Story by Rob Rombouts
Grant Reuber established a home for Social Science at Western, literally and figuratively.
Grant Reuber, former Professor and the first Dean of the Faculty of Social Science at Western University, passed away on July 7, 2018. He was in his 91st year.
To this day, Reuber’s influence is visible in the very makeup of the Faculty, and the building it calls home.
Reuber completed his Western University Honors BA in 1950 prior to completing his MA and PhD at Harvard, specializing in international and monetary economics. In 1957, Reuber’s academic career began in Western’s Department of Economics and Political Science.
In 1963, Reuber took on the role of Head of the Department Economics and Sociology (1963-66).
As Head, Reuber developed each area with a particular strength and focus. His first task was hiring within the Sociology field, specifically looking to establish Western as a centre of excellence in demography.
After serving as Chairman of the Department of Economics (1966-69), Reuber became Dean of the Faculty of Social Science (1969-75).
Reuber continued to focus on growing the Faculty through focused recruitment campaigns. His area of focus for Economics was macroeconomics.
In an interview in 2016, Reuber said, “We tried to focus on a few areas that we did quite well. We also tended to pay attention to whether people were actually writing articles and doing work of academics or weren’t and what their success was, in the usual menu of things that people do to improve their skills and qualifications over time."
Speaking on his time as Dean, Reuber said, “The biggest part of my job was trying to recruit the best faculty I could find. I spent a lot of time chasing around good students at Harvard, Princeton, Chicago and so forth, and Canadian universities; when we got them I would try to fit them in and get the most of their talents.”
With Reuber’s guidance, the Department of Economics made many important hires, including David Laidler, Michael Parkin, and John Whalley.
“Through my interactions with Grant, I was impressed with the emphasis he placed on quality, especially in research,” said Bob Andersen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science. “I’ve tried to continue that tradition of excellence and guide our Faculty on a path similar to the one established by Grant.”
“Grant would have seen the Department start from nothing and rise to be among in the best in Canada. The methods we use today are the same as those Grant employed,” said Audra Bowlus, Chair of the Department of Economics.
Along with his role in building the departments, Reuber spearheaded the campaign to design and build the Social Science Centre. When completed in 1973, it was the largest building on campus.
Following his time as Dean, Reuber was Vice-President, Academic of the University (1974-78), and later served as Chancellor (1988-92). He was Chairman of the Ontario Economic Council, Deputy Minister of Finance, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Bank of Montreal, and Chairman of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. For his many contributions to Canada, he received the Officer of the Order of Canada and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Reuber continued to stay connected to Western; a strong advocate for the Department of Economics in his communications with university leadership
“The purple never left him,” said Bowlus.
Reuber’s lasting impact is across the Faculty, including through the G.L. Lecture Theatre, named in his honour in 1988, and the Grant and Peggy Reuber Merit Scholarship, first awarded in May 2004. The award goes to two students annually, one in history and one in economics. To continue this legacy, the Reuber family has asked that donations in Grant’s memory support this scholarship.