Remembering Grant Russell

Grant Russell, retired Associate Professor and Associate Director of the School of Accounting and Finance passed away quietly surrounded by family on August 12th.

Russell joined the Department of Economics at the University in 1974 and became one of the catalysts in building the foundation of the School of Accounting and Finance. Russell’s legacy was his ability to leverage Waterloo’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit in helping to define accounting education at Waterloo to be the international benchmark it is today.

From the very beginning of Russell’s 42-year tenure with the University and true to Waterloo’s entrepreneurial spirit, it was Russell who had introduced Jack Hanna to Robin Banks, the Dean of Arts in 1979. The conversation and planning that Hanna and Banks had led to path-breaking developments and innovation in accounting education. This was just the beginning of a long list of Russell’s contributions to the University and the School.

Russell was also a well-known and loved instructor, having been honoured with Waterloo’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000. He inspired and guided the development and enhancements of nearly every significant educational and student-focused initiative including the introduction of the AFM Admissions Assessment (AFMAA, now known as the SAFAA), the Fellowship program, Professional Futures Conference (now known as Co-op Ready) and the Financial Literacy Competition to name a few.

“Grant Russell has been one of the key builders of the School and many of our programs. His passion to create and deliver innovative programming to enrich our students’ academic journey has had an everlasting impact on our School, our graduates, and our students that remains today.” – Steve Fortin, SAF Director

“He was a jokester and always looking for little subtle ways to break tension or make you smile and feel at ease,” notes Gwen, Russell’s daughter.

Russell will be missed but his legacy and the impact of his teaching and the initiatives he started will remain to continue to educate and build aspiring professionals in the fields of accounting and finance.

A celebration of life will be held in the coming weeks. As expressions of sympathy and in lieu of flowers donations to the Russell Family Scholarship.

The Russell Family Scholarship was established in 2007 with a vision of helping students achieve their goals and to attract new talented students to attend the School of Accounting and Finance. Grant’s vision has grown into an endowed fund of $210,000, the scholarship has gifted awards to 24 students since inception and is supported by more than 100 donors.  

Grant’s passionate vision was to inspire others to donate to continue to grow this scholarship in perpetuity or start their own to help more students every year. We thank the Russell Family and all of the donors who have supported this scholarship.