As is our habit here at the McGill Reporter, we like end the calendar year with a look back on 2019. What were the McGill Reporter stories that captured the attention of our readers? What events marked the University? Which members of our community emerged as newsmakers by breaking new ground, blazing new trails and giving to the community – locally and more globally?
Top McGill Reporter stories of 2019
Rankings. While rankings stories are always popular among our readers, this year proved especially so. In compiling the most-viewed Reporter articles of 2019, we were somewhat surprised to see that four of the Top 10 stories – including the top three spots – were rankings results.
The Top 10 most viewed McGill Reporter stories included:
- McGill on the rise in annual QS World University Rankings by Subject
This set of Quacquarelli Symonds rankings evaluates 48 of the most popular subjects with students around the world, making it one of the most comprehensive ranking of its kind. McGill rises in rank in twenty‐four subjects compared to last year’s results, and declines in eight. Read more. (Posted in February).
- McGill #30 in the world
The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) releases the results of its 2019-2020 rankings – and McGill’s teaching and research strengths secure the University’s place as #30 out of the 20,000 universities that the CWUR assessed. Full story. (August)
- McGill among the top 50 most prestigious universities in the world
McGill moves up to 42nd on the Times Higher Education rankings among almost 1,400 universities from 92 countries. Learn more. (September)
- In memoriam: Kelly Nobes (1974 – 2019): McGill hockey coach was 45
The McGill community was saddened to learn of the death of Kelly Nobes, head coach of McGill’s men’s varsity hockey program on September 4. He was 45. Read the article. (September)
- McGill-led research unravels mystery of how early animals survived ice age
How did life survive the planet’s most severe ice age? A McGill-led research team has found the first direct evidence that glacial meltwater provided a crucial lifeline to eukaryotes during Snowball Earth, when the oceans were cut off from life-giving oxygen, answering a question puzzling scientists for years. More details. (December)
- Eleven members of the McGill Community appointed to the Order of Canada
Filmmakers, lawyers, doctors – even a former television Dragon – are among 11 members of the McGill community to be appointed to the Order of Canada. More information. (July)
- Jane Goodall to return to McGill to deliver the 2019 Beatty Lecture
It is announced that famed researcher and nature conservation advocate Dr. Jane Goodall would deliver the 65th Beatty Lecture in September, 40 years after her first Beatty Lecture appearance in 1979. Full story. (April)
- McGill tops Maclean’s rankings for 15th straight year
Maclean’s Magazine issues its annual university rankings in October and, for the 15th consecutive year, McGill is named Canada’s top medical-doctoral university. The medical-doctoral category includes 15 Canadian universities, each with a medical school and a wide range of PhD programs. Read more. (October)
- Historic gift launches McCall MacBain Scholarships
John and Marcy McCall MacBain announce the creation of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill through a landmark gift of $200 million, the single-largest gift in Canadian history. Learn more. (February)
- McGill postdocs and grad students earn prestigious scholarships
Sixteen McGill grad students win Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, and two postdocs receive Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. Read the article. (May)
Of course, 10 stories don’t even come close to illustrating what a busy – and impactful – year 2019 was at McGill. From student successes, staff celebrations and major funding announcements, to scientific breakthroughs, sustainability initiatives and the launch of a bold fundraising campaign, the University didn’t rest on its laurels.
Here’s a month-by-month recap of some of McGill’s most compelling stories of 2019 (not including the Top 10 stories above).
- John Rea among eight McGillians appointed to Order of Canada
As announced by Julie Payette (BEng’86), Governor General of Canada, 103 new appointments to the Order of Canada 103 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Recipients included eight members of the McGill community (). John Rea, a professor at the Schulich School of Music, was one of the recipients, along with McGill alumni and honorary doctorate recipients. More details.
- Student mental health services at McGill transformed by new Student Wellness Hub
A partnership between The Rossy Foundation and McGill establishes a new approach to student wellness and mental health, as well as a revitalized physical space. Full story.
