Year in Review

McGill research teams lead three of the top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2015 as selected by Québec Science magazine. The prestigious annual list honours projects spearheaded by: Thomas Szkopek (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Guillaume Gervais (Department of Physics); Jeffrey Mogil (Department of Psychology); and Christine McCusker (Department of Pediatrics and Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre).

McGill’s Women’s 1 Woodsmen team takes the top spot at the 56th annual Macdonald College Woodsmen Competition. The McGill’s men team has a strong showing as well, finishing third overall.

Prof. R. Anne McKinney is named Associate Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, with a term beginning on Jan. 1, 2016 and ending on Dec. 31, 2019. Her mandate is to support research excellence at McGill and increase research performance and research intensity at the University, with a particular emphasis on biomedical and health sciences.

McGill completes the Macdonald Campus Energy Project, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on Macdonald Campus from stationary combustion by 40%. Project highlights include a heat recovery system, conversion of the most energy-intensive ventilation systems on campus, and the conversion of the steam network to a low-temperature water loop to allow for the future integration of renewable energy such as geothermal or solar energy.

Distinguished McGill alumnus Victor Goldbloom, BSc’44, MD’45, DipEd’50, DLitt’92, dies at the age of 92. A pediatrician by academic training, Goldbloom was a strong supporter of McGill and taught at the University from 1950 to 1970 before fully committing himself to public service.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) names McGill astrophysicist Vicky Kaspi the 2016 recipient of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. Kaspi is the first woman, and one of the youngest researchers, to win NSERC’s highest honour.

Twenty-five McGill researchers are awarded Canada Research Chairs. The funding will benefit research in areas such as the genetics of pain and childhood disability, the ecology of the Arctic and engineered quantum systems.

For the eighth year in a row, McGill is named one of Montreal’s Top Employers for a wide range of factors – including its staff fitness program, athletics facilities, green urban campus and a parental leave that extends the regular provincial plan.

Tobias Rees, Associate Professor of the Social Studies of Medicine, whose work engages with questions of how immunity and self are conceptualized, is named a Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Student teams from the Faculty of Law finish first in three national mooting competitions this spring: the Gale Cup, the Laskin Moot, and Le Concours Pierre-Basile Mignault.

McGill’s Research and Innovation hosts the 11th annual Bravo gala to celebrate researchers who have won prizes and awards during the previous year. In all, 77 laureates are honoured.

BCom student teams from the Desautels Faculty of Management take first and second places in the Undergraduate Division at the National Investment Banking Competition in Vancouver. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious financial case competitions in North America.

The top-ranked Martlets basketball team captures its fifth consecutive Quebec conference championship while the top-seeded Redmen basketball team wins its third Quebec crown in four years.

McGill honours its leaders in sustainability at the sixth-annual Catalyst awards. Students, faculty and staff are recognized for their dedicated and creative efforts to make the University a more sustainable community.

Prof. Isabelle Daunais, of the Département de langue et littérature françaises, wins the Canada Council’s Killam Prize for the Humanities. The Killam Prize is one of the country’s most prestigious awards and given annually to five researchers in the respective fields of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering.

Marc Gélinas is appointed the new Executive Director of McGill Athletics and Recreation. He is a former pitching prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a McGill alumnus with strong sports leadership background at both the federal and provincial levels.

A team led by Prof. Jake Barralet receives $1.65 million from NSERC to provide nearly 90 students with cross-disciplinary training to prepare them for high-skill jobs in the surgical devices industry. The project covers all aspects of surgery-related technology, from tools for diagnosis and patient risk reduction to postoperative monitoring and care.

Principal Suzanne Fortier joins as a member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF). McGill becomes the first Canadian university to join the forum, which acts as an intellectual community within the World Economic Forum to advise its leadership on matters relating to higher education and research, and also serves as a resource for the Forum’s members and constituents.

A team of scientists from McGill, the University of Cambridge and Stanford Graduate School of Business develops a new method of categorizing music. The researchers learn that people’s preference for these musical categories is driven by personality, a finding that has important implications for industry and health professionals.

More than 100 of the world’s most brilliant thinkers take part in the inaugural Simnovate International Summit. Hosted by McGill’s Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, the Summit encourages participants to immerse themselves in the spirit of breaking conventions and developing new directions for health care by temporarily leaving their day jobs behind and becoming “simnovaters.”

McGill wins two significant international awards for its five-year Sustainable Procurement Strategy. The Green Electronics Council honours McGill as a 3-Star EPEAT Purchaser, while the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council gives McGill an Outstanding Case Study award.

Graham Bell, James McGill Professor of Biology, is among 50 new Fellows elected to the Royal Society, the U.K.’s national science academy. The founding president of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, Bell is known for his work on experimental evolution, using laboratory populations of microbes to investigate fundamental questions about how organisms adapt through natural selection to novel environments.

After a year of planning and over 150 start-up submissions, the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship awards over $117,000 in prizes to the winners of the McGill Dobson Cup Start-Up Competition. This year, a record of 17 winning teams across the four tracks took home cash prizes to support their ideas and take their projects to the next level. 

Angelique Mannella is named McGill’s first Associate Vice-Principal of Innovation. She is responsible for overseeing McGill’s innovation agenda, working closely with the faculties and the student body to foster and support the community in building internal and external partnerships.

