John Humphrey (1905 – 1995)

Author of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Humphrey, a McGill grad (BCom’25, BA’27, BCL’29, PhD’45), drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor Roosevelt called “the Magna Carta of all Mankind” and which may be the most cited legal document ever drafted by a Canadian. He was a Professor of Law at McGill when he drafted it; he went on to serve 20 years as the first Director of the United Nations Division of Human Rights before returning to McGill. He investigated human rights abuses internationally and often represented the victims. He was awarded the United Nations Prize for human rights advocacy on the 40th anniversary of the UN.  Humphrey is the Greatest McGillian because he helped forge a milestone document in the history of human rights.