• 1962: Revolutionizing drug approval regulation

Frances Oldham Kelsey, a pharmacology student who earned both a B.Sc.(1934) and a M.Sc.(1935) from McGill, was most famous as the reviewer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who refused to authorize thalidomide for market because she had concerns about the drug's safety.


  • 1965: A new way to think about pain

Based on his groundbreaking gate control theory of pain, which explains why people feel pain differently, psychologist Ronald Melzack introduced the McGill Pain Questionnaire, still the world's most widely used tool for evaluating pain in patients.
Read a Q&A with Ronald Melzack...


  • 1966-Present: Space: not quite the final frontier...

William Shatner, BCom'52, DLitt'11, has turned a generation's faces skyward, gathered an armful of Emmies and Golden Globes, and starred in the world's only all-Esperanto movie.  He's done everything from sitcoms to commercials, to Elton John cover songs, and the one thing we know for sure about him is that we never know what he's going to do next.


  • 1967-Present: Dancing to the end of love

Leonard Cohen, winner of Grammy and Literary Awards, 1967-Present

Few artists have garnered praise as wide – and varied – as Leonard Cohen, BA’55, DLitt’92. The poet-cum-singer has won literary awards and Grammys alike, and was once named the most desirable male resident of Montreal, his hometown.  Cohen can now add another distinction to an already impressive list: member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, to which he was recently inducted.


  • 1968: Continuing education begins

In 1968, McGill launched the Centre of Continuing Education – the predecessor to today's School of Continuing Studies.  But way back in 1853, McGill was offering courses aimed at helping "young men in business” take courses "as their other engagements will allow and thus complete a University course and be entitled to rank with its other graduates."


Willard Boyle wins a Nobel Prize in Physics, 1969

  • 1969: The brain behind your digital camera

Willard Boyle earned a Nobel Prize for co-inventing the charged-couple device, the core technology behind today's digital photography revolution. Boyle was also on the scientific team that helped NASA select the site for the first Apollo landing on the moon.


  • 1976: Steven Pinker and the psychology of language

When Foreign Policy magazine released its list of Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2010, Steven Pinker, BA’76, DSc’99, made the cut, along with such household names as Warren Buffett, Barack Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi. A professor at Harvard University, Pinker is a celebrated experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author, with particular worldwide renown for his work on the psychology of language.


  • 1985: The laugh heard 'round the world

As the co-founder of Montreal’s Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival, Andy Nulman, BCom’83, played a leading role in transforming a modest two-day event into an unparalleled showcase for comedic talent from around the world. The annual festival attracts battalions of Hollywood talent scouts, all eager to spot the next big thing. Rowan Atkinson first introduced “Mr. Bean” to audiences at the festival, while Tim Allen and Kevin James are among those who’ve parlayed breakthrough performances at the festival into sitcom deals with major U.S. networks.
Andy on entrepreneurship...

Next: 1991–Present »
› Three McGill grads enter orbit
› Five students are elected to Canada's Parliament
› Sustainability sweeps McGill

Back to top