McMaster University

1957-1987: A Chance for Greatness

1957-1987: A Chance for Greatness

In 1957 McMaster University was a small Baptist enclave of traditional higher learning on the western outskirts of Hamilton. Thirty years later it was home to the only nuclear reactor on a Commonwealth campus and had cultivated a thriving engineering program and a world-class medical school. In the third volume of the university's history, James Greenlee illuminates the core ideas, driving ambitions, and occasionally sharp conflicts that marked this startling transition.

Greenlee offers a tightly focused study of the planning, people, and events that gave McMaster its distinctive and bold personality. At the heart of these developments stood President Harry Thode, whose master plan forged a research-intensive institution of medium size, but one capable of surpassing the largest institutions in carefully selected fields. Despite dramatic ups and downs, the remarkable persistence of this model is the key to understanding modern McMaster.

For readers interested in the challenge of mass education in a democratic age, the origins of revolutionary approaches to medical training, or the tangled relations among a university, its community, and the province, this volume, like the McMaster leaders it follows, has a story to tell.

McMaster University: A Chance for Greatness 1957 - 1987 is the third volume of the University's history; professor emeritus Charles Johnston'49 previously published McMaster University, Volume 1: The Toronto Years and McMaster University, Volume 2: The Early Years in Hamilton, which jointly covered the years between 1887 and 1957. Volume I and Volume II will reprinted and available for purchase in the Fall of 2015.

Photo of author James G. Greenlee

James G. Greenlee

James G. Greenlee earned all three of his degrees at McMaster, completing his PhD in 1975. He retired from Memorial University in 2007 after teaching there for 30 years. A frequent college orator at convocation, he is also the author of three books and numerous articles, including Sir Robert Falconer: A Biography (University of Toronto Press) and most recently (with C.M. Johnston) Good Citizens: British Missionaries and Imperial States 1870-1918 (McGill-Queen's).

Greenlee has stayed in touch with members of the McMaster community during the last three decades of living in Newfoundland. He has returned to Hamilton for four months each summer and hasn't missed a season of the Graduate Students' Association softball faculty association as a member of The Bandits.

  • George P. Gilmour

    1949 – 1961

  • Nuclear reactor under construction

    late 1950s

  • Baptist Rule

    1957

  • Henry G. Thode

    1961 – 1972

  • Enrolment will soar to 2000

    1961

  • Overhead of McMaster

    mid 1960s

  • Bertram Russell archives

    1968

  • John Evans - founding dean of medical school

    1970s

  • Early computers at Mac

  • Research at McMaster in the 1960s

  • Arthur N. Bourns

    1972 – 1980

  • Shinerama

  • Coed residences

    Late 1970s

  • More than just books

    1977

  • Alvin A. Lee

    1980 – 1990

  • Hanging out at Edwards Hall

    1980s

  • Homecoming at McMaster
    in the 1980s

    1980s

  • Greenlee offers a tightly focused study of the planning, people, and events that gave McMaster its distinctive and bold personality. At the heart of these developments stood President Harry Thode, whose master plan forged a research-intensive institution of medium size, but one capable of surpassing the largest institutions in carefully selected fields.

    In 1957 McMaster University was a small Baptist enclave of traditional higher learning on the western outskirts of Hamilton. Thirty years later it was home to the only nuclear reactor on a Commonwealth campus and had cultivated a thriving engineering program and a world-class medical school. In the third volume of the university’s history, James Greenlee illuminates the core ideas, driving ambitions, and occasionally sharp conflicts that marked this startling transition.

    James G. Greenlee Volume 3

    James G. Greenlee McMaster University
    1957-1987: A Chance for Greatness

Please join us as we celebrate the release of the third volume of McMaster's History, 1957-1987: A Chance for Greatness!

Great Hall, Alumni Memorial Hall
(University Club)
Thursday, April 23, 2015
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm, remarks at 3:15 pm

Author Jim Greenlee will be attendance. Books available for purchase.

Light refreshments will be served.

Registration

Register here