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Foundation

1887

McMaster University is founded in Toronto from a bequest of $900,000 from the estate of Senator William McMaster. The first three Faculties were Arts, Science and Divinity, as engraved in the stones of the Class of 1954 Oasis Garden on campus.

McMaster Campus Map

Relocation

1930

McMaster University moves from Toronto to Hamilton. The lands and new buildings are secured through gifts totaling $500,000 from alumni, members of the churches of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, and citizens of Hamilton.

McMaster Goes Public

1957

Originally founded as a Baptist university, McMaster becomes a publicly funded, non-denominational institution.

McMaster Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear Reactor

1959

The McMaster Nuclear Reactor, the first university-based research reactor in the British Commonwealth, begins operations. Today, it is one of the world’s largest suppliers of the medical radioisotope iodine-125, used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

McMaster Children's Hospital Planning

McMaster's Medical School

1965

McMaster establishes a medical school and teaching hospital. The medical school goes on to pioneer “problem-based learning,” known around the world as the McMaster Model.

Bertrand Russell Archives in present day

Bertrand Russell Archives

1967

McMaster scoops the global community by purchasing the archives of Nobel laureate and peace activist Bertrand Russell.

1968

McMaster Divisions

McMaster Divinity College continues under its existing arrangement, while the rest of McMaster University is organized into the Divisions of Arts, Science and Health Sciences, each headed by a vice-president (academic).

1974

Establishment of Faculties

The Faculties of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science and Social Sciences are established, each under the leadership of a dean.

1981

Arts & Science Program

The Arts & Science Program is established, breaking new ground in self-directed, interdisciplinary undergraduate education.

Grey stairs leading up to glass front doors of brick building

Michael G. DeGroote Donation

2003

Michael G. DeGroote gives McMaster $105 million, the largest cash gift in the history of Canadian universities until 2019.

McMaster's History

Download a PDF copy of McMaster’s history.