Celebrating the ties that bind 

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012

From left to right: Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow; Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh; Chancellor Arnold Steinberg and Principal Heather Munroe-Blum unveil three commemorative benches in James Square. / Photo: Owen Egan

McGill confers hon docs to Principals of Glasgow and Edinburgh universities

By McGill Reporter Staff

With some 20 per cent of its students coming from more than 150 countries around the world, McGill stands as one of Canada’s most international universities. But on Thursday, May 31, as part of McGill’s 190th anniversary celebrations, the University celebrated its distinctly Scottish roots by conferring honorary doctorates to Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, and Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.

With educational links to McGill reaching back 200 years, the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow can be seen as being responsible for the birth of McGill University. Indeed, because so many of the founders and early principals of both this university and its medical school, including James McGill himself, studied at either the University of Edinburgh or the University of Glasgow, these institutions could be considered McGill’s founding sisters.

“It is a great privilege and honour to be recognized by the people of McGill in this way and I am truly delighted to accept my honorary degree,” said O’Shea.

“James McGill, the founder of McGill, studied at Glasgow in the 1750s and we have maintained strong and enduring connections with McGill over the past two and a half centuries,” added Muscatelli. “There are more than 100 Canadian students currently studying with us at Glasgow, adding greatly to the campus life and student experience. This is a tremendous honour not just for me personally, but also for the community of the University of Glasgow.”

Prior to the ceremony, Principals Muscatelli and O’Shea unveiled three commemorative benches in the James Square on the McGill campus. The benches are made of Scottish granite that was quarried near Aberdeen. Each bench is made of three pieces of granite, representing the three universities, joined together in three different designs that are similar yet unique. Replicas of the three Scottish stone benches, made of Quebec granite, will be placed on a ‘mirror’ site on McGill’s Macdonald Campus, as a complement to the installation on the downtown campus.

“James McGill was motivated to found this university by a sense of curiosity and a spirit of social responsibility instilled in him as a young man in Scotland,” said Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. “Today, this same spirit is to be found in the active student exchanges and research collaborations that build on the foundational ties between McGill and the esteemed sister universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. As a fitting finale to McGill’s 190th anniversary celebrations, I am delighted to award honorary doctorates to these distinguished academic leaders and international colleagues, Professors Muscatelli and O’Shea.”



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