Remembering Professor and Former Dean of Management Wallace Crowston

McGill University will lower the flag on top of the McCall MacBain Arts Building on May 8th, 2024, as a symbol of respect and mourning.

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of an exceptional management scholar and administrative leader, Professor Wallace Crowston, on February 25th, 2024. As a former professor and dean who positively shaped our Faculty and the lives of our students for over a decade, Wallace’s dedication and enthusiasm are greatly missed.

Wallace was born in Toronto on January 28, 1934, to Arthur Samuel and Clara Helena (Donnelly) Crowston. He studied industrial engineering at the University of Toronto, receiving a BASc. Following a year in the private sector, he went on to post-graduate work in management sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, where he received his PhD in 1968. He held academic appointments at MIT from 1966 to 1972, and at York University, Toronto, from 1972 to 1987, where he became Professor and later, Dean of the Faculty of Administrative Studies. Following two terms as Dean at York University, Wallace was appointed Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Management Studies at McGill University, positions that he occupied from 1987 until his retirement in 2000.

His leadership at McGill led to the founding of the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Desautels International Advisory Board. During his tenure at our Faculty, Wallace worked in partnership with other Canadian universities to establish programs for management education in countries across Asia, including China, Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, and Central Asia.

A talented scholar, Wallace’s research explored the use of computer-based information systems to plan and coordinate project management. He authored widely-cited articles in major journals. He also developed national and international networks to facilitate research, curricular development and learning opportunities in his field, on a global scale.

Drawing on this experience, Wallace served as national coordinator of the Canada-China Management Education Program, a CIDA initiative that contributed to the creation of the first 25 business schools in China, a pivotal phase in the country’s economic development. In Pakistan, he led a project that helped launch a new and innovative business school, Lahore University of Management Science, which is today a leading force in academia. In Bangkok, he led the creation of a Business PhD program involving the joint efforts of three prominent Thai universities.

A true globalist, Wallace loved to travel and was culturally curious and open to new experiences. He was motivated to expose faculty and staff to different cultural experiences, and this spoke volumes about who he was. His relationships with staff and faculty were equally important to him.

Wallace will be remembered for his caring nature and fulsome appreciation of life. His loss is a major one for both the McGill and wider academic communities, and the many students who considered him a mentor. He will be greatly missed.

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