Suzelle Barrington, a Bioresource Engineering professor, and John Gruzleski, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Mining, Metals and Materials Engineering, are among 43 new Fellows inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

McGill wins eight Prix d’Excellence awards at the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education’s national conference in Saskatoon – five gold and three silver medals – tying with the University of Alberta for most in the country.

Thirteen members of the McGill community, including three researchers, are named to or promoted within the Order of Canada, while seven McGillians are appointed to the National Order of Quebec, the province’s highest civilian honour.

McGill students take home top prizes at the annual Institute of Food Technologists conference, the world’s largest gathering of food science professionals. The two teams win for a vegan burger that cooks and tastes like beef and a super-nutritious stew customized to battle calcium-deficiencies in Yemen.

World-renowned pain specialist and medical cannabis researcher Dr. Mark Ware, director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), is nominated vice-chair of an important federal task force that will provide guidance to the Canadian government as it prepares to introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in spring 2017. 

Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, led by Alan Evans, use a powerful tool to identify the first physiological signs of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The research underlines the importance of computational power in future neurological breakthroughs.

McGill ranks first in Canada, and 37th globally, in the Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars supplement, which identifies institutions showing the most significant growth in high-quality scientific research publications over the past four years.

Three athletes are among a 23-member entourage of McGill graduates and students participating in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The athletes include wrestler Dorothy Yeats, an engineering student, and a pair of fencers – both recent graduates – Maximilien Van Haaster, BEd Kinesiology’16, and Joseph Polossifakis, BCom’14. One student and four graduates also serve in an official capacity with Team Canada at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Prof. Chris Buddle begins his five-year term as McGill’s Dean of Students. An award-winning researcher, he has been a member of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences since 2002.

The Monteregie Connection project, led by five McGill researchers, wins the Mont Saint-Hilaire Nature Centre’s Alice E. Johannsen Award of Excellence in recognition of its research activities, involvement of stakeholders from the area and use of various scenarios for the development of the Vallée-du-Richelieu area.

McGill earns a Gold rating in sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

McGill researchers garner two of the five prestigious 2016 Trudeau Fellows. Catherine Potvin of the Faculty of Science and Adelle Blackett of the Faculty of Law will each receive a total of $225,000 over the next three years to support innovative projects designed to address challenges facing both Canadian and global populations.

The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) honours a total of 19 members of McGill University. Ten McGill scholars are named RSC Fellows, while another seven scholars become members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Additionally, Prof. John A. Hall of the Department of Sociology is awarded the Innis-Gérin Medal for his sustained contributions to the social sciences, while Prof. Vijaya Raghavan is elected President of RSC’s Academy of Science.

Members of the McGill, Montreal and Indigenous communities gather on lower campus for the official launch of the Provost’s Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education. The Task Force aims to increase Indigenous presence at McGill among students, staff and faculty, and to expand the University’s relationship with the Indigenous communities locally and across Canada.

Celebrated McGill philosopher Charles Taylor is named the first winner of the $1-million Berggruen Prize. Taylor, a professor emeritus, is considered one of the world’s foremost philosophers and has collected several major academic prizes in recent years. 

McGill administration creates an Advisory Council on Sustainability for senior academic leaders, administrators, students, and members-at-large. The council provides strategic advice to position the University as a leading institution on sustainability in North America.

Award-winning bestselling novelist Margaret Atwood gives the 2016 Beatty Memorial Lecture in Pollack Hall. Her topic is “Environmental Crisis and the Humanities.”

The McGill Board of Governors approves the appointment of Prof. Brenda Ravenscroft as Dean of the Schulich School of Music.

Leonard Cohen, BA’55, DLitt’92, dies at the age of 82. The legendary poet and singer-songwriter, whose anthem “Hallelujah” has touched souls around the world, ranks among McGill’s most notable alumni.

The Institut Nordique du Québec names Murray Humphries, a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, as one of its inaugural Northern Research Chairs. The Institut aims to harness Quebec’s academic, industry and community expertise to advance the sustainable development of the North.

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas W. Laqueur wins the 2016 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature at McGill. The book offers a compelling and richly detailed account of how and why the living have cared for the dead, from antiquity to the twentieth century.

McGill students Angela Yu, Beatrice Yeung and Aaron Gluck-Thaler capture Rhodes Scholarships, bringing to 142 the number of McGill Rhodes Scholars since the awards were created in 1902.

Education professor Claudia Mitchell wins the SSHRC’s Gold Medal for her 25 years of participatory research in Ethiopia, South Africa and Canada. The award is the SSHRC’s highest honour.

Mélodie Daoust of the McGill women’s hockey team is named female athlete of the year in the team sports category and among 15 McGill students to receive an athletic financial award at the 31st annual Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence gala.

The Honorable Michael A. Meighen agrees to serve a second term as Chancellor of McGill University. Meighen has been Chancellor since July 1, 2014.

McGill receives funding for 16 Canada Research Chairs, which are granted to outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields.

The Board of Governors approves two new senior administration appointments. Yves Beauchamp joins McGill as the new Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) and Martha Crago takes on the portfolio of Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation).

Astrophysicist Vicky Kaspi, BSc’89, retired Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish, BA’59, BCL’62, LLD’01, and philanthropist Lorne Trottier, BEng’70, MEng’73, DSc’06, are among seven McGill alumni appointed to, or promoted within, the Order of Canada.