THE BEGINNING OF TEACHING AT McGILL UNIVERSITY

Edward H. Bensley

Abstract


In 1821 McGill University came into being through the granting of a charter by King George the Fourth. Although the University "came into being" at this time, it might be fairly described as existing only on paper. There were no premises available for teaching, no students and no staff. Two years later a staff was appointed but the posts were purely nominal; there was still no teaching. Thus 1821, although accepted as the official founding date, did not see the birth of McGill University as an active educational institution. Indeed, teaching did not begin until 1829 and then only in medicine and as a direct result of the efforts of the medical officers of The Montreal General Hospital. In an article published in the Summer 1936 issue of The McGill News, Leonard Knott, well-known public relations counsel and writer, made the rather dramatic statement that McGill University was, in a sense, an offshoot of The Montreal General Hospital. This was perhaps an exaggeration but, like all exaggerations, it contained an element of truth.

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