In Memoriam

In Memoriam: James Dean

February 20, 2019

With great sadness we report the passing of Professor Emeritus James Dean in February 2019.

James will be remembered for his captivating intellect, adventurous spirit, and remarkable contributions to the SFU community and beyond.

Originally from Parry Sound, Ontario, James earned his BSc in mathematics at Carleton University. He obtained his MA and PhD in economics at Harvard University. James specialized in international economic policy, trade policy, monetary and exchange rate policy, and transition and globalization.

James joined SFU in 1969 as a visiting instructor and later professor. Committed to teaching and mentoring, he inspired generations of students to study economics.

“Jim established long lasting ties with many of his students,” recalls Dr. John Chant, SFU Economics Professor Emeritus. “He was instrumental in having two former students recognized as Outstanding Alumni of SFU and one distinguished Ivy League visitor credited Jim for turning him on to economics.”

“James was a very active economist in high demand, a pleasant person to work with, and a great promoter of our undergraduate and graduate students,” remembers Dr. Mahmood Khan, SFU Economics Professor Emeritus.

During his three decades with SFU, James held visiting appointments at approximately 27 universities and research institutions worldwide. He was widely published, authoring six books and numerous articles in academic journals. He also served as a public scholar and worked tirelessly to give guest lectures, to advise governments and NGOs, and to write for the public on policy issues.

James strived to live life to the fullest. He continued to travel and work throughout his retirement. In 2010, he was Fulbright Professor at the American University in Washington, DC. And later that year, he spent four months in Juba, southern Sudan, as senior advisor to the Bank of Southern Sudan.

James was highly respected and sought-after for his contributions to the field of economics, but one thing that is not well-known about James was his generosity to SFU. In addition to funding the Department of Economics’ annual award for the graduate student with the best 3rd-year paper, James has quietly been a regular donor to the university with a steady presence at alumni events and fundraisers.

Outside of his academic career, James was a skilled multi-instrumentalist who played the clarinet, piano, and saxophone. He enjoyed classical music and jazz, especially the great standards from the 1920s-1960s, and played jazz tenor saxophone with the James Dean Trio in Vancouver, BC.

“James enriched my life and that of his colleagues, students and many in his large circle of social friends and musicians,” remembers Dr. Herbert Grubel, SFU Economics Professor Emeritus. “We are all saddened by his unexpected passing and will miss him very much for a long time to come.”

A memorial service is being held on Saturday, March 23 from 2pm to 4:30pm at El Santo, 680 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC.
Kindly RSVP your attendance to by March 16, 2019.

In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations in his memory to the James Dean Graduate Endowment Fund at SFU. If you would like to make a donation click here.