Blog Post

In Memoriam: Tom Brzustowski, PhD, O.C., FRSC, FCAE

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Brzustowski. Dr. Brzustowski was a dedicated educator, researcher, civil servant, and mentor. Among his contributions to the Canadian science-policy enterprise, Dr. Brzustowski contributed to the governance of the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). He served as Vice-Chair of CCA’s Scientific Advisory Committee from 2006 to 2010 and as Chair from 2010 to late 2013. From 2016 to 2019 he sat on CCA’s Board of Directors, serving on two committees, including as Chair of its Nominating and Governance Committee. He stepped down from the Board in November 2019 having played a role in 37 of the CCA’s 50+ assessments.

Dr. Brzustowski was an influential leader in Canadian science, engineering, education, and civil society. Trained in physics and engineering from the University of Toronto and Princeton University, he was a longstanding member of faculty at the University of Waterloo, eventually becoming Vice-President, Academic Affairs, a role he held for more than a decade. In 1987, he became the University of Waterloo’s first Provost. He went on to become Deputy Minister in the Ontario Provincial Government, before being appointed President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for two five-year terms. In recent years, he was a member of the Board of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, and as RBC Professor for the Commercialization of Innovation in the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Brzustowski was recognized for his many contributions to science. He received the Gold Medal of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and the Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Engineering Alumni Medal from the University of Toronto, and held honorary doctorates from the University of Alberta, Concordia University, University of Guelph, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Royal Military College of Canada, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, and École Polytechnique de Montréal. He was an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society of Canada.

Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and students.

Eric M. Meslin, PhD, FCAHS
President and CEO