Macdonald Campus celebrates its history, strengths and future promise
On the heels of year-long centenary celebrations, the Macdonald Campus of McGill University is poised to once again celebrate its founder, Sir William Macdonald, with its annual Founder’s Day festivities on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Canadian environmental activist Maude Barlow, this year’s guest speaker, will present a talk titled ‘Too Late to Panic – Protecting Canada’s Water and Energy Supplies.’ Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, as well as the founder of the Blue Planet Project, working internationally for the right to water.
She is the recipient of six honorary doctorates as well as the 2005 Right Livelihood Award – known as the ‘alternative Nobel’ – and is the best-selling author or co-author of 16 books. Her latest are Too Close For Comfort: Canada’s Future Within Fortress North America and Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. She is also featured in the recent documentary film Flow: For Love of Water.
This year’s Founder’s Day festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with a welcome from Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, followed by the presentation of the Macdonald Campus Award of Excellence for Administrative and Support Staff, and of the Golden Key Awards. Barlow’s lecture will take place around 10:55 a.m., and the day will wrap up with a cake-cutting ceremony and light buffet luncheon.
Born on Prince Edward Island in 1831, Sir William made his fortune in the tobacco industry and became one of Canada’s leading philanthropists. According to a recently published biography by William Fong, Queen Victoria is said to have described Sir William as the greatest benefactor to education in the British Empire. In addition to founding what was then Macdonald College, his gifts to McGill included buildings to house Engineering, Physics and Chemistry departments.
When Macdonald College was founded in 1907, it included the School of Agriculture, the School for Teachers and the School of Household Science. It was Sir William who proposed ‘Mastery for Service’ as the college motto. Today, the campus in Sainte-Anne de Bellevue is home to the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which addresses global needs in food, water, nutrition and health, agriculture and the environment.