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James Stewart

James D. Stewart

BASc 1963, PhD 1967

James Drewry Stewart was a remarkable man of diverse interests and talents who left behind an impressive legacy as an educator, activist and supporter of the arts.

James D. Stewart (1941-2014) was a mathematician at the University of Toronto and professor of mathematics emeritus at McMaster University. He earned his bachelor of science from U of T in 1963 and returned for his PhD a few years later. Stewart’s research focused on harmonic and functional analysis but he became particularly famous for his best-selling calculus textbooks, which have been used in high schools and universities around the world.

His academic work represents just a portion of his interests and passions. For a time while he was a professor, Stewart was also performing with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra as a violinist. He was an LGBT activist beginning in the early 1970s when the movement was in its infancy. Architecture was another lifelong interest, culminating in his commissioning the acclaimed and award-winning Integral House, a modern residence and performance space in Toronto. Stewart described his textbooks and Integral House as his “twin legacies.”

Stewart was generous to the University of Toronto for many years and included the University in his estate plans. In total, he has given more than $7 million to the University, directed to areas that reflect his passions. Recipients include the Department of Mathematics, the Faculty of Music, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. His wider philanthropy extended to the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and McMaster University.

James Stewart was dedicated to teaching throughout his life. Through his extraordinary generosity and his immensely popular textbooks, he continues to exert a powerful influence across important fields of study and on the education of students around the world.