Alexander McInnes (Mac) Runciman was born in Invergordon, Ross-shire, Scotland, on October 8, 1914.
Mr. Runciman’s family immigrated to Canada in 1928 and settled on a farm near Balcarres, Saskatchewan. Mr. Runciman farmed until 1940 when he joined the Canadian Army; he served overseas until the spring of 1945, rising to the rank of Subconductor of Ordnance (Acting), which at the time was among the highest ranks of non-commissioned officers in the army.
After the war, Mr. Runciman returned to farming near Abernethy, Saskatchewan. He married Marjorie Dick in 1949 and they have two daughters, Dorothy and Cathy.
In 1955, Mr. Runciman was elected a director of United Grain Growers (UGG) and served as President of UGG from 1961 to 1981.
Mr. Runciman was the first President of the Rapeseed Association of Canada (now known as the Canola Council of Canada) from 1967 to 1971. He provided vision and stability to this association, helping it to develop into a world-renowned organization. As well, he was a strong promoter of canola within Canada and around the world, ensuring that farmers played an important part in developing what has become one of Canada’s major crops.
In addition to being a Director and Inaugural Chairman of the Canada Grains Council, Mr. Runciman was involved in a wide variety of agricultural committees, associations, boards, as well as provincial and federal government advisory groups. These include Director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Great Lakes Waterways, Prince Rupert Grain Limited and was actively involved with the International Federation of Agricultural Producers. He was also very active in the community; serving on the board of directors of Winnipeg’s United Way, Victoria Hospital, Rainbow Stage and the University of Manitoba (including a term as Chair of the Board of Governors).
Throughout his life, Mr. Runciman received numerous honours, including induction as a member of the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1983, Mr. Runciman was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He also received honourary degrees in Doctor of Laws from the Universities of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Mr. Runciman inspired many people. He was outgoing, charming, warm and affable and had the ability to make everyone he met feel important.