School for Social Workers graduates 1920-1932

Welcome to the McGill School of Social Work’s 100th-anniversary project.

To mark such a momentous occasion, the School of Social Work has many activities planned throughout the year that will highlight our history, our work and members of our community. An exhibit timeline is currently in production at Wilson Hall. The installation will be a visual journey to trace the history of the School of Social Work until the present. This is a collection of narratives that attempt to critically engage with the School’s past in an attempt to illuminate the path towards the future.

The hope is that this project can:

  • Recognize the history of the land on which the School finds itself today
  • Identify instances where the good intentions of social workers led to harmful outcomes and turn these moments into learning opportunities
  • Share the stories of many individuals whose sacrifices for social justice deserve recognition
  • Foster discussion about how social workers can promote human rights and act with integrity within complex institutional structures

Learn about the upcoming events that are planned for the SW100 celebration.

Dr. Sydney Duder

Meet Dr. Sydney Duder, a professor at the School of Social Work since 1972.

A look back at the School's history...

Montreal School of Social Work Class of 1933

During the period of 1933-1945 McGill withdrew funding from the School of Social Work. Dorothy King took over the reigns of the school with only "faith and fourty cents" and renamed it the Montreal School of Social Work.

In 1918, the Department of Social Studies and Training, funded by the theological colleges, was opened at McGill University. It was only the second school of its kind in Canada. For the first time, women outnumbered men in the Faculty of Arts.

The first women students at McGill were nicknamed Donaldas, in recognition of Donald Smith, whose generosity made female attendance possible in 1884 overcoming the resistance of McGill administrators. Co-ed integration at McGill was a slow process, but the Donaldas were trailblazers.

Students from the Roman Catholic school (Fort George, Quebec, 1920s) Residential schools, which existed in Canada for over 100 years, operated through government partnerships with religious institutions and were designed for the assimilation of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children.

- Credit: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

In the 1920s, Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce documented the health abuses in residential schools. After he was dismissed from the Department of Indian Affairs in 1921, he published a report The Story of a National Crime which sought to hold the government accountable for the suffering.

- Credit: Courtesy of the Bryce family

Get in touch

The intention is for this celebration and platform to be as collaborative as possible. If you have any stories you would like to see added, please contact sw100.socialwork [at] mcgill.ca.

Visit us at Wilson Hall to experience the SW100 Timeline. This art installation will document the relevant visual images and experiences of the last 100 years and will serve as a teaching tool for students and visitors to trace the historical events of the School.

Follow us on Instagram @mcgillsw100 to learn about the Humans of Social Work, a campaign highlighting students, staff, faculty and alumni over the last 100 years. Promoting engagement in our social work community.

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