McMaster University

From Academic Kids

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McMaster University is a medium-sized research-intensive university located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, with an enrollment of 16,771 full-time and 3,599 part-time students (as of 2004).

McMaster, or Mac, is comprised of six faculties: science, health sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and business. The campus is located on 300 acres (1.2 km²) of land in the residential neighbourhood of Westdale adjacent to Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens.



Senator William McMaster, the first president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, founded the university bearing his name in 1887. It was sponsored by the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec as a sectarian undergraduate institution for its clergy and adherents. It began operating three years later and graduated its first students in 1894.

The university was originally located in Toronto and nearly became federated with the University of Toronto like Victoria College and Trinity College did. Local boosters in Hamilton offered large donations of money and land to McMaster to relocate rather than federate, and the move was accomplished in 1930. University Hall, one of the original campus buildings, includes a statue of Senator McMaster and his contribution to the university.

During and immediately after the Second World War, McMaster experienced an explosion of growth in scientific research and student enrollment under H.G. Thode. This placed a strain on the finances of what was still a denominational Baptist institution. Consequently, in 1957, the McMaster Divinity College was incorporated to continue the university's religious traditions while the university itself became a secular public institution.

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University Hall, McMaster University (Copyright McMaster University)
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The Student Centre & Mills Library at night (Copyright McMaster University)


McMaster's main campus is bordered to the north by Cootes Paradise, an extensive natural marshland, to the east and west by residential neighbourhoods and to its south by Main Street West, a major artery of Hamilton. Its northern boundaries are a popular destination for hikers and joggers who make use of the many trails that connect the campus to the RBG's lands.

The buildings and facilities represent the ongoing development that has been happening on McMaster grounds since it purchased the property from the city of Hamilton in 1928. Its six original gothic-style buildings are now flanked by over 50 structures built predominantly during booms in the early 1970s and the late 1990s to present.

Perhaps the most distinctive component of the campus skyline is that of the McMaster University Medical Centre, a multi-use research hospital that ranks among the largest public buildings in Canada. It is connected to the Life Sciences building and the recently completed (2004) Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery which houses many well-funded research groups in areas of genetics, infectious diseases and several specific conditions.

McMaster is the only university in Ontario to have a Nuclear Reactor on its campus, which was completed in 1959. Recently, McMaster has defended allegations from the Washington Post that El Shukrijumah, an Al Qaida terrorist, had enrolled as a student to inspect the facility for knowledge on how to produce a dirty bomb.

Satellite Campuses

Recently, McMaster has begun spreading physically beyond its inflexible West Hamilton borders into other areas in the region.

Downtown Hamilton

A converted office tower on Main Street serves as McMaster's Centre for Continuing Education.


Now in its initial development phase, McMaster University announced in 2004 that in partnership with the neighbouring city of Burlington, it would be contructing a new arts & technology intensive campus in that city. Construction is slated to begin in late 2005 and the campus hopes to have an enrolment of nearly 5000 students by 2020.

Industrial Research Park

Announced in 2005, McMaster has purchased a large industrial park two miles east of its main Hamilton campus that will be redeveloped to contain an array of research facilities for the development and construction of materials, biotechnology and automotive technology. The park is expected to produce thousands of jobs and millions of dollars for the local and provincial economies.


In recent years, McMaster has been particularly renowned for its academic strengths, most notably in the field of health sciences. The university has been named Canada's most innovative "medical-doctoral" university eight times in the past 11 years by Maclean's magazine in its annual ranking of Canadian universities.

McMasters reputable Degroote School of Business, houses the Allen H. Gould Trading Floor. The Allen H. Gould Trading Floor is a state-of-the-art educational tool that enables students to experience the relationships and interactions of the financial markets. It is one of the first such facilities in North America, and one of only 30 in the world.

Its Mills Memorial Library (one of several on campus) houses the papers of Bertrand Russell among others. The McMaster Museum of Art ( houses six thousand works of art, including those bequeathed by Herman Levy.

McMaster has had an atomic reactor ( since 1959 for nuclear science and engineering research. Separately, the natural sciences have had a planetarium since 1949 and engineering boasts the Communications Research Laboratory.

The university's health sciences reputation started with the foundation of its medical school -- with non-traditional small-group problem-based learning tutorials since adopted by other programs -- in the 1960s. However, it quickly grew with programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, midwifery, and other allied fields.

A recent $105 million (CDN) donation to its medical program from billionaire Michael G. DeGroote means that it may soon have one of the top two or three medical schools in the nation. He is also a benefactor to McMaster's business school (which also bears his name), the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL), and the Student Centre.


Marauders logo

Most of its sports teams in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, including football, hockey and soccer are named the McMaster Marauders. The university's colours have been maroon and grey since 1912. Various teams are frequent Ontario champions in collegiate sports.

The sole or major exception for collegiate sports are the mischievously named water polo team, the McMaster Bators. Despite the team's risqué name, years often go by before they experience defeat.

Intramural sports are encouraged and widely participated in at Ivor Wynne Centre. Unorganized sports include ad hoc cricket games in front of the science and engineering buildings and formerly cafeteria tray tobogganing.


Men's football at McMaster is one of the school's most popular spectator sports, supported extensively by students, faculty and McMaster president Peter George. The team plays its home games on Les Prince Field, located on campus. Playoff games are sometimes held at Ivor Wynne Stadium, home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Mauraders have an extensive track-record in both the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) and CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) leagues spanning several decades. More recently, the team has shown itself as one of the strongest in Canada, earning four consecutive Yates Cup victories (2000-2003). Several athletes have been scouted from the McMaster fields to play for the CFL (Canadian Football League). Senior Jesse Lumsden is currently under the consideration of the National Football League, a rare opportunity for a Canadian running back. The team's current head coach is Marcello Campanaro, who replaced Greg Marshall in 2004 who is now earning success directing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. A partnership between the two football clubs was announced in 2005 to strengthen the link between university and professional sports in Hamilton.

Student life

Full-time undergraduate students belong to the McMaster Students Union, which operates a pub and publishes a broadsheet newspaper called The Silhouette ( It also funds scores of other clubs, associations and societies organized by academic department, ethnic origin or extracurricular interest.

Other student groups on campus include the McMaster Association of Part-time Students and the Graduate Students Association.

External links


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