John Bethune was forty-four years of age when he was appointed Principal of McGill College. At the time of his appointment he was a clergyman and the rector of the Anglican Parish of Montreal. He suffered from the disability that he had never attended a university, and therefore possessed no degree, but he was available and willing to serve as Principal of McGill College. While he was Principal, the central and east wing of the Arts Building were constructed and instruction in subjects other than medicine was offered for the first time. The period was marked by financial difficulties, administrative disputes, and Bethune's attempts to make the University into an Anglican institution.