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Remembering Peter George: 1941 - 2017

Peter James George, who served three terms as President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University before retiring in 2010, has died at age 75.

Apr 27, 2017

George oversaw a period of major growth for McMaster, in terms of size, reach and reputation.

“This is difficult news for all of us. We are thinking of Peter’s family and his many friends, here on campus and around the world,” said Patrick Deane, who succeeded George in the role. “McMaster University is very fortunate to have had such a champion as Peter George. His legacy is all around us, but I believe it is most apparent in the achievements of our students and researchers, to whose success he was always so dedicated.”

Read more about Peter George, his accomplishments and legacy on the McMaster Daily News


Peter James George, CM, O.Ont, Ph.D., D.U. was a Canadian economist and former McMaster University administrator. A distinguished educator and scholar, Peter retired from McMaster in June 2010 after serving an unprecedented three, five-year terms as President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, George graduated from the University of Toronto and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962, a Master of Arts degree in 1963, and a Ph.D. in 1967. He joined McMaster University as a lecturer in the Department of Economics in 1965. In 1967, he became an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor in 1971, and a Professor of Economics in 1980. His research spanned Canadian and US economic history, economic and environmental impacts of resource development, particularly in Northern Canada, and human resources policy including policies and governance models relating to higher education. From 1974 to 1979, he served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and from 1980 to 1989 he was Dean of Social Sciences. From 1991 to 1995, he served a term as President of the Council of Ontario Universities. He returned to McMaster with his appointment as President on July 1, 1995 and served three consecutive five-year terms.

Peter has most often been described as a leader of great passion, who transformed McMasterUniversity with his focus on excellence in teaching and research and his vision for internationalizing the student experience on campus.

In recognition of his many accomplishments Peter received numerous awards and honours. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and a Member of the Order of Ontario in

2007. He has been awarded honourary degrees from the University of Ottawa, Lviv National Polytechnic University, Nipissing University, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and most recently McMaster University. Peter has also been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and the Diamond Jubilee Medal of the Governor General’s Honours System. He has also received the David C. Smith Award for leadership and advocacy in post-secondary education.

Since his retirement, Peter has been a juror for the Donner Prize for the best public policy book, served as a senior advisor to the director of the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health, and been the honorary chair of the Ancaster-Dundas Relay for Life. He has also served on the boards of many institutions, notably the C.D. Howe Institute, the University of Sharjah, the Miller Thomson Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Diversity, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the LORAN Foundation, the Aga Kahn Museum and the Kids’ Health Links Foundation.