- Four McGillians make Chatelaine’s Women of the Year list
Four members of the McGill community were named to Chatelaine magazine’s Women of the Year list for 2018. The list highlighted 32 “newsmakers, trend-setters, policy-makers and all-around awesome women who helped put Canada on the world stage.” Read more.
- McGill Law prof named Canada’s new justice minister
David Lametti, Member of Parliament for LaSalle–Émard–Verdun and a professor at the Faculty of Law, was sworn in as Canada’s new Minister of Justice. Learn more.
- McGill researchers among recipients of $34 million grant to combat cancer
McGill and MUHC research teams are part of an international effort to uncover how chronic inflammation causes cancer. Read more.
- Strengthening our Policy against Sexual Violence: A University-wide initiative
Prof. Angela Campbell, Associate Provost, Equity & Academic Policies, writes about proposed revisions to McGill’s Policy against Sexual Violence. Read more.
- RI-MUHC team wins Québec Science’s 2018 Discovery of the Year award
Readers of Québec Science magazine choose a reliable test for early detection of endometrial and ovarian cancers developed by a team from the RI-MUHC as the 2018 Discovery of the Year. Full story.
- McGill named one of City’s top employers for 11th-straight year
The University scored high marks for family-friendly benefits, flexible work options and promotion of a diverse and respectful campus culture. Learn more.
- Government of Canada invests in McGill’s efforts to reduce carbon footprint
Upgrades to heating equipment and distribution systems will significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Full story.
- To 2020 and beyond
A new report shows that McGill has made significant progress in completing its Climate & Sustainability Action Plan and is advancing towards its 2040 carbon neutrality target. Read the article.
- McGill receives international accolades for ‘Ban the Bottle’ project
McGill becomes first Canadian university to earn Communauté bleue designation in recognition of its campaign to eliminate single-use water bottles from campus. Learn more.
- Celebrating women at McGill
On International Women’s Day, the Reporter offered a sample of some of the McGill community’s female newsmakers and ground-breakers since the beginning of the academic year. More information.
- McGill24 raises nearly $2.3 million in 24 hours
Record-breaking, 24-hour day of giving raises nearly $2.3 million from 5,244 donations for causes across the University. Full story.
- Martlets soccer team to promote gender equality, girls in sport during trip to Paraguay
The McGill Martlets soccer team planned to travel to Paraguay to volunteer at shelters, hold soccer clinics for local youth and encourage young girls to follow their dreams. Read more.
- Bravo gala honours prize-winning researchers and scholars
Annual event celebrates McGill researchers and scholars who won major provincial, national and international awards during the previous year. More details.
- McGill named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2019
Mediacorp Canada praises the University for its Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy, Sustainability Projects Fund, Fair Trade Campus designation and free shuttle service between campuses Learn more.
- University announces the naming of the McCall MacBain Arts Building
Iconic campus landmark is named as a tribute to the historic gift in support of graduate scholarships. Full story.
- Making a difference in McConnell Hall
For Porter Michael Weekes, taking care of McConnell Hall means much more than just looking after the building. It means looking out for everyone who lives there as well. Read the profile.
- Astronomers capture first image of a black hole
McGill’s Daryl Haggard contributes to paradigm-shifting observations of the gargantuan black hole at the heart of a distant galaxy. More details.
- It’s the neighbourly thing to do
A pair of student-run initiatives help keep the streets and alleyways of the Milton Park neighbourhood free of clutter when students move out of their apartments for the summer. Read more.
- Meet the brains behind McGill’s mind-controlled wheelchair
McGill students build a brain-powered wheelchair in just 30 days. Get the full story.
- Protection from the sun that doesn’t burn the environment
McGill students design an eco-friendly sunscreen that blocks harmful UV rays without damaging marine life. More details.
