Harry L. Purdy

Harry Leslie Purdy, Sigma Epsilon 1926, Distinguished Service Award Honoree,1962 (1901- 10/21/1974)

Brother Dr. Purdy was born in 1901 and was one of the charter members of the Sigma
Epsilon chapter at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He was a rugby and tennis
player “of note” in his youth and was an outstanding student. In his later years, Brother
Purdy was an avid golfer. He was a lifetime supporter of the Zeta Psi chapter at the
UBC and Zeta Psi Fraternity of North America, Inc.

He was a distinguished professor and successful businessman who relocated between the
United States and Canada throughout his life.

Brother Purdy received his Masters’ Degree in Business Administration from the
University of Washington in 1928 and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of
Chicago in 1935.

He began his professional career teaching Economics at Dartmouth College in 1936
and in 1941-1943 during World War II conducted special investigations for the United
States government. In 1943, he joined the Missouri Pacific Railroad as Assistant
Director of Research and taught at St. Louis University. In 1947, he became Director of
Research for the British Columbia Electric Company and rose to President of the
company in 1961. He was preceded as president at the British Columbia Electric
Company by Albert E. Grauer, who was a classmate at UBC and a charter member of
the Sigma Epsilon chapter. He served as president of the Canadian Gas Association in

Brother Purdy joined the faculty at UBC in 1962 and taught in the Commerce and
Business School and on the Economics faculty until 1971. He served as the Alumni
Representative to the College Senate from 1958-1960.

The University of British Columbia Hospital honored Dr. Purdy posthumously in 1977 by
naming its Extended Care Unit as the Harry Purdy Extended Care Unit (ECU) and
locating it in the Purdy Pavilion.