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The Accounting Hall of Fame

Howard Irwin Ross

Howard RossThe son of John Wardrop and Gertrude Holland Ross was born on December 10, 1907, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He received his secondary education at Lower Canada College, a private school in Montreal; he was graduated in 1925. He was a third generation accountant; his family tradition dates back to 1858 when his grandfather, Philip S. Ross, established the accounting firm P. S. Ross & Sons which was merged with the firm George A. Touche & Co. on June 1, 1958 to form the firm now known as Touche Ross & Co.

He received a bachelor's degree from McGill University (1930) in Montreal and a master's degree from Oxford University (1932) in England. An honorary Docteur en Science Comptable degree was bestowed upon him by the University of Sherbrooke (1963). He received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Queens University (1964), Sir George Williams University (1965), and McGill University (1973). He was certified as a CA.

His professional accomplishments extend over both accounting practice and education. He joined the firm of Touche Ross & Co. in 1932 and served as a partner from 1942-69. He served on a variety of the firm's committees including chairman of its Policy Committee. He was also with the management consulting firm of P. S. Ross & Partners (1932-69), serving as partner from 1943-69. Like his father before him, he was deeply attached to his alma mater, McGill University. He served the university as president of its Graduates' Society (1955-56), as Governor (1956-64), and while still a partner in his accounting firm he served in the honorary position of Chancellor of McGill University (1964-69). Having risen to the top of one of the largest accounting firms in Canada and having served in the university's highest office, he resigned from his firm in 1969 to become McGill's first Dean of the Faculty of Management, a position he held until he retired from the university in 1973. Upon retirement the university awarded him its highest honors--Professor Emeritus of Management and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In 1974 the Management Library of McGill was renamed in his honor.

His professional activities in both accounting practice and education were distinguished. He served on the Board of Governors of Sir George Williams University (1942-64) and United Theological Colleges (1947-64). He was president of the Quebec Institute of Chartered Accountants (1958-59) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (1963-64). He chaired the Canadian Institute's Committee on Accounting and Auditing Research (1960-61), and was a member of its Committee on Accounting for Changing Money Values. He chaired the Ontario Commission on Education (1974), and was a member of the Balden Commission on the Financing of Higher Education in Canada (1964-65). He was also a member of the Advisory Committee of Queens University School of Business (1960-64) and the Executive Committee of the University of Montreal Associates.

Extremely active in public service, he was chairman, Foreign Exchange Control Board, Montreal (1940-43) and ration administrator during World War II for Canada, Wartime Prices and Trade Board (1943-45). He was president of the Canadian Club of Montreal (1959) and he was chairman of the Montreal Red Feather Campaign (1960). Membership was held on the Royal Commission of Inquiry (the Salvas Commission) in Quebec during the period 1961-63. He was a member of the board of directors of Cadbury Schweppes & Powell Ltd., of Canada and Quaker Oats Company of Canada; and chairman of the board of trustees, Bank of Montreal-Royal Trust Realty Investments. In recognition of his outstanding service, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1946. He was presented a Bronze Medal by the City of Paris in 1967.

Widely known as a crusader for current values, he was constantly seeking ways of improving financial reporting. He spoke before many professional groups, wrote numerous articles for professional journals and authored The Elusive Art of Accounting (1966), Financial Statements - A Crusade for Current Values (1969), and Our Taxes, Lessons from Carter & Benson (1971).

He was married to Dorothy Dean St. Clair on October 7, 1938; they had two children. A well-known yachtsman around Montreal, he also enjoyed golf and playing the piano. He died on September 18, 1974 at the age of 66, barely a year after retiring from McGill. He was the first member elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame who was never a U. S. citizen.