Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Ralph Gordon Stanton (1923-2010)


Born at Lambeth, Ontario on 21 October 1923, the eldest of four children, he was educated at the University of Western Ontario (BA in Mathematics and Physics, 1944) and the University of Toronto (MA, PhD, 1945 and 1948). He taught at the latter institution from 1946 to 1957, moving to Kitchener-Waterloo to help with the expansion of Waterloo College into the University of Waterloo. He served as its first Dean of Graduate Studies and helped to develop the discipline of Computer Science within the Mathematics Department. Known for wearing gaudy ties, he inspired students to drape a gigantic tie over the Mathematics building on its opening in 1968.

In 1967 he moved to start a Graduate Program in Mathematics at York University. In 1970 he moved to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manitoba, serving as Head from 1970 to 1989, and since 1984, as Distinguished Professor. During his time there, he built up the Computing Science Department with an emphasis on applied computer science. His scientific research and scholarly contributions included algebra, applied statistics, mathematical biology, combinatorial design, graph theory, graph models of networks, algorithms and theoretical constructions of covering designs, packing designs, and pair-wise balanced designs. In recognition of his academic excellence, he received honorary degrees from the University of Queensland (1989), the University of Natal (1997) and the University of Waterloo (1997). In 1985 he was awarded the Killam prize in Mathematics.

Stanton spoke several languages in addition to English and French. In Winnipeg, his philanthropic activities were focused on three non-profit corporations that he founded and continued to administer until his death. Utilitas Mathematica Publishing, started in the early 1970s, published conference proceedings in mathematics and scientific computing. He founded the Charles Babbage Research Centre to promote conferences and encourage the publication of research and established The Institute of Combinatorics and Its Applications to present awards recognizing leadership and research in combinatorics and related areas of mathematics.

He died at Winnipeg, unmarried, on 21 April 2010.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 May 2010.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 July 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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