James Milton Ham fonds

Title: James Milton Ham fonds

Dates of creation: 1921-2006

Physical description: 11.7 metres of textual and other materials

Biographical Sketch: James M. Ham, the 10th President of the University of Toronto, first came to the University as a student of Electrical Engineering in 1939, graduating in 1943. He spent the remainder of the war in the Royal Canadian Navy and then returned to the University to be a lecturer at the Ajax Campus for 1945-46.  He again left the University in September 1946 to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he specialized in computer control.  He graduated with his Science Masters in 1947 and his Science Doctorate in 1952.  During his time at M.I.T., he held various research fellowships and designed a combined analogue computer.  After spending a year teaching as an Assistant Professor, he returned to the University of Toronto as Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering where he was responsible for teaching and researching feedback control systems, an area of study vital to automation and automatic control. 

He became full professor in 1959, head of the department in 1964, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering in 1966, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies in 1976 and President in 1978. 

He served on committees of the National Research Council (1959-1964, 1969-1974) and the Engineering Centennial of Canada (1985-1987). He founded the Canadian Academy of Professional Engineers, serving as Vice-President (1988-1989) and President (1990-1991). He chaired the Royal Commission on Health and Safety of Workers in Mines (1974-1976) and advised government on issues of industrial and nuclear health and safety. He held a fellowship at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.

Dr. James M. Ham was recognized for his contributions to higher education, the engineering profession and his public service by being given several honorary degrees and public awards.  In 1980 he was made an officer of the Order of Canada.  James Ham died of complications from Parkinson’s disease September 16 1997 at the age of 76.

Scope and content: Correspondence, addresses, articles, reports, notes, appointment books, photographs, patent material, medical records, memorabilia and other material documenting James Milton Ham’s personal life and work as a student, teacher, engineer, and administrator. Includes material relating to his naval service, world travel, and involvement in professional organizations including World University Services, Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, International Federation Automatic Control, and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Finding Aids: Series descriptions (B1997-0010, B1998-0002, B1999-0012), container list and file list (B2002-0005)

Access: Restricted ; Some restrictions apply to B1997-0010, Series 7 Office of the President - see finding aid.  All other series open.

Accession number: B1978-1357, B1997-0010, B1998-0002, B1999-0012, B2001-0024, B2002-0005, B2008-0017, B2012-0027