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In Memoriam Robert H McNutt

It is with great sadness that we learned that Bob McNutt passed away on June 23. As the Executive Director of the CRDCN from 2010 to 2016, Bob was highly respected as a wise, experienced and congenial leader who leaves a strong legacy both for our Network and for the Canadian academic community at large.  In recognition of Bob’s many contributions to McMaster University, campus flags will be at half-mast today. The Bob McNutt Student Award has been established in his memory, and donations are welcome. Click here to read the testimonial prepared by his friend and colleague Byron Spencer. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Bob was an accomplished academic and an administrator par excellence. An isotopic geochemist by training (PhD from MIT), he was an unlikely person to serve as Executive Director of the CRDCN, primarily  dedicated to social, economic, and health research. When Bob was considered for this position in 2010, the other candidates were bilingual and social scientists, whereas he was not. But the selection committee was unanimous in its choice, and it was a good decision!

Bob led the Network for the next six years, overseeing a period of considerable expansion. His commitment to the Network was tested when he was prevailed upon to become interim dean of the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster; rather than resign from the CRDCN he chose to do both roles for about two years. A testament to his administrative (and personal) skills is that everyone was well served. Bob offered to stay with the Network for one year longer than originally agreed and he played a key role in securing renewed funding from the granting councils in 2015; he also pointed to the need for an enhanced governance structure.

The Executive Director position was the last he held before his “final” retirement in April 2016. Final because he had already retired from McMaster University in 1995 after serving as dean of the Faculty of Science and from the University of Toronto Mississauga in 2003 after serving as principal. He then returned to the McMaster orbit (still retired) to serve as acting provost, interim dean of the School of Business, and in a number of other significant roles.

All of us at the CRDCN who had the pleasure of working with him will miss his good humour, his ability to bring out the best in everyone, as well as his wise counsel. For many of us, he was more than a colleague, and his friendship will be dearly missed. He was a very special person, one we feel honoured to have known and to have worked with.