- Sustainability project pushes for greener practices in McGill labs
The Green Labs Initiative at The Neuro diverted more than 200 litres of plastic waste from landfills in its first six months. Read more.
- Governor General’s Innovation Award for AI Pioneer Joëlle Pineau
Pineau is a leader in the innovative application of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to personalized and robot-assisted health care. Full story.
- From zooplankton to coastal communities: Understanding the changes affecting the Arctic Ocean from local perspectives
Marianne Falardeau wrote about the lessons she learned in the Arctic community of Cambridge Bay while she completed her PhD research on the impacts of environmental change in the region. Read the notes from the field.
- McGill receives its largest gift for Indigenous education
US$ 1.25-million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support new Indigenous Studies and Community Engagement Initiative. Full story.
- Inaugural Black Grad celebrates Black students at McGill
One hundred and fifty people gathered to congratulate McGill’s Black students for what they have accomplished, and anticipating what they will achieve. Read more.
- Government of Canada invests in McGill and youth-led research project tackling sexual and gender-based violence
Claudia Mitchell receives more than $2 million to encourage Indigenous girls and young women to address sexual violence through media production and community engagement. Read article.
- Speaking in (many) tongues
Linguistics undergrad Georges Awaad has tongues wagging for being fluent in 19 languages – with plans on learning more. Read Awaad’s story.
- Outstanding emerging researchers honoured at McGill’s Spring 2019 Convocation
Three highly accomplished early career researchers received a prestigious McGill distinction: the Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Emerging Researchers. Full details.
- Collins Oghor: “African solutions to African problems”
A profile of Collins Oghor is a McGill alumnus, doctor, international medical researcher, global health consultant, entrepreneur, world traveler and fashion maven. When he spoke to the Reporter in July, Oghor was getting ready to return to Africa to work on global health initiatives on that continent. More information.
- Nicholas Kasirer nominated to the Supreme Court of Canada
On June 10, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (BA’94) nominated Quebec judge Nicholas Kasirer (BCL’85, LLB’85) to fill a pending vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada. A McGill law professor for 20 years and Dean of the Faculty from 2003 to 2009, Kasirer replaced Justice Clément Gascon (BCL’81) upon his retirement from bench in September. Full story.
- Victory lap for McGill Formula Electric
McGill’s electric race car takes top prize in international competition. Read the article.
- McGill recognized as International Sustainability Institution of the Year
McGill was named the International Green Gown Award’s Sustainability Institution of the Year for its “ambitious yet realistic’ Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy. All the details.
- Tracking down, and telling the stories of, McGill’s PhD graduates
The ambitious TRaCE program seeks to track down 5,000 McGill PhD grads to find out where life has taken them following graduation Learn more.
- Student project could help astronomers search for Earth-like planets
A Physics honours thesis by Evelyn Macdonald and her supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Nicolas Cowan, presents a new ‘fingerprint’ of Earth’s atmosphere that could help astronomers in their quest to find Earth-like planets beyond our solar system. Full story.
- Single-patient rooms at Glen site lower infection rates dramatically
Rates of colonization of two health-associated infections tumbled soon after historic hospital move in 2015. More information.
- Building a positive Frosh experience
Upper-year students and University staff work together to advance and maintain a safer, inclusive, sustainable and meaningful Frosh for new students. Get the full story.
- 12 McGill researchers receive $6.5M in funding from the CFI and the Government of Quebec
Twelve McGill researchers have received federal grants through the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund, which helps universities attract and retain the best and brightest researchers from around the world by giving them access to cutting-edge research tools. More details.
- Government of Canada funds collaborative research to clean Arctic oil spills
Two McGill researchers developing solutions to clean marine oil spills in the Northwest Passage and in oceans surrounding Canada to receive $3.7 million in funding from the Multi-Partner Research Initiative. Full story.
- McGill launches $2-billion fundraising campaign
“Made by McGill: The Campaign for Our Third Century” will mobilize thousands of alumni and donors around the world in support of McGill’s mission of teaching, research and service to society. Full article.
