Macdonald Campus celebrates centenary

Macdonald Campus celebrates centenary McGill University

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McGill Reporter
February 8, 2007 - Volume 39 Number 11
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 39: 2006-2007 > February 8, 2007 > Macdonald Campus celebrates centenary

Macdonald Campus celebrates centenary

Macdonald Campus is the green heart of McGill, a great expanse of woodland, wetland and pasture that forever links this bastion of intellectual pursuit and achievement with the most fundamental of elements—the earth. There are no ivory towers here; time spent in classrooms is time spent looking longingly at the ravishing living laboratory beyond. Macdonald Campus is an oasis, but it is a working oasis.

The campus was born in 1906, when Sir William Christopher Macdonald gave 300 acres of farmland and a $2-million endowment to McGill University with the idea of creating a revolutionary school that would "improve the lives of rural people in Quebec." Modeling the school after McGill, he established a farm laboratory where scientific farming could be tested and taught, the School of Household Science and the School for Teachers, because Sir William had the vision of schools becoming not only training centres, but the centres of the social life of the community as well. When the doors first opened in 1907, 115 students were enrolled in the School for Teachers, 62 in the School for Household Science and 38 in the School of Agriculture.

Today, the bustling campus is home to the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where more than 1,400 students study everything from Bioresource Engineering and Agriculure to Environment, Food, Nutrition and Health. Multidisciplinary programs and research centres bring together world leaders from the academic, public and private sectors, enabling students and faculty to benefit from the confluence of ideas and expertise.

Fittingly, for a place so dialed into the physical world, the reach of Mac campus extends well beyond the picturesque confines of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

The Faculty's research spans five continents, working in tandem with such influential organizations as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the National Institutes of Health and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences. Be it the development of improved irrigation and water-saving practices or the development of better vaccines to control debilitating and often fatal parasitic diseases, the work being done at Mac has a global impact.

As the year-long Macdonald Centenary celebrations continue with Justin Trudeau's Founder's Day address on Feb. 8, it is important to remember one thing: as special a place as this may be, it is the people who infuse it with the energy and excitement that are the lifeblood of any great institution.

Comprised of the students and faculty who strive to understand and improve the world in which we live and the staff who support them in their endeavours, Macdonald Campus is, as always, a place of growth.

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