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Campus Bulletin

April 30, 2006

U of G Grad John Kenneth Galbraith Dies

One of the University of Guelph’s most prominent graduates, world-renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, died Saturday at age 97. Known for his humanitarian approach to economic and political thinking, Galbraith was a Harvard University professor and served as an adviser to Democratic presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton.

“John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the greatest liberal thinkers of all times and his contributions to the University, to Canada and to the entire world are phenomenal,” says U of G president Alastair Summerlee.

“He was known not only for his amazing encyclopaedic intellect and commitment to knowledge, but also for being a conscience and a voice of reason at times of great unrest and uncertainty. He became an intellectual giant, but always remembered his roots and was a dedicated friend and supporter of the University.”

Galbraith, who was born on a farm in Iona Station, Ont., in 1908, attended Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, earning an associate diploma in 1929 and a bachelor’s of science degree in 1931. As a U of G student, he devoted some of his energy to organizing the University’s annual open house, College Royal. In fact, it was Galbraith who first proposed the event be publicized so that people from the farm community could attend.

He later moved to the United States, earning a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of California and enjoying a distinguished career as a professor of economics at Princeton University and Harvard University. Many of his books became bestsellers and have been translated into almost every major language. He also served as John F. Kennedy’s ambassador to India and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1997.

Galbraith helped support various University of Guelph campaigns, most recently by agreeing to be an honorary patron of the Science Complex campaign. The University’s John Kenneth Galbraith Scholarship in Economics is established in his name.

“In John Kenneth Galbraith’s writings, the future of humanity always plays a central role,” president Summerlee says. “The University of Guelph shares his outlook and remains committed to providing learning environments like the one that helped produce a thinker of Galbraith’s calibre.”

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