hall and was called to the Ontario bar in 1855.
After being called to the bar, Mr. Sutherland settled in Walkerton, Ontario and practised law until his death in 1878 at age 48. On his death he left his entire estate of $12,000, a considerable sum for that time, to his Alma Mater, Queen's University. It was to date the largest single bequest Queen's had ever received.
Robert Sutherland's commitment to academic excellence at Queen's stands as a reminder to us all of the limitless potential all people possess regardless of racial or ethnic origin. His early accomplishments and subsequent generosity are another proud reminder of the substantial contribution black people have made to Canada.