2019...so far

It’s 2019 and this year has been an important milestone in the life and evolution of McMaster University. Already this year, our School of Nursing has been ranked 15th in the world, our women’s basketball team has earned its first-ever national championship, we have become the host university for the global non-profit Academics Without Borders and we placed second in the world in social and economic impact.

On May 29, McMaster received an incredible $100 million legacy gift from Charles and Margaret Juravinski.

We have begun our search for the University’s next president, we have recently installed our new chancellor – Santee Smith ’94 ’05 – and we have now granted a degree to our 200,000th Mac grad!


McMaster never stops evolving, both to keep up with the times and often, to set the trend that others will follow. In 2019, let’s take a look back at Mac’s history through the lens of “The Nines” – the years that come along once a decade and have helped make McMaster what it is today and will be tomorrow.

* Photos by Tom Bochsler Photography

  • 1889

    The last year McMaster students were formally affiliated with Toronto Baptist College and closed the 19th century with a Christmas feast for the ages

  • 1909

    The first recorded suggestion that McMaster University – then located on Bloor Street in Toronto – should move to Hamilton

  • 1919

    Women began to play intercollegiate games beginning in 1919-1920.

  • 1929

    The Silhouette published for the first time in the same year that construction began on McMaster’s Hamilton campus

    Staff of The Silhoutte in 1929

    Viscount Willingdon (Governor General) lays the cornerstone of the new McMaster in Hamilton. “I declare this stone well and laid.”—Viscount Willingdon. Tuesday, October 8, 1929.

  • 1939

    Only 12% of the student population was Baptist, a remarkably quick transformation for a University that was 100% Baptist just three decades earlier … this was also the year McMaster elected its first Prom Queen

    The graduating Arts class of 1940 arrives back on campus for their final year.

  • 1949

    McMaster men’s basketball team loses to Western in its first league defeat. February, 1949.

    The founding of Hamilton College

  • Mac defeats Queens 7-5. Macs’s first win in 3 years of intercollegiate play.

    Ground breaks on Alumni Memorial Hall in May, 1949. Construction begins in September, 1949.

  • Eleanor McKay House opens in Dundas as a female residence. Canadian Cottons Limited donated the residence to McMaster, it had previously housed female employees.

    President Gilmour announces that construction will begin on Mills Library.

  • 1959

    The Nuclear Reactor is ready to operate after 2 years of construction. Prime Minister Diefenbaker came to campus for its grand opening. “The McMaster Nuclear Reactor is a symbol of mankind’s quest for peace and an assertion of faith in the constructive benefits of science.”—PM Diefenbaker.

    The McMaster Nuclear Reactor and the Engineering Building (now John Hodgins Engineering Building) opened their doors

  • Board of Governors approves construction of Whidden Hall.

  • 1969

    McMaster began training doctors for the first time – classes were based at Chedoke Hospital until the Health Sciences Centre would open on campus in 1972

  • 1979

    McMaster moved Fall Convocation off campus to Hamilton Place

    McMaster celebrates 50 years in Hamilton.

  • Construction of new arts building is approved (Kenneth Taylor Hall).

    Steel framework put in place for the new Health Sciences Centre. June, 1969.

  • 1989

    Undergraduate students voted to begin paying a levy in support of a future student centre, marking the first major milestone in the development of what would become the McMaster University Student Centre

    The Board of Governors approves the construction of a new 4-million dollar art gallery (The McMaster Museum of Art). January, 1989.

  • 1989

    University officials break ground on JHE expansion. Tom Brzustowski (Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Colleges & Universities), Alvin Lee, and Glen Chambers (Chairman of the Board of Govenors) break ground on the expansion project.

  • 1999

    The Allen H. Gould Educational Trading Floor – one of the first in Canada – opened in the DeGroote School of Business

  • 2009

    The Engineering Technology Building opened

    Ground breaks on Burlington campus.

  • 2019

    McMaster grants a degree to its 200,000th graduate at Spring Convocation

    On May 29, McMaster received an incredible $100 million legacy gift from Charles and Margaret Juravinski


Visit our #McMasterMemory site. You can participate by sharing one of your greatest memories from your time at McMaster. We look forward to sharing in your experiences and hope you will recall your time here fondly.

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