Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: D. Ralph Campbell (1918-2008)

University administrator.

Born at Foxboro, Ontario on 14 November 1918, son of Fred and Pearl Campbell, he graduated from Stirling High School in 1937 then worked on the family farm for the next five years. He served as a bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar. Returning to Canada, he became a student at the University of Toronto (1946-1949) then a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford (1949-1951). He became a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Guelph in 1951, becoming Professor and the Head of Department (1952-1962). He was President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society (1959) and the Agricultural Institute of Canada (1960).

He was Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Toronto (1964-1970) then was Ford Foundation adviser to Jordan (1962-1964) and Kenya (1970-1972). He returned to Canada as Principal of Scarborough College (1972-1976) before becoming President of the University of Manitoba (1976-1981), during which he initiated the practice of holding convocations at five other cities beyond Winnipeg so that non-university relatives and local friends could see their young people graduate.

In 1981 he became Rockefeller Foundation adviser to Kenya. In 1984 he became Director of the International Development Office of AUCC (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) Ottawa (1984-1986). He wrote the book We Flew by Moonlight recounting his experience as a war-time pilot and an autobiography entitled From Foxboro, Ontario.

He became a member of the Order of Canada (1986) and the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame (2008). He was given honorary doctorates by the University of Winnipeg (1977) and the University of Manitoba (1984).

He died on 13 March 2008. He is commemorated by Ralph Campbell Road at the Fort Garry Campus of the University of Manitoba.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 15 March 2008.

“Manitobans’ Legacy a Better Province,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 2009, page B2.

We thank Hugh Campbell for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 December 2014

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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