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



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

McMaster Goes Public


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

Nuclear Reactor


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

McMaster's Medical School


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


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


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).


Establishment of Faculties

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


Arts & Science Program

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

Michael G. DeGroote Donation


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.