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Tribute to Noah Meltz

  • Frank Reid

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  • Frank Reid
    University of Toronto

A full version of this tribute appeared in the March 11th 2002 issue of the University of Toronto Bulletin.

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Professor Noah M. Meltz, former President of CIRA and past Director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Industrial Relations, died on January 29th 2002 at the age of 67. Born in Toronto, Meltz earned a Commerce degree from University of Toronto and his Master’s and Ph.D. from Princeton University. He then returned to the University of Toronto in 1964 and by 1971 became a full professor.

A remarkable scholar, Meltz was also a gifted administrator. He was appointed Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations in 1975, a position he held for ten years. Under his direction and vision, the Centre was established as one of the leading centres of its kind, with a focus on interdisciplinary research. After serving as Assistant Dean of the School of Graduate Studies from 1985 to 1987, Meltz served as Principal of Woodsworth College at the University of Toronto from 1991 to 1998. During his tenure as Principal, Meltz encouraged innovation, collaboration and creative thinking from both faculty and staff. This resulted in the development of programs such as a course to help Ph.D. students prepare for teaching, the extension of the College’s international programs and the annual Sefton lecture series in industrial relations.

Meltz’s primary interests were unionization in Canada and the United States, industrial relations theory, labour market analysis and human resource management. He published some 18 books in the field of industrial relations, contributed chapters in 40 others and was the author of numerous papers and articles. Meltz also served as adviser and consultant to many government and labour-management agencies. A frequent contributor to Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations, he also chaired its Editorial Board for the last three years.

“Noah, in just the way he went about his teaching, his research and his administrative responsibilities, reminded us daily that caring, decency and consideration are not impediments to great achievement,” said Professor John Kervin, a friend and colleague. “And in retrospect, his achievements were the greater for the quiet and modest manner in which he brought them about.”