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Dean's Lectureship Series

Andrew F. Holmes Dean of Medicine Distinction Lectures


The Andrew F. Holmes Dean of Medicine Distinction Lectures (Holmes Lectures) is a newly launched program based on the original Foundations of Medical Science Series. The Holmes Lectures will attract outstanding leaders in research, education and health care from around the globe. Up to two lectures will be held each year.

These lectures, together with associated events scheduled around the visiting speaker, will function as fora for the exchange of ideas and issues, bringing together individuals from a cross-section of disciplines and backgrounds. In this inaugural year, the Holmes Lectures will feature two prestigious and internationally acclaimed researchers, well known to the McGill community and the public at large.


The Dean’s Office is excited to partner and collaborate with Departments, Schools and Centres within the Faculty of Medicine to bring these distinguished speakers to McGill. The Departmental representative(s) will work with deanery units, such as the Dean’s Secretariat, Communications and Special Events, to establish the framework for their respective lecture and invitee.


May 7, 2015
Dr. Howard Cedar
Professor, Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel

May 27, 2015
Dr. Nubia Muñoz
Former Unit chief at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon
Emeritus Professor of the National Cancer Institute of Colombia
Member of the Society of Scholars of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore



A committee composed of members from the Faculty of Medicine will oversee requests for those who would like to partner under the Holmes Lecture series. The committee will be created in late 2013 to plan for the 2014/5 series. A call for requests will occur three times a year (winter/spring/fall).


The Dean’s Office is accepting requests for the next series in all areas, specifically: (TBA)


Founder and Head of the Department of Medicine from 1843-1854
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1854-1860

Dr. Andrew Fernando Holmes is the first figure in the history of the Faculty of Medicine to have served both as Department Head and Dean. This significant man had a unique beginning: Dr. Holmes was born in Cadiz, Spain. However, when his parents’ ship from the British Isles was captured by a French frigate, his life was rerouted to Canada, where he ultimately settled in Montreal. Dr. Holmes apprenticed in Montreal in 1811 and received a license from the Montreal board of medical examiners five years later, but was not content with the local qualifications. He continued his education in Scotland, obtaining a diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1818 and his MD degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1819. He joined the medical staff of the Montreal General Hospital in 1822.

The most scholarly and versatile of the four founders of what became the Faculty of Medicine, he was also an accomplished naturalist, interested in chemistry, botany and mineralogy. Dr. Holmes worked with Dr. John Stephenson, a fellow founder and former classmate in Edinburgh, to draft a proposal in 1822 inquiring into the feasibility of establishing a permanent medical school. When the Montreal Medical Institution was opened, Dr. Holmes taught chemistry, botany and pharmacy. He remained with the Institution through its affiliation with McGill in 1829, and succeeded Dr. Robertson as head of the Medical Faculty. During his tenure as Dean, the Departments for Clinical Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence were founded. Dr. Holmes also supervised a relocation of the Faculty to the building that is now the Arts Building in 1846, as well as the construction of a new medical school on Coté Street with a library, museum, two lecture halls and a dissecting room in 1850. In 1854, an administrative title change made Dr. Holmes the first Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, a position he held until his sudden death in 1860. The Holmes Medal for academic achievement was established in 1865 in his honour.

Source: Anna Dysert and Kathleen Reynolds. 2013. Dean Biographies. McGill University. Montreal.