- New food service provider to focus on fresh, local and scratch-cooking
Dana Hospitality “fits in perfectly with McGill’s ideology of putting sustainability at the forefront of everything we do.” More delicious details.
- Twelve McGill scholars inducted into Royal Society of Canada
The Royal Society of Canada announced twelve McGill inductees in 2019 including three new members to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and nine new Fellows. And the inductees are…
- Indigenous Awareness Weeks 2019: Celebrating Indigenous languages and Matriarchy
From September 16 to 27, McGill celebrated and honoured Indigenous peoples across the country including the Métis, the Inuit and First Nations. Read more.
- McGill joins University Global Compact
The group brings together world universities committed to advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Read the article.
- Excellence in the classroom celebrated at Convocation
Four of McGill’s exceptional educators were awarded a Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching as part of Fall Convocation ceremonies. More details.
- New school named after Brenda Milner
A new school for students with special needs, named after esteemed neuroscientist Brenda Milner, opened in a suburb of Montreal. Milner, who is 101 years old, delivered a speech at the much-anticipated inauguration of L’École Régionale Brenda Milner – Brenda Milner Regional School in Châteauguay on October 6. Learn more.
- Sustainability Projects Fund: Giving the green light to new ideas for 10 years
Ten years, and $7 million in funding, later, it’s safe to say the Sustainability Projects Fund “experiment” has been a huge success. Full story.
- Fear of flying (and the impact it has on the environment)
We’re hearing it more and more – airplane travel is bad for the planet. But are there instances in which flying can compete with other modes of transport in terms of environmental impact? Read what a McGill expert had to say.
- Tackling food insecurity for Montreal’s most vulnerable one meal at a time
Founded by a pair of McGill undergrads, MealCare diverts leftover cafeteria food destined for the garbage to help feed the City’s most vulnerable people. Read more.
- Daryl Haggard, Simon Caron-Huot win 2020 Breakthrough Prizes for Physics
Professors Daryl Haggard and Simon Caron-Huot of the Department of Physics were honoured by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation for their contribution to the field Physics – with Professor Haggard as a joint-recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and Professor Caron-Huot the New Horizons in Physics Prize. Full article.
- McGill researchers among the world’s most cited: Web of Science
Eleven McGill researchers included in select annual list of academics with worldwide reach and influence, as Canada ranks sixth among all nations. Get all the details.
- Staff members honoured for exemplary performance
During the Fall Convocation ceremonies, Principal Suzanne Fortier handed out the annual Principal’s Awards for Administrative and Support Staff, recognizing four individuals for their exemplary performance in support of McGill’s teaching, research and service missions. Learn more.
- McGill alumni figure prominently in new federal cabinet
Following a win in the federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taps five McGillians to join him in cabinet. Read the article.
- McGill to decrease carbon-intensity of its endowment
The University announces plans to engage in divesting from highly carbon-intensive companies, including those within the fossil fuel industry. Learn more.
- 30 years after École Polytechnique: Where are we now?
Three members of the Faculty of Engineering – a student, a professor and the Dean – reflect upon the impact the massacre at École Polytechnique has had on their lives and the field of engineering. Read the article.
- Catch the Big Wave
Big Wave funding stream to support transformative sustainability projects across McGill. Full story.
- Nine McGill researchers selected in newest round of Canada CIFAR AI Chairs
On December 9, CIFAR announced its newest cohort of Canada CIFAR AI Chairs, which includes nine researchers from McGill, bringing the total number of McGill researchers named to the program to 17. More information.
- Commercial cannabis course recruiting prospective students
Thirty-credit program, which includes two full academic terms and a 12-week industrial internship, will focus on cannabis cultivation, pathology and breeding. Get the details.
As we close out 2019, the staff of the McGill Reporter wish all our readers nothing but the good stuff for 2020. Health, happiness and lots and lots of love!