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McGill University Milestones - 1885 to 1999

The University - 1951-1970


Physical Sciences Centre (now Frank Dawson Adams Building) completed, including reconstruction of Macdonald Chemistry and Physics Building.

Institute of Air and Space Law established.

Institute of Islamic Studies establshed.

Neurochemistry laboratories endowed by W.H. Donner.

Government of Canada enacted legislation to provide federal grants to universities.


B.C. Gardner, Ninth Chancellor, 1952-1957.

McConnell Wing of the Montreal Neurological Institute opened.

University Medical Clinic established in the Montreal General Hospital.


New Redpath Library completed.


Redpath Hall created out of the reading room of the old library.

McGill Sub-Arctic Laboratory established at Schefferville, Quebec.

Bellairs Research Institute established in Barbados.


The Institute of Education oraganized at Macdonald College.


McConnell Winter Stadium completed.


R.E. Powell, Tenth Chancellor, 1957-1964.

James H. Brace Bequest received in Engineering for Arid Areas research.


Eighth Congress of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (the first held outside Britain) at McGill.


McConnell Engineering Building completed.

Laird Hall, an additional residence for women students at Macdonald College, completed.

Mont St. Hilaire bequeathed to the University by Brigadier Hamilton Gault.

Jacobsen-McGill Arctic Expedition to Axel Heiberg Island, latitude 80 degreees north.

McGill acquired its first mainframe computer, to provide services for University administration and research, and a Computer Centre was opened.



Peterson Hall purchased from the Montreal Protestant School Board.

Department of Meteorology created.

Quebec enacted legislation providing statutory grants to universities, including McGill.

Buildings of the Presbyterian College on McTavish Street purchased.


Main building at Macdonald College reconstructed and extended.

McGill University Press established.


H. Rocke Robertson, Twelfth Principal and Vice-Chancellor (first McGill Graduate to hold the offices), 1962-1970.

New residences opened by the Duke of Edinburgh: Gardner Hall, McConnell Hall, Molson Hall, and Bishop Mountain Hall.


Research and Training Wing of the Allan Memorial Institute opened.

Roscoe Wing of the Royal Victoria College received its first students.

Extension of Foster Radiation Laboratory and Eaton Electronics Research Laboratory.

Marine Sciences Centre established.

French-Canada Studies Program established.

Centre for Developing Area Studies established.

Graduate School of Business Administration enrolled its first students.

Canadian LAbour College, a joint venture with the Université de Montréal, held its first session.



Howard Irwin Ross, Eleventh Cahcellor, 1964-1969.

Norman Bethune Exchange Fellowship with China instituted.


Opening of the Stephen Leacock Building for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Opening of the University Centre to replace the Students' Union.

Total student enrolment exceeded 12,000 in regular courses, and approached 10,000 in extension courses and summer schools.

Institute of Education at Macdonald College became the Faculty of Education.


Openings of McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, Otto Maass Chemistry Building, Stewart Biological Sciences Building, and a new wing to Pathology Building.

Institute of Comparative and Foreign law established.


Opening of library annex to Chancellor Day Hall.

Conversion completed of old Biology Building for use as the F. Cyril James Administration Building.

Founder's Day in Canada's Centennial Year celebrated with the ten provincial premiers receiving honorary degrees.

Full-time student enrolment exceeded 15,000.

Worldwide student unrest came to Canada and McGill. McGill Daily maligned U.S. President; student journalists charged before Discipline Committee. Administration Building, including the Principal's office, occupied in protest. Police summoned to remove protesters.


Student unrest continued. Disruption of Board, Senate and Arts Faculty meetings. Junior staff member prominent in disturbances charged and after due hearing, dismissed from University. Joint Committee of Board and Senate recommended substantive changes to University governance.

Provision made for eight students to be elected to Senate and for five Senators to sit on the Board of Governors.

Quebec Government establshed the Conseil des universités.

Faculty of Management created from the School of Commerce and the Graduate School of Business Administration.

Opening of Centennial Centre (new students' union) at Macdonald College.

Audio-visual services reorganized as the Instructional Communications Centre.

Inauguration of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature and of the Centre for East Asian Studies.

Laboratories at Mont St. Hilaire opened for the Institute of Mineral Industry Research.

Radar Tower at Macdonald College opened.

The McGill Reporter, the University newspaper, established.

University press formed partnership with Queen's University publishing and became McGill-Queen's University Press.



"McGill Français" protest march; 10,000 demonstrators demanded McGill become a francophone university. Municipal, provincial, and federal police were provided to protect the campus.

Claire Kerrigan was first woman and Chris Portner first student senator named to the Board of Governors.

Opening of the McLennan Research Library and of Redpath Undergarduate Library.

Inception of CEGEP system (collèges d'enseignement général et professionel). McGill instituted three-year courses for undergraduate degreees.


Robert Edward Bell, Thirteenth Principal and Vice-Chancellor, 1970-1979.

Donald Hebb, Twelfth Chancellor (and first McGill professor to hold that office), 1970-1975.

Office of the Chancellor separated from that of the Chairman of the Board of Governors.

Stuart M. Finlayson, Chairman, Board of Governors, 1970-1976.

McGill registered 16,818 full- and part-time degree and diploma candidates including 3,811 in Graduate Faculty; awarded 3,675 degrees and diplomas, including 179 PhDs. There were also 10,263 registrants in Continuing Education.

10% of all registered students reported mother tongue as French.

Faculty of Education moved from Macdonald College to the main campus and a new Education Building.

Faculty of Divinity renamed Faculty of Religious Studies; Divinity Hall became William and Henry Birks Building.