The world is invited to cast its vote for a world-changing pioneer
As McGill gears up to launch events celebrating its 190th anniversary, it is asking the world to cast a vote (or several) for the “Greatest McGillian” who ever lived. Will it be a poet, a scientist, a politician, a philosopher, an actor – or someone else?
Earlier this year, an invitation was issued to the McGill community to submit online nominations for a graduate, professor, staff member, student or benefactor who has made a significant impact on the University and the world at large.
“The beauty of an online project like this is that people can respond immediately,” explained McGill Alumni Association Senior Executive Director Honora Shaughnessy. “People could submit whoever popped into their head, which led to a lot of interesting entries.”
An impressive 700 online nominations representing a broad range of fields and achievements were submitted, with many accompanied by deeply personal and moving tributes about how their nominee helped changed their life in some way.
A committee was given the daunting task of whittling the list to just 20 people, including Nobel Prize laureates, human-rights activists, physicists, scientists, educators, philanthropists and cultural and sports icons.
And now McGill is asking people around the world to have their say on which McGillian has made the greatest impact. More than 18,000 votes have been cast online since voting was opened earlier this month – and the race is tight. Voting will continue throughout the summer, and the winners will be announced in early September. A new interactive online timeline of McGill’s history, which will incorporate the Greatest McGillians nominations, will also be launched in the fall.
“I think it’s a fun exercise for members of the McGill community and the public at large to take five minutes out of their day to reflect on what makes someone’s contribution to history, society or the university significant,” Shaughnessy said. “And then they can vote for that person as the Greatest McGillian!”
To vote for the Greatest McGillian, visit https://mcgill.ca/aoc/greatest-mcgillians
And the nominees are:
Maude Abbott, Pioneering Pathologist
Bernard Belleau, Co-Developer of Anti-AIDS Drug 3TC
Thomas Chang, Inventor of Artificial Blood Cell
Thomas H. Clark, Celebrated Geologist
Leonard Cohen, Renowned Poet and Singer-Songwriter
William Dawson, Transformative Principal
Charles R. Drew, Blood Bank Innovator
Jennifer Heil, Decorated Olympian and World Champion
John Humphrey, Author of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s First Francophone Prime Minister
Stephen Leacock, Legendary Humorist
William C. Macdonald, Major Benefactor and Founder of Macdonald Campus
James McGill, University Founder
Brenda Milner, Trailblazing Neuroscientist
James Naismith, Inventor of Basketball
William Osler, Creator of Modern Medical Training
Wilder Penfield, Founder of Montreal Neurological Institute
Ernest Rutherford, Father of Nuclear Physics
William Shatner, Iconic Actor
Charles Taylor, Prominent Philosopher
About McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, McGill is Canada’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 36,000 students, including 8,300 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, with more than 7,200 international students making up 20 per cent of the student body. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including more than 6,200 francophones.