A.E. “Dal” Grauer, Ph.D., LL.D. (Hon) (1906-1961)
President and Chairman
British Columbia Power Corporation, BC Electric Company
Dr. A.E. “Dal” Grauer (1906-1961) was regarded as one of the most brilliant men of his generation. He had an enormous influence on business, education and culture throughout British Columbia and Canada. At his passing in 1961, he was President and Chairman of the British Columbia Power Corporation and its subsidiary, the BC Electric Company, and was serving his second term as Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Grauer was a well-educated man and accomplished athlete. A Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from UBC at 19 with first class honours in economics. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, a B.A. in jurisprudence from University College, Oxford, and received his honorary LL.D. degree from UBC. He pursued an academic life and became the youngest full professor in Canada in 1937 when he became Director of the Department of Social Science at the University of Toronto. While at Oxford, Dr. Grauer captained the Oxford lacrosse team and, with his brother Carl, was on the Canadian lacrosse team that demonstrated in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.
In 1939, Dr. Grauer left academia and joined the BC Electric Company as general secretary, and in only seven years (1946) he became the President and Chairman of the company. He led the company into a period of major expansion of hydro-electric and natural gas development during a time of economic growth and growing demands for power. He more than tripled BC’s hydro-electric generation capacity, brought natural gas from the Peace River country to the Lower Mainland, oversaw the transmission of oil to tidewater by pipeline, and pioneered an underwater transmission cable to Vancouver Island.
Dr. Grauer’s influence and vision extended well beyond the borders of BC. He served as a member of the Gordon Royal Commission on Canada’s Economic Prospects, and sat on the board of leading businesses including the Royal Bank of Canada, the Ford Motor Company of Canada and California’s Pacific Gas & Electric.
Community service and involvement was very important to Dr. Grauer. He served two terms as Chairman of the Vancouver General Hospital Board and three terms as President of the Vancouver Symphony Society, held many corporate directorships and was a member of the National Industrial Conference Board, New York, and the Advisory Committee on Atomic Power for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. He had active roles with the Canadian Welfare Council and the Family Welfare Bureau of Greater Vancouver. In 1957, Dr. Grauer was named Canadian Businessman of the Year, and the following year, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews presented him with its Human Relations Award.
Dr. Grauer was an outstanding businessman, scholar, athlete, educator, public servant, community leader, patron of the arts and family man. His full, productive life was cut short by leukemia at age 55. His widow and friends endowed a lectureship at UBC as a memorial reflecting his extraordinary range of interests. The loss of Dr. Grauer’s interest and influence was felt in every sector of British Columbia and Canada.