Dr. Van E. Christou was born in Lethbridge on January 26, 1923. Through the Canadian Army Officer Training Corps, he attended the University of Alberta, graduating in 1948 with a Doctorate of Dentistry and a Queen’s Commission at the rank of Captain. On a Canadian Eastman Fellowship, he completed postgraduate training in Orthodontics at the University of Rochester from 1948-50. He returned to Lethbridge initially to practice general dentistry with Dr. JS Stewart, later establishing his own Orthodontics practice of 37 years. Van Christou was actively engaged in civic affairs with imagination and wisdom. His vision for accessible liberal arts education was realized in 1967 with the establishment of the University of Lethbridge. He had a mind full of ideas, many of which came to fruition through the sixty years he spent engaged with community affairs. His passion for the arts shaped the character of Lethbridge in many ways including the establishment of the Allied Arts Council, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Yates Centre, and the University art collection. His enthusiasm was palpable, his energy unremitting, and his contributions leave this community considerably enhanced.
He was honoured by the Blackfoot Nation, who named him “iihhiowdoomoo” (Lead Buffalo). He deeply respected the values of the Blackfoot Nation and took great pride in this honour. Dr. Christou passed away September 27, 2017.
Scope and Content
Sunset view of the CPR HIgh Level Bridge near the river edge.