2017 Year in review

Principal Suzanne Fortier2017 was an exciting year for the McGill community. Our terrific students, faculty, staff and alumni used their creativity and knowledge to explore new frontiers and advance society.  Here you will find the achievements, statistics and financial highlights from the past year. Together, our shared vision of learning, discovery, sustainability and engagement is making an impact—here at home in Montreal, and around the world—and is creating a momentum that will continue to drive us forward.


Suzanne Fortier, BSc’72, PhD’76
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

After giving more than $5.5 million to 170-plus projects, McGill's Sustainability Projects Fund was on the receiving end of a prestigious prize from Montreal's 2017 Gala de reconnaissance en environnement et développement durable. Created in 2010, the SPF is North America's largest dedicated campus sustainability fund. Any student, staff or faculty member can apply. Making our campus greener, more equitable, and more sustainable: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Nobody wants another deadly ice storm, which cut power to millions of Canadian homes in 1998. Today’s smart power grids improve power delivery by exchanging vast amounts of data between the energy producer and users. McGill artificial intelligence researchers are making the grids even smarter by using data patterns to predict, and take action against, system failures. Non-stop power to the people: #mcgillimpact
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#TBT 1990, when this young man earned a scholarship to study architecture at McGill. Twenty-seven years later, Peter Guo-hua Fu has designed some five million square meters of Shanghai's urban landscape. In gratitude for what he calls "a truly transformative part of my life," the influential architect gave his alma mater a $12-million gift that will include scholarships support for the next generations of students. Paying it forward: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Exhibit A in the case against dropping out of school: a mock courtroom trial. Each year, the L.E.X. (Law - Éducation - Connexion) community outreach program sends some 40 students from McGill's Faculty of Law into six area high schools. Their goal is to get young people-particularly kids from backgrounds that are under-represented in the legal profession-excited about studying law. More diversity, fewer barriers: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

These brains are healthy now, but what about in two years? Using artificial intelligence and big data analysis, McGill researchers can spot Alzheimer’s disease in a simple PET scan—well before a patient shows symptoms. Earlier detection, better treatments: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

To encourage more First Nations, Inuit and Métis people to consider careers in health care, McGill’s annual Eagle Spirit Camp welcomes teenagers from Indigenous communities across Canada. For three days, the students participate in hands-on workshops at the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, tour hospitals and, crucially, forge long-term relationships with mentors from the health profession. More diversity, fewer barriers: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Complex, multidimensional problems demand complex, multidimensional solutions—that’s why the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative brings together experts from across McGill’s faculties. Their collective goal is to make tangible, significant progress in moving society toward a sustainable model of existence. Protecting the planet while promoting prosperity: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Four years after coming to Montreal from across sub-Saharan Africa, the first cohort of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program crossed the McGill convocation stage in 2017. The program selects academically gifted scholars who have a vision for giving back to their communities. Supporting the leaders of tomorrow: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Professional dental care is out of reach for many of Montreal's 200,000 working poor. That's why the Jim Lund Clinic, the city's first permanent, free dental care clinic, opened its doors in the Welcome Hall Mission in 2011. Under the supervision of professors from McGill's Faculty of Dentistry, third- and fourth-year students have since provided low-income Montreal families and new Canadians with almost $2-million worth of free dental exams, cleanings, fillings and extractions. In 2017, McGill renewed its partnership with Welcome Hall, meaning at least another five years of smiling faces. Removing the barriers to good health: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

It wasn't anybody's first choice, but Richibucto Mi'kmaq and Onondaga Iroquois families would fry or boil bullfrogs when food was scarce. Frogs are just one of the 500 animals catalogued in "Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of North America," the McGill Centre for Indigenous People's Nutrition and Environment's 400,000-word online encyclopedia of the traditional diet of First Nations peoples. Understanding and protecting knowledge about biodiversity and natural resources: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

In May 2017, the first cohort of Master's students graduated from McGill's physical therapy extension program at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). The French-language program was created in response to a shortage of physical therapists in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and North Shore regions. Educating in the community, for the community: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Full-time language training and a full-time job? That's a tough balancing act. A Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal pilot project pairs students from McGill University and the Université de Montréal with Côte-des-Neiges merchants who want to improve their French. After just three months of weekly on-site tutoring sessions, almost 80 % of the merchants-many of whom are recent immigrants-made major progress, in only a fraction of the time of an intensive language course. Helping new Montrealers integrate into the community: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Watch budding musician Lina play Mozart’s “A Little Night Music.” She’s learning piano through the Montreal chapter of the national Heart of the City Piano Program. McGill student volunteers offer free piano lessons to elementary school students from inner-city, lower-income communities. Making musical education accessible to everyone: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Students in McGill’s Integrated Program in Neuroscience aren’t just bridging departments and disciplines—they’re bridging communities. IPN students have created BrainReach North, an online educational outreach initiative that provides teachers in remote Quebec aboriginal communities with free interactive educational materials designed to get young people excited about neuroscience. Inspiring the next generation of scientists: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

