Celebrating 100 years

Celebrating 100 years McGill University

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McGill Reporter
September 9, 2004 - Volume 37 Number 01
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Celebrating 100 years

One hundred years ago, a McGill graduate was Prime Minister, the World's Fair (and Olympic Games) were in St Louis, Missouri; New York City opened its first subway line, and Edward VII was King of England and Sovereign of the Dominion of Canada.

Here in Montreal, McGill was growing by leaps and bounds.

In the summer of 1904, Charles Gould, Chief Librarian at McGill, decided to formalize the library training program into an intensive summer course. These courses, interrupted only by World War I, formed the first academically based library program in Canada, offering diplomas to graduates. In 1930, a requirement was added that students enter the Bachelor of Library Science with another degree already under their belt, thus establishing the high standards the school has upheld to this day. Today, graduates of the Library and Information Sciences School are as likely to be working in virtual libraries or corporations as they are in public libraries.

Across campus, Music got its start a few months later. The women-only courses, offered since 1884 became formalized as the McGill Conservatorium. Today, with a new building rising over Sherbrooke Street, the Faculty of Music continues its mission of training top-tier musicians, but also has moved into the realm of interdisciplinary research. With collaborators drawn from across the university and around the globe in fields such as psychology, neuroscience and electrical engineering, the faculty will be concerned not only with scientific and technological applications for music, but also questions of how the mind processes and creates music.

Heading north, the Faculty of Dentistry is also celebrating one hundred years. McGill absorbed the English language staff and students of Bishop's Medical School in 1904 (Université de Montréal harboured the French speakers). The school has had a surprisingly colourful history, with a former acrobat as a researcher, and surviving a threat of closure in the 1990s, to planning a major expansion today.

The Reporter spoke with the deans of Music and Dentistry and the acting director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies about what the next hundred years holds for their schools, and for their professions.

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