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University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Sinclair, Sol

  • sinclair_s
  • Personne
  • 1905-1988

Solomon Sinclair was born in Rocanville, Saskatchewan on 14 January 1905. He grew up on a farm at Lipton, Saskatchewan. He received his primary and secondary education at the Herzl School and he obtained a teaching certificate at Regina Normal School in 1922. He taught in a rural school for two years before returning to his home farm and running the operation until 1930. He registered in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba in 1924 and then transferred to the University of Saskatchewan in 1926 after a lapse of one year on the farm. The Great Depression and poor crop conditions prevented Sol Sinclair from attending classes from 1928 to 1930. He returned to the University of Saskatchewan in 1930 and graduated with a BSA in 1932. The following year he married his wife, Ellie Osten.

While pursuing his M.Sc. degree, which he received in 1937, he was employed as a zone farm manager for the Confederation Life Association. From 1940 to 1945 he worked for the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, where he drafted the legislation and regulations and organized the office, field staff and procedures designed to assist farmers.
Sol Sinclair's career at the University of Manitoba began in 1945 as an Assistant Professor of Economics. He taught courses in agricultural economics, developed a research program, and established a major undergraduate and M.Sc. program in Agricultural Economics.

Sol Sinclair obtained a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Minnesota in 1953. In the same year he was appointed Professor and Head of the one-man Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba. Under Dr. Sinclair's headship the Department increased to ten full-time academics with supporting staff, and by 1960 it was the first Department in Canada to offer a Ph.D. program in Agricultural Economics. Dr. Sinclair developed the premier department of agricultural economics in Canada.

Dr. Sinclair took a two-year leave to serve as economic advisor to the Minister of Agriculture in Kenya from 1966 to 1968. In 1968 he returned to the University to establish the Natural Resources Institute's (N.R.I.) two year graduate program in resource management. Dr. Sinclair developed the course program, designed the criteria for student admission and evaluation, defined the form and content of the Practicum and created the committee formats for the academic, research and evaluation tasks. He retired from Agricultural Economics in 1973.

In addition to his stellar academic career he has also served on numerous private and government committees and commissions, and he has received many honours and awards. Dr. Sinclair was awarded fellowships from the Canada Council in 1951 and 1961, made Professor Emeritus in 1974 and an honourary Doctor of Law in 1976 at the University of Manitoba. He was also granted the Order of Arctic Adventurers by the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories in 1976. In 1986 the Solomon Sinclair Farm Management Institute was established.

His professional assignments include the following: chairman of the Board of Review for the Prairie Farm Assistance Act from 1955 to 1961; member of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada from 1962 to 1966 and 1972 to 1977; chairman of the advisory committee to the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation from 1969 to 1977; and consultant on the UNESCO Panel of Experts on the establishment of the United Nations University from 1972 to 1976. Dr. Sinclair was involved with professional and public service groups too numerous to list here. He also wrote and researched about 140 papers between 1945 and 1975, many of which are included in this collection.

Dr. Sinclair was responsible for the establishment of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba and its reputation as the best agricultural economics program in Canada. His involvement on several governmental advisory and research boards continued his support of desirable research and economic management programs. Dr. Sinclair made numerous contributions to his Faculty, to his students, to the University, to the community, and to his own profession both nationally and internationally.

1905 Solomon Sinclair born in Rocanville, Saskatchewan on 14 January
1932 Received B.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan
1933 Married to Elsie Osten on 5 February
1937 Received M.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan
1945-1953 Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor, Department of Economics, University of Manitoba
1951 Fellowship, Canadian Social Science Research Council
1953 Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics, University of Minnesota
1953-1966 Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, University of Manitoba
1966-1968 Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Kenya
1974 Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Manitoba
1976 Honourary degree LL.D. (Doctor of Law), University of Manitoba
1986 Solomon Sinclair Farm Management Institute established
1988 Solomon Sinclair passed away on 2 October at the age of 83