Edward McGrath, SJ ’40, known for introducing business management labor relations education to schools in India, died on August 4, 2017. He was a founding father of the Xavier Labour Research Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India and for over six decades served as an inspiration for thousands of students and colleagues at XLRI.
Father McGrath was born on January 7, 1923. After middle school studies at Saint Ignatius Loyola School, Fr. McGrath attended Regis High School where he graduated in 1940. He joined the Jesuits shortly thereafter.
Fr. McGrath first arrived in India in 1949, residing in Jamshedpur just two years after six Jesuits from the Maryland Province started the Jamshedpur province. On November 21, 1953 he was ordained as a priest.
(Pictured: Fr. McGrath's 1940 Regis yearbook photo.)
At the age of 36, Fr. McGrath became the second director of XLRI—a school of labor relations geared towards strengthening industrial India, through the strengthening of trade unions, personnel managers, and ethical management. He conducted several courses for management and trade union groups. In 1987, Fr. McGrath became the director of the Human Life Centre in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Fr. McGrath also authored the best-seller, “Basic Managerial Skills for All.”
Ratan Tata, former chairperson of Tata Sons, admired Fr. McGrath and wrote about him in the foreword of a book about the Jesuit priest, published last year:
“Father McGrath was amongst the first few people I met when I was assigned to Jamshedpur. I can never forget his great ability to put you at ease and the warmth of his friendship… Fr. McGrath has become as much of an institution himself in Jamshedpur as the formal institution with which he has been so closely associated.”
The book, titled “The Legendary Fr. Ed McGrath, SJ: Revered Teacher, Inspiring Forever” contains photographs of Fr. McGrath and tributes from generations of his students. A copy is available for viewing in the Regis Archives.