Memorable Manitobans: Alexander McInnes “Mac” Runciman (1914-2000)
Farmer, grain company executive.
Born in Scotland in 1914, the elder son of Alexander Runciman and Evelyn Anderson, he came to Canada in 1928 with his family and farmed in the Balcarres district of Saskatchewan until 1940. After serving overseas with the Canadian Army from 1940 to 1945, he farmed in the Abernethy district of Saskatchewan from 1946 to 1961. In 1961 he and his family moved to Winnipeg when he was elected President of United Grain Growers Limited (UGG), living there until 1999, when he moved to Red Deer, Alberta.
During 20 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of UGG, in addition to responsibility for the affairs of the company, he was involved in numerous agriculturally related organizations as well as Canadian business in general and many community activities. He was director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (1961-1968), member of the Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee (1961-1975), the founding President of the Canola Council of Canada and the Canada Grains Council, a member of the Agricultural Economics Research Council of Canada, the Economic Council of Canada (1974-1980), the National Statistics Council (1986-1990), a director of the Great Lakes Waterways Development Association (1976-1982) and its Chairman (1984-1986). He was an advisor to the Canadian delegation to the International Wheat Agreement negotiations in Geneva in 1962 and 1978 and a member of the Canadian delegation to the GATT Cereals negotiations in Geneva in 1967, as well as a delegate to four conferences of the International Federation of Agriculture Producers.
Following his retirement from UGG in 1981, he was a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba (1982-1988) and chaired the Board (1983-1988). He served Victoria General Hospital as a trustee (1972-1990) and Board Chairman (1988-1990); as a Director of the Hospitals Foundation (1982-1999) and President (1990-1992). He was a trustee of the United Way of Greater Winnipeg (1969-1972) and Manitoba Government’s Round Table on Environment and Economy and a trustee of the Fort Whyte Wildlife Foundation (1982-1992).
He was a director of a number of Canadian corporations including Great-West Life Assurance Company, Canadian Pacific Limited, Royal Bank of Canada, Massey Ferguson Limited, Fletchers Fine Foods Limited, and Power Financial Corporation. He was the Honorary Colonel of The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada (1979-1993) and a President (1966-1967) and Life Member of the St. Andrews Society of Winnipeg and the 1998 recipient of its Citizen of the Year Award. He received a Manitoba Centennial Medal (1970) and a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977). He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (1983) and was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba (1974) and the University of Saskatchewan (1977). In 1991 he received the Peter D. Curry Chancellors Award from the University of Manitoba for his service to the University. He was an honorary member of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, Canadian Seed Trade Association, C. D. Howe Institute, Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Seed Growers Association, Saskatchewan Canola Growers Association, and University of Manitoba Transport Institute. He was also a member of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame (2003), Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame, and Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He died at Red Deer, Alberta on 6 December 2000.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 2000.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 September 2015
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