In 1852 the Royal Institution merged with McGill University. The governors appointed as principal John William DAWSON, a young Nova Scotia geologist, and his driving genius began to build McGill into an internationally renowned institution. His interest in public education led to the establishment of McGill Normal School. He also formulated a scheme for affiliated schools and colleges across Canada which taught the McGill curriculum. Further, he established the tradition of enlisting the sympathies of wealthy benefactors, notably the MOLSON family, Lord Strathcona (see D.A. SMITH) and Sir William MACDONALD. McGill received minimal public funding until the early 1960s.
Dawson's successor, William Peterson, supported McGill's inclination towards the medical, biological and physical sciences. In 1898 he brought Ernest RUTHERFORD from Cambridge University to a full professorship of physics. Peterson encouraged H.M. TORY to found McGill College in Vancouver (now UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA). He persuaded Macdonald to found Macdonald College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue as a constituent of McGill, to further agriculture, food science and teacher training.
During the principalship of Sir Arthur CURRIE, Canada's brilliant WWI corps commander, the McGill graduate school began to share with Toronto the development of postgraduate studies in Canada. Medicine remained pre-eminent, with such names in the interwar years as J.B. COLLIP and Wilder PENFIELD; chemistry was tremendously encouraged by Otto MAASS and physics by J.S. FOSTER. The McGill Social Science Project, begun 1930 by Leonard MARSH, strongly influenced Canada in the development of the welfare state.
Cyril James, principal from 1940 to 1962, led the fight for federal funding of universities. During his tenure an immense flood of returning veterans swelled enrolment, which increased from about 3400 in 1939 to over 8000 in 1948. After the war the range of studies broadened, and now every aspect of human culture is actively studied on campus. Stephen LEACOCK, Hugh MACLENNAN and Frank SCOTT brought contributions to humanities and law. In the 1960s and 1970s McGill survived the "student revolt" and came to terms with the reviving FRENCH CANADIAN NATIONALISM.
McGill is a constituent of the provincial university network but has considerable freedom in maintaining its tradition of excellence in education and research. The university comprises the Centre for Continuing Education and 12 faculties: medicine, arts, law, education, engineering, dentistry, agricultural and environmental studies, music, management, science, religious studies and graduate studies and research.
Prominent alumni include: Leonard COHEN; William SHATNER; Irving LAYTON; Hume CRONYN; John Ralston SAUL; Charles TAYLOR; Maureen FORRESTER; Madeleine PARENT; Hubert REEVES; Ken DRYDEN; James NAISMITH; and former prime ministers Sir Wilfrid LAURIER and Sir John ABBOTT. McGill recently celebrated its 122nd Rhodes Scholar, its 4th graduate Nobel Prize winner and 2nd faculty Nobel Prize winner, and surpassed The Twenty-First Century Fund goal of $200 million. Its motto is "Grandescunt Aucta Labore" ("By work, all things increase and grow") and its official colour is red. Enrolment is approximately 30 000 full- and part-time students.
Author STANLEY B. FROST
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The official website for McGill University.
Canadian Architecture Collection
Many of Canada's finest buildings are on view at the website from the Archives of the McGill School of Architecture.
McGill History Portal
The Electronic Gateway to McGill's Past.
Sir John William Dawson
A profile of the 19th century Canadian scientist J W Dawson. From Library and Archives Canada.
The website for Academic Matters, a magazine that explores issues of relevance to higher education in Ontario, other provinces in Canada, and globally. Focuses on current trends in post-secondary education and academe’s future direction.
McGill Law Journal
This site offers article abstracts about a wide range of legal issues. From the McGill University Faculty of Law.
The School with John Bland: 1950s
An article about prominent architects associated with the School of Architecture at McGill University.
A brief profile of John Cleghorn from "The McGill Reporter," the staff/faculty newspaper for McGill University.
Recent news about McGill University programs, people and events.
Futurity.org: McGill University
Futurity highlights the latest discoveries from leading universities in the United States and Canada. Check the "Archive" for previous articles.
McGill Conservatory of Music
News and information about courses, concerts and competitions at the McGill Conservatory of Music.
Saucier + Perrotte architectes
The website for Montréal-based Saucier + Perrotte architectes features a multimedia portfolio of their noteworthy cultural, academic, institutional, and residential projects.
The website for the Cundill International Prize and Lecture in History at McGill University (Cundill Prize.) This prize is offered each year by McGill University to an individual who has published a book determined to have had (or likely to have) a profound literary, social and academic impact in the area of history.
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