What’s the neuroscience driving our consumer decisions? How can retailers use artificial intelligence? Those are some of the questions at the heart of the proposed Bensadoun School of Retail Management, an inter-disciplinary, state-of-the-art school and research centre. The school was announced in May 2017, when shoe tycoon Aldo Bensadoun (BCom’64, LLD’12) made a $25-million gift to McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management. Leading innovation in a fast-changing sector: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Canadian production of pulses-dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas-has grown more than ten-fold since the 1980s, but the Pulse Innovation Platform thinks there's even more to be done with this efficient, sustainable and scalable protein-rich crop. Based in the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics, the PIP open invitation forum identifies bottlenecks hindering innovative solutions to global food insecurity. Feeding the world: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

​The World Health Organization predicts neurological and psychiatric diseases will claim more Canadians than cancer by 2040. McGill’s Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives research program is working to downgrade many terminal afflictions to treatable, or even curable, conditions. Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

#TBT last August 19, when 70,000 music lovers packed the eastern slope of Mount Royal to hear a super-sized symphony. The McGill Symphony Orchestra joined forces with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Orchestre Métropolitain-plus superstars such as Coeur de Pirate, DJ Champion and Rufus Wainwright-for the free outdoor celebration of Montreal's 375th anniversary. Bringing Montrealers together: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

More than 100 elementary school students came to the downtown campus for the fifth annual MyDay@McGill University (April 6-7). They participated in activities ranging from hands-on chemistry and robotics labs to theatre and a cappella workshops. A partnership between McGill's SEDE office and local school boards, MyDay@McGill combats Quebec's ever-increasing high school drop-out rates by engaging students in the fun, creative and accessible side of post-secondary education. Breaking down barriers to success: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Women represent the majority of Canadian university grads, but make up only 39% of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science) disciplines. McGill’s inaugural AI for Social Good Summer Lab, held in June 2017, is a response to this lack of diversity. Twenty young women learned the latest artificial intelligence technologies, which they then used to tackle a pressing social problem. Working toward a more inclusive tech culture: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Dr. Mark Ware has studied the use, safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis for almost 20 years. As the Canadian government prepared to legalize marijuana in 2018, it enlisted the world-renowned McGill pain researcher as vice-chair of a task force to help inform the new laws. Better public policy through science: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Triple the number of Indigenous students at McGill by 2022. A new special advisor on Indigenous initiatives. Improved financial support for Indigenous students. These were among the more than 50 calls to action presented in the Provost’s Task Force Report on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education. More than one million dollars has been earmarked for implementing the report’s recommendations. Respect and openness for Indigenous peoples and knowledges: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

An in-depth study, led by Facilities Management and Ancillary Services and student volunteers, analyzed the current waste management practices of five buildings on the McGill downtown campus-the first step toward making McGill a Zero Waste Campus. Rethinking consumption: #mcgillimpact  Learn more

The Beyond Me network brings together special needs children with McGill student mentors for a full year of "messy science" fun, homework help, language development and other activities. Beyond Me was one of six initiatives honored at McGill's fifth annual Award for Equity and Community Building in May 2017. Promoting diversity and inclusivity: #mcgillimpact.  Learn more

Bananas for smiles: A grateful Panamanian girl gives McGill dentistry professor Dr. Gerard Melki fruit from her family's garden. Melki is a volunteer with Dental Bears Necessity, an outreach program that sends McGill profs and students into remote communities throughout Central and South America. The dentists, and dentists-in-training, provide free extractions, fillings and root canals for 100 adults and children each day. Bringing health care to underserved communities: #mcgillimpact.  Learn more

What goes from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds, has no emissions, and was built and tested by McGill engineering students? The world's first electric snowmobile. The founders of Taiga Motors- Gabriel Bernatchez (BEng'16), Sam Bruneau (BEng'15) and Paul Achard (BEng'14)-developed their prototype as part of the McGill Formula Electric design team, and credit the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship with helping make their invention a reality. Giving innovative start-ups a leg up: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

Some 3,000 people packed into Lower Campus to view the August 21st solar eclipse. AstroMcGill hosted the event, with teams of volunteers handing out free eclipse glasses, giving presentations and giving people a close-up view of the sun through special telescopes. Still have your eclipse glasses? AstroMcGill is collecting them in the Rutherford Building lobby ; the glasses will redistributed to schools in Asia and South America. Sharing the wonders of the cosmos: #mcgillimpact. Learn more

McGill’s new Max Bell School of Public Policy will offer a one-year graduate program that combines theory and quantitative analysis with exploration of real-world policy implementation. The school was announced with a $10-million gift from the Max Bell Foundation in November 2017. Training the next generation of policy leaders: #mcgillimpact. Learn more