August 29, 1932 – January 6, 2021.
The University of Toronto mourns the death of Malcolm McGrath, 1954 Civil Engineering alumnus, pioneer of alumni relations and fundraising at U of T. Malcolm served as the first Assistant Dean of Alumni Relations at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering from 1982 until 2001, when he officially retired from the University. He will be remembered by his former colleagues and thousands of his fellow alumni for his passion for helping students and his love of U of T and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
He established the Varsity Fund back in the early 1980s, which went on to become the Annual Fund. He also established the Gratitude program back in 1984, which began in Engineering and then expanded university-wide as a senior class giving campaign.
Malcolm took great pleasure playing the organ in Convocation Hall, ushering thousands of graduates and their families through their graduation days and at countless alumni reunions, including accompanying several alumni nuptials over the years.
He will be remembered by his former colleagues and thousands of his fellow alumni for his passion for helping students and his love of U of T and Engineering.
Please leave condolences for his family on the Tribute Wall of his Obituary. Arrangements by the family for a public celebration will be shared at the time when we are able to gather again in person (as per Malcolm’s wishes).
THE SKULE™ ANNUAL FUND
Memorial contributions for Malcolm McGrath can be made to the Skule™ Annual Fund – Greatest Need. Malcolm created this fund to help the Faculty, which he loved so dearly, meet its top priorities including enhancing financial aid for students, research projects, student clubs and supporting other Faculty initiatives. When making a gift online, under “Gift Options” select “This gift is in recognition or in memory of someone” and include Malcolm’s name. Along with your donation, you may also request to send an e-card with a personalized note which will be forwarded to Malcolm’s family. In the field provided, please send condolence notes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bench will be dedicated in Malcolm's memory in the Myhal Centre when we are able to gather in person.
IMPACT & LEGACY
Malcolm was a giant in his time. He began working at the Faculty in 1982, hired by Dean Gordon Slemon to facilitate stronger relations with alumni – and that he did and more. Malcolm also understood the importance of connecting with and building these strong relations with students as well. He became the go to person for the Engineering Society, the Engineering Athletic Association, musical groups, students in general, and maybe even the BFC (although we all know it doesn’t really exist).
Below is a list of accomplishments that we can all thank Malcolm for:
- Assistant Dean of Alumni Relations at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering from 1982-2001, and founder of Engineering’s first Alumni Office and one of the first individuals at U of T to do alumni relations;
- Warden (1985-2021) and past Secretary of Camp One Iron Ring;
- Co-Founder (alongside then President George Connell) of U of T Day;
- Founder of Graditude in Engineering that then went U of T wide;
- Established and ran Engineering’s annual fund program (then called the Varsity Fund) that then went U of T wide;
- Established the Skule Society, Engineering’s Leadership Annual Giving group;
- A member of U of T’s first core Divisional Advancement professionals created in the early 80’s which later evolved into the Division of University Advancement;
- Played the organ at Engineering Convocations as well as other significant U of T events including Alumni Reunion;
- Volunteered to play the organ for Victoria College’s annual alumni reunion Chapel service;
- Played at and/or consulted on musical pieces for many alumni weddings;
- Founder or assisted students in founding multiple engineering musical groups/ensembles including the Skule™ Stage Band, Skule™ Brass Ring, and the Engineering Holiday Choir;
- Member of Soldier’s Tower Committee;
- In recognition and in honor of his retirement, the Malcolm F. McGrath Alumni Achievement Award was created to celebrate those alumni for their personal outstanding volunteer service at Engineering, U of T and/or their communities.
Malcolm worked tirelessly, and the fruits of his labour remain through the pillars he established in Engineering and at U of T, and the lasting impact he made with those who knew and loved him. We each have our own favourite memory of Malcolm, and have much to be thankful to him for. As they say "…we walk on the shoulders of giants...", and Malcolm certainly was the biggest giant of them all.
Listen to a variety of beautiful pieces Malcolm played in Toronto churches in recent years:
Spring Song on the organ by Malcolm McGrath at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church
Malcolm McGrath playing the tuba at St. Paul's Anglican Church on Bloor Street
Corelli Gigue on organ by Malcolm McGrath at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church
Photos were provided courtesy of Amy McGrath and the McGrath family, U of T Archives, as well as Bill Dowkes, Chris Roscoe, Geoffrey Siu and Jim Webster (audio files).