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McGill pioneers

For 185 years, McGill has provided fertile ground for intellectual pioneers. While at McGill, these men and women have changed the world through their powerful ideas and discoveries.

John Humphrey, McGill Pioneer John Humphrey
"There is a fundamental link between human rights and peace. There will be peace on earth when the rights of all are respected."
John Humphrey, the McGill law professor who authored the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Stephen Leacock, McGill Pioneer Stephen Leacock
"Humour in a world of waning beliefs remains like Hope still left at the bottom of Pandora's box when all the evils of the Gods flew out from it upon the world."
Stephen Leacock, legendary humourist and Professor of Economics and Political Science at McGill.


Brenda Milner, McGill PioneerBrenda Milner
"The thing that has driven me my whole life is curiosity. I am incredibly curious about the little things I see around me. I am a noticer."
Brenda Milner, Dorothy J. Killam Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the MNI and McGill University, who discovered the mind has multiple memory systems.


Sir William Osler, McGill Pioneer Sir William Osler
"To study medicine without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study medicine only from books is not to go to sea at all."
Sir William Osler, the father of modern medical education and professor of medicine at McGill.


Read the 10 McGill Stories« 10 McGill stories
Read about McGill's involvement in the birth of three sports, and pioneering research in epigenetics.


McGill University,1821-18751821–1875 »
James McGill's generous donation begins our story, three major sports see the light of day, and a consensus-building McGillian becomes Canada's first francophone prime minister.

Photo credits

Stephen Leacock at McGill Society of Ontario meeting
Photo credit: McGill University Archives, PR017258

Dr. William Osler
Photo credit: McGill University Archives, PR008335