Not only was Alexander Rutherford the first Premier of Alberta, he co-founded the University of Alberta. Ontario born, Rutherford moved to Edmonton when it was part of the Northwest Territories.
In 1902 he won election to the territorial legislature. Three years later, he was leading a new provincial legislature, shaping the practical, cultural and intellectual life of Albertans.
Rutherford also helped to shape Western fashion. In 1911, he co-founded and was solicitor for the Great Western Garment (GWG) Company, eventually acquired by Levi Strauss.
Outside of politics and business, Alexander reveled in his role as a senator, and then Chancellor, of the University of Alberta. One biographer, Douglas Babcock, estimates he awarded degrees to over 5000 students in multiple convocations between 1927 and 1941.
Rutherford also played a prominent role in the development of the Alberta Historical Society and the Canadian Authors Association. A man of far-ranging interests, he was a Mason and member of the still-active British Association for the Advancement of Science.
(top) Alexander C. Rutherford, ca. 1905-1910 Provincial Archives of Alberta photo A10649
(group) Rutherford’s Daughter, Hazel, her new husband Stanley H. McQuaig, and wedding attendees Helen Montgomery, Rutherford, Martin and Cameron family members, September 17, 1919
University of Alberta Archives Accession photo UAA-1986-041-6-7-2