By Valerie Dittrich
Former Ryerson vice-president of administration and student affairs, Linda Grayson, died Sept. 11 at the age of 72, according to an obituary in the Globe and Mail.
The Eyeopener previously reported on Grayson and her career, as well as her achievements throughout her years at Ryerson.
Before starting at Ryerson, Grayson worked at the Ontario Legislature as the director of the research department. She moved on to work for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in 1984—starting as a superintendent and making her way up to an associate director.
“I was sitting with a newspaper at home one day and my husband saw an ad for a job at Ryerson and asked me to apply. But I was happy at the board and didn’t want to change jobs,” Grayson told The Eye back in 1999.
“But, a week later, there was an article about Ryerson getting university status. I loved what I was doing at the board and there was nothing pushing me to go, but Ryerson was in transition and I was to be a part of it.”
When Grayson started as vice-president administration in 1993, her job evolved away from safety and security. She became more involved with student life on campus, which later led to adding “student” to her title.
Not only was she the first woman to hold a vice-president title at Ryerson, but she was also only one of three vice-presidents at the time to have “student” in their job title.
During her time at Ryerson, Grayson’s most notable achievement was being at the helm of creating the Ryerson Student Campus Centre (SCC)—a place where services such as The Eyeopener, Ryerson’s radio station CJRU and the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) have a home today—as well as advocating for the construction of the Victoria Street parking garage.
“I just think that [the student centre] is a terrific concept and that the university should do everything in its power to support it,” Grayson said back in 1999.
Students described her as being very trustworthy. Victoria Bowman, RyeSAC (the former name of the RSU) president from 1996-97, said to The Eye in 1999 that she didn’t trust a lot of people in authority before she met Grayson.
“It’s a weird thing,” Bowman said. “I didn’t trust anyone in authority, but the more you get to know her the more you trust her.”
“Students have a right to question what we are doing,” Grayson previously said. “This is a fabulous job. I’m not in a widget factory. I’m not doing something that’s inconsequential. I’m working with students who are going to be making the decisions tomorrow and the day after.”
According to the obituary in the Globe and Mail, Grayson is survived by her husband, Jack Granatstein; her son, Kyle (Denise); granddaughter, Elle; mother, Mary Forrest; brother, Brian Forrest; and sister, Patricia Castellarin (Glenn).
As stated in the obituary, those wishing to send their condolences can donate to a charity of their choice, in lieu of flowers, at Grayson’s request.