Annual Report 2003-2004


2003–2004 was a full year, with an excellent program, and 2004-2005 promises to be equally exciting and interesting, with talks covering a wide range of themes. The Executive Committee has kindly invited me to deliver the new season's first talk on one of the central figures in volume III of McGill University: for the Advancement of Learning, on which I am currently working.

Proposed Meetings for 2004-2005

The schedule of meetings for 2003/2004 is still being planned, but includes the following:

  • Monday, September 27th, 2004.

    Professor Peter F. McNally: "Physicist and Principal: Robert E. Bell, Thirteenth Principal and Vice-chancellor."

  • Monday, November 15th, 2004.

    Professor Valerie Pasztor: "History of the Biology Department."

  • February 17th, 2005

    Professor Paul Yachnin: "Shakespeare and the Animals."

  • April, 2005

    Ms. Johanne Pelletier: "McGill University Archives and its Collections."

    Presidential Address and Maysie MacSporran Lecture.

Review of 2003-2004 Meetings

The presentations given last year were well attended and received. We were particularly pleased to have the Principal, who is also the Society`s Patron, deliver the annual Maysie MacSporran Lecture.

  • 122nd Meeting, September 29th, 2003.

    Macdonald-Harrington Building, Professor David Covo, "Expanding the Horizon: Five New Buildings at McGill."

    Presidential Address.

  • 123rd Meeting, November 24th, 2003.

    Macdonald-Harrington Building, Mr. Lawrence Deck, "Rutherford and Soddy: a McGill Centennial."

  • 124th Meeting, Monday, February 16th, 2004.

    Macdonald-Harrington Building, Professor M. A. Whitehead and the Savoy Society, "G&S at McGill: the Savoy Society Celebrates its 40th Birthday," (i) the Historical Background, (ii) A Musical Medley, Pirates of Penzance.

  • 125th Meeting, March 24th, 2004.

    McGill Faculty Club, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, "Looking at McGill: the First Year and Beyond."

    The Annual Maysie MacSporran Lecture.

Red Horizontal Rule GIF (1K)

An exciting virtual event occurred this summer, with the quiet launching of the James McGill Society Web site ( Please visit the site, and share your impressions with members of the Executive Committee. It is a work in progress, and is meant to be constantly updated and improved as a vehicle for better communicating with members and others interested in McGill`s history. It is, of course, the Society`s intention to maintain paper-based mail communication with members.

Of related interest to members will be the History of McGill Project Web site ( Your thoughts and reactions to this site would also be welcomed.

In the fall of 2003, volume XI of Fontanus: from the Collections of McGill University appeared, containing several articles by members of the Society, along with an appreciation of Dr. Montague Cohen. It includes a cumulative index of the first ten volumes that will assist researchers and those interested in McGill topics. Copies can be obtained for $25.00 from the Office of the Director of Libraries, McLennan Library.

The Society`s membership and finances continue in good condition. We finished the year with 96 paid-up members, and an operating surplus of $95.86! The endowment stands at $47,000. Of our $5,000 annual budget, approximately 55% comes from endowment income, 25% from membership fees, and 20% from gifts. Annual fees of $20.00 per person and $30.00 per couple are still considered to be within an acceptable range. That said, the Society always warmly welcomes new members. Any suggestions on how to attract people to join are greatly appreciated. Inviting potential members to meetings to see for themselves is actively encouraged. One concern is with the rising cost of meeting at the Faculty Club. Although it is the venue favoured by members, the Society`s budget permits us to meet there only on occasion.

Members will be saddened to hear of the passing of a number of McGill personalities, several of whom were members of the Society: Dr. Martin Entin, Dr. Irving Heller, Ms. Geraldine Hurley, and Mr. Colin Sweet. Dr. Entin delivered papers before the Society on occasion. We extend our sympathy to their families and friends.

On a happier note, McGill is celebrating this year the centennial of four units: Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Music, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, and Montreal Children`s Hospital. We understand that the McGill News will be publishing an article on them in its Fall '04 issue. Let us not forget that Macdonald College`s centenary is quickly approaching.

In closing I would like to thank the membership for its continuing support and encouragement. The Executive Committee always offers sound advice and direction. Our President, Ms. Johanne Pelletier, is providing effective leadership. Once again, special thanks are due to Ms. Susan Button, Treasurer and Membership Secretary, who was recognized in May by the McGill Alumni Association with an Honorary Life Membership. Dr. Stanley Frost, Honorary President, continues to inspire the work of the James McGill Society.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter F. McNally, Executive Director