Annual Report 2006-2007


The James McGill Society looks forward to another year of meeting people and exchanging information and ideas about McGill University and its history. The Executive Committee has put together what we hope and trust will be an interesting program, covering a wide range of topics. Comments and suggestions from the membership for future presentations are always appreciated.

Proposed Meetings for 2007-2008

    • 138th Meeting, Monday, October 1, 2007

      Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill Office for Science and Society, will speak on “Eating: A Solution to the Confusion”. (Faculty Club).

    • 139th Meeting, Monday, November 19, 2007

      Ms. Ingrid Birker will speak on the recently completed renovations of Redpath Museum. (Redpath Museum).

    • 140th Meeting, Tuesday, February 12, 2008

      McGill’s Chancellor, Mr. Richard Pound will speak on Principal H. Rocke Robertson and his legacy. (Faculty Club). The Maysie MacSporran Annual Lecture.

    • 141st Meeting, Monday, March 31, 2008

      Prof. Annmarie Adams will speak on the Redpath family murder mystery of 1901. (Redpath Museum).

In April 2008 the Society will co-sponsor a symposium with Sigma Xi marking the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Rutherford receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work undertaken at McGill.

Last year, four speakers gave presentations on topics of great interest:

134th Meeting, Monday, September 25, 2006.

Professor Peter F. McNally, ““The Shapiro Years: Dr. Bernard Shapiro 15th Principal and Vice-Chancellor, 1994-2002.” (Faculty Club).

  • 135th Meeting, Monday, November 13, 2006

    John Hobbins, “McGill and the Magna Carta of Mankind: the Discovery of the John Humphrey Draft.” (Presidential Address) (New Chancellor Day Hall)

  • 136th Meeting, Monday, February 12, 2007

    Dr. Stanley Frost, “James McGill Revisited: Citizen and Philanthropist.” (Faculty Club).

  • 137th Meeting, April 23, 2007

    Honora Shaughnessy, “The Living Endowment: 150 Years of Alumni Leadership.”

    Maysie MacSporran Lecture. (Faculty Club).

Red Horizontal Rule GIF (1K)

We would like to express our thanks to the McGill Alumni Association for co-sponsoring Ms. Shaughnessy’s presentation. Thanks are also extended to the McGill 1821 Society and its members for supporting our Society’s activities.

A number of important McGill anniversaries are occurring this year: the 150th anniversary of the opening of the McGill Normal School, predecessor of the Faculty of Education; and the 100th anniversary of the destruction by fire of the first Macdonald Engineering building, and of the old Medical building (on the site of today’s James Administration building). The 100th anniversary celebrations of Macdonald College are continuing.

The Executive Committee undertook a number of new initiatives, bringing the Society to the attention of a broader community, which saw membership rising to 92. Finances remain a continuing concern, but are in reasonably good shape - although the cost of holding events at the McGill Faculty Club is a concern. The Society’s budget is funded by membership fees, endowment income, and gifts from friends. Members are reminded of the following web sites:

Three long-standing members of the Society passed away this year : Dr Robert V. V. Nicholls (Feb. 18, 1913-March 9, 2007), Ms. Elizabeth “Betty” McNab (Nov. 4, 1919-Dec. 31, 2006), and Dr. Joe Stratford (Sept. 5, 1923-July 22, 2007). All three were McGill graduates who enjoyed distinguished McGill careers – Nicholls in the Chemistry Department and as Acting Dean of Graduate Studies, McNab in the Development Office, of which she became Director in 1973, and Stratford as Director of Neurology at the Montreal General Hospital. In addition all three were staunch supporters of the James McGill Society. Dr. Nicholls co-founded the Society, in 1975, with Dr. Stanley Frost and Dr. Edward Bensley. Our condolences and sympathy are extended to their family and friends.

At the Society’s first meeting on Monday, October 1, the Executive Committee will nominate as President, Professor Emeritus Desmond Morton – who came to McGill in 1994 as the first Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. On behalf of the membership, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Mr. John Hobbins – whose term as President is ending - for his effective and enthusiastic leadership over the past two years. Thanks are also extended to Ms. Johanne Pelletier, Past-President, who is stepping down from the Executive Committee; and a warm welcome is extended to Ms. Theresa Rowat, recently appointed University Archivist, who has agreed to join the Committee.

As always, appreciation must be expressed to members and friends for the continuing success of the James McGill Society, and its work on behalf of McGill’s historical heritage and memory. Particular appreciation is expressed to: Principal Munroe-Blum (Patron), Dr. Stanley Frost (Honorary President), and Susan Button (Treasurer and Membership Chair).

With your support, we look forward to another interesting and successful year.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter F. McNally
Executive Secretary