Passings: Wallace Crowston


Wallace Crowston, one of the longest-serving deans at York University’s Schulich School of Business, recently passed away at the age of 90.

Wallace Crowston
Wallace Crowston

A Toronto native, Crowston received his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from the University of Toronto and then went on to attain graduate degrees in management sciences from MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, where he eventually earned his PhD and became an associate professor.

Crowston joined York University’s Faculty of Administrative Studies (now named the Schulich School of Business) in 1972, and a short while later was appointed dean, a position he held until 1984. After having served two terms as dean, he remained on the Schulich faculty for another three years before leaving to become dean at McGill University’s Faculty of Management Studies.

While serving as dean at both Schulich and McGill’s business school, he pioneered various experiential learning and work/study programs that would become part of an evolution in post-secondary education that continues today. His research focused on the use of computer information systems in the field of project management, and his research articles were published in a number of major journals and business publications, including Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review.

At Schulich’s 50th Anniversary Gala celebration held in Toronto in 2016, Dean Emeritus Dezsö J. Horváth paid tribute to Crowston, noting in his speech: “If our school is one of the pre-eminent centres of management education today, it is in part due to the strong and steady leadership provided by Wally Crowston. Many of our most successful graduates came from the period in our school’s history when Wally was at the helm – and many of them are here tonight. We thank you for the leadership you provided.”

Many of his former colleagues and students would echo that sentiment.

Anyone wishing to honour Crowston for his leadership and dedication to Schulich during its formative years can make a donation to the Dean Wallace Crowston Memorial Fund.