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McGill University
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McGill University

University data

Grandescunt aucta labore
(By work, all things increase and grow)

Established 1821
School type Public
Principal Heather Monroe-Blum
Location Montreal, Quebec
Enrollment 22,915 undergraduate, 6,895 graduate
Faculty 1,436
Campus Urban, 80 acres (32 ha)
Sports teams 14
Mascot Martlet
Homepage www.mcgill.ca

Shield image © McGill University

McGill University, established in 1821, is in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. One of the oldest universities in Canada, it has long been considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the country and among the finest in North America.

Known to some as "The Harvard of the North", McGill is well-known for its pioneering research in the medical sciences, chemistry, physics and biology. The university is also famous for its high standard of undergraduate education and has an established history in the humanities, social sciences, law and physical education. In the past, McGill has often been compared with the best U.S. schools (The Gourman Report).

Noted for being a research-intensive university, it frequently garners the most research dollars nationwide (per faculty) from federal and provincial sources of funding (including CFI, NSERC and other organizations). The university also has the distinction of having the highest publication intensity in the country for many years, and this was one of the factors leading to it being named Research University of the Year in 2003. [1]

For a long time, McGill was considered Canada's best university. In recent years however, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto have outpaced McGill in many respects. This change is linked to the decline of Montreal's economic importance relative to Toronto and Vancouver and the greater ease of raising money in the latter two cities. McGill's decline is also due in part to severe underfunding by the Quebec government in the 1990s.

However, since 2001, McGill's financial standing has been steadily improving, due to private donations and matching funds from the provincial government.

Table of contents
1 Campus
2 Students
3 History
4 Facts
5 Noted alumni and professors
6 Hospitals
7 Symbols
8 Other universities in Montreal
9 External Link


The main campus is situated in downtown Montreal at the foot of Mount Royal. Most of the buildings are situated north of rue Sherbrooke between rue Peel and rue Aylmer, and north of avenue Docteur-Penfield west of rue Peel (near Peel and McGill metro stations). A secondary campus is located in the district of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue named Macdonald College, some 32 kilometres from downtown Montreal in the western tip of the Island of Montreal.


The student population is in excess of 28,000. McGill has a higher percentage of American students than any other Canadian university, and it has students from over 150 countries. Admission at McGill is done in thirds: Two-thirds of available first-year seats are allocated for Quebec residents, two-thirds of the remaining seats are allocated for the rest of Canada, and the rest are left for international students. Although the university is one of two English-language universities in Montreal, 22% of students at McGill speak French as their first language.

The Quebec government has long encouraged international students from selected countries (such as some members of La Francophonie) to attend their universities over students from other Canadian provinces. Since 1996 it has been more expensive for an out-of-province student to attend McGill than it is for many foreigners from countries that have special agreements with Quebec. This, in addition to McGill's international reputation, partially accounts for why McGill has a high percentage of foreign students. Nevertheless, owing to Quebec government subsidies, some students paying out-of-province tuition find it less expensive to attend McGill than universities in their home province.


In 1813, James McGill bequeathed his 46 acre (190 m²) estate and 10,000 pounds to "the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning." This institution established McGill University in 1821. Later, in 1905, Sir William Macdonald helped develop Macdonald College, which currently houses research and classes in botany, agricultural science, environmental science and the like.


Noted alumni and professors

Academics and scholars

Current Presidents of other Canadian universities

Business and media

  • John Cleghorn - former chairman of the Royal Bank of Canada, the largest bank in Canada
  • Conrad Black - embattled media tycoon, owner of 650 dailies/weeklies around the world
  • Livio "Desi" Desimone - former CEO of St Paul-based 3M Corporation
  • Ron Meade - founder of Altamira
  • Seymour Schulich (investments) - benefactor to the Schulich School of Business, York University
  • Lorne Trottier - founder of Matrox

Politics and government

Art, music, and film



Nobel Prize winners

It is a little known fact that the inventions of hockey, basketball and North American football are all related to McGill in some way. The first game of North American football was played between McGill and Harvard Universities in 1874. During World War II, the International Labour Organization was headquartered at McGill.

In terms of contributions to computing, MUSIC/SP, a piece of software for mainframes, once popular among universities and colleges around the world at its time, was developed at McGill. A team also contributed to the development of Archie, one of the pre-WWW search engines. A 3270 terminal emulator developed at McGill was commercialized and later sold to Hummingbird Software.


McGill University is affiliated with seven teaching hospitals in Montreal, four of which compose the McGill University Health Centre:


The university's symbol is the martlet; its motto is Grandescunt Aucta Labore (by work, all things grow). Inscribed in its arms is In Domino Confido (I trust in the Lord), James McGill's personal motto. Its sports teams are named Martlets (women) and Redmen (men), and its school colours are red and white. The school song is entitled "Hail Alma Mater".

Other universities in Montreal

See also List of Quebec Universities

External Link