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Gladys W. Gruenberg, Ph.D.: 1920-2021

by Joe Barker on 10/15/2021


Gladys Walleman Gruenberg, Ph.D., professor emeritus of economics and industrial relations at Saint Louis University, died Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. She was 101. 

She was the first tenured female faculty member in the School of Business. 

Gruenberg was born June 22, 1920, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her undergraduate degree from Marquette University in 1940. From there she earned a masters and doctorate in economics from Saint Louis University. 

While earning her doctorate, Gruenberg joined the SLU faculty as graduate assistant and assistant professor until 1955. She joined the faculty in 1969 and served as a professor of economics at SLU until she retired with emeritus status in 1983. 

Prior to joining SLU, Gruenberg worked for the Associated Unions of America, the National Labors Relations Board and Teamsters Local 688. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled “Unions and Wages: A Statistical Study.”

Her teaching interests at SLU included economics, industrial relations and international business. Her research interests were collective bargaining and labor arbitration. In 1975 she was named the director of a new program in graduate business administration for women. The program was designed to assist women in lower and middle management to earn a master’s degree in business administration. 

While working at SLU, Gruenberg and fellow SLU professor Yerachmiel Kugel, Ph.D., collaborated on a book, “International Payoffs.” The book, published in 1977, took a detailed look at examples of corporate payoffs and studied the rationale behind the payoffs. The book garnered a write-up by the Associated Press and was mentioned in newspapers around the United States. 

After her retirement from SLU, Gruenberg worked as an arbitrator, continued to write op-ed columns, and appeared in publications as an expert on economic issues. She also published a number of articles and papers during her emeritus tenure. 

Gruenberg was a member of the American Association of University Professors, American Economic Association, Association for Social Economics, Industrial Relations Research Association, Midwest Economics Association, National Academy of Arbitrators and Society for Human Resource Management. 

Gruenberg was predeceased in death by her husband of 60 years, Harold Gruenberg, and her brother, Kenneth Walleman, S.J. She is survived by daughters Sandy Davis and Dorothy Gruenberg; son Dan Gruenberg; and four grandchildren, Amanda Grindstaff, Christopher Davis, Jennifer Gruenberg and Nathan Gruenberg.

Gruenberg has donated her body to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s Center for Anatomical Science and Education. No memorial service is planned.

Contributions may be made to the Dr. Gladys Walleman Gruenberg fund for the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. 

Full obituary