University of Manitoba Chronological History, 1926-1950
  • A University committee is struck under the chairmanship of Professor R.C. Wallace to work on a plan for establishing retirement allowances for teaching and administrative staff members.  The University establishes a contributory plan under the Teachers’ Insurance and Annuity Association of America to be put into effect on  December 1, 1927. It also receives an $80,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching New York to assist in providing retirement allowances to senior staff who are close to retirement.


  • The University of Manitoba celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Semi-Centennial Celebration from October 6 to 8, 1927.  The Alumni Association participates actively in the arrangements for the celebration by holding the first homecoming of graduates of the University.


  • The membership of the Alumni Association grows to more than 500.  The Association establishes a journal, The University of Manitoba Quarterly which is circulated to the membership of the Association, carrying news of the graduates and articles on general literary and scientific questions, and on University problems.
  • Professor R.C. Wallace, head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy and Provincial Commissioner of Mines resigns his position to become the President of the University of Alberta.
  • In May 1928, the compilation of the University’s first register of graduates is completed.  The compiled data reveals that since its inception the University has conferred approximately 5,000 degrees on some 4,700 persons.  375 graduates were identified as being deceased while 88 per cent of University of Manitoba graduates were identified as residing in Canada.
  • Also in May 1928, the Provincial Legislature approves an appropriation of $1,000,000 for additional University accommodation.  This money would only become available to the University after a legislative committee made a study of all the various proposed University sites and reached a final decision as to the one on which the development would take place.


  • On January 23, the Board of Governors formally accepts the decision of the legislative committee on the University site question to select the Fort Garry site as the permanent site of the University of Manitoba.  A.A. Schoughton, Architect and Professor Emeritus of Architecture is engaged to prepare plans for the grouping and location of the buildings.


  • St. Paul’s College becomes affiliated with the University of Manitoba.
  • The Arts Building on the Fort Garry campus is completed and construction on the Science Building is begun.
  • In October, the University imposes salary reductions of between 2 per cent  and 12 per cent on the teaching and administrative staff in accordance with scales of pay adopted by the Government of Manitoba for members of the Civil Service.  The salary reductions are accepted without protest by the University of Manitoba staff.


  • The Annual Survey of Education in Canada issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics indicates that the University of Manitoba is ranked second in student enrollment among universities in Canada.


  • On August 25, 1932 published newspaper reports reveal that John A. Machray, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Honorary Bursar of the University, Chancellor of St. John’s College and the Diocese of Rupert’s Land, senior partner of the law firm of Machray and Sharpe, and nephew of Archbishop Robert Machray, has lost through bad investments the university endowments entrusted to his care (the Defalcation).
  • On September 23, John A. Machray is sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment when he pleads guilty to theft of University funds.
  • On September 24, Premier John Bracken appoints Mr. Justice W.F.A. Turgeon, of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, Dr. W.C. Murray, President of the University of Saskatchewan, and C.G.K. Norse, former manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, to a board of inquiry to investigate the impairment and depletion of University trust funds during the period when John Machray was Bursar.


  • The University of Manitoba’s grant is cut from $500,000 to $400,000 in the 1932 provincial budget.
  • A new Board of Governors is created consisting of  nine members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council, three  members elected by the Alumni, with the President and Chancellor as ex-officio members.
  • F.W. Crawford is hired as the University’s first full-time salaried Bursar.  The office of Honorary Bursar is abolished.
  • The Faculty of Agriculture and Home Economics is reorganized and Dr. Alfred Savage is appointed  Dean on September 1.
  • On March 29, 1933 the report of the Turgeon Royal Commission is tabled in the provincial Legislature.  The report identifies a shortfall in University trust accounts controlled by the firm of Machray and Sharpe to be $1,917,044.60.  Severe criticism of successive Boards of Governors and a condemnation of successive provincial governments and public officials for their lack of control and accountability is also outlined.
  • On October 9, the Right Honorable R.B. Bennett, Prime Minister of Canada addresses students at the morning ceremonies of the inaugural University Day.


  • President Maclean resigns effective April 30, 1934.  Sidney Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Dalhousie is appointed as the University’s 2nd President.  He is officially installed at the University Day ceremonies on October 12, 1934.
  • John Dafoe succeeds Archbishop S.P. Matheson as the University’s 3rd Chancellor.  He is officially installed at the University Day ceremonies on October 12, 1934.
  • The University of Manitoba Quarterly is replaced by the Alumni Journal.


  • The Faculty of Education is established by the University to give instruction in education and lead to the granting of an Interim Collegiate Certificate by the Provincial Department of Education and the degree of Bachelor of Education and Master of Education by the University.  D.S. Woods is appointed as the Faculty’s first Dean.
  • Alumni Week is celebrated and the Alumni Association of the University of Manitoba is incorporated.  The Manitoba Agricultural and Home Economics Alumni Association merges with the Alumni Association and a six year, $5.00 membership is authorized.


  • The 1935-1936 session is the first in which the Sellers Scholarships are offered.  The awards in the amount of $100 go to ten students registered in Arts and Science and come as a welcome cash influx to a campus still reeling from the Machray Defalcation and the Depression.


  • Major revisions to the University of Manitoba Act are passed by the provincial legislature.  The University Council is abolished and is replaced by a remodeled body called the Senate which becomes in charge of all academic matters.  The President becomes ex officio Vice-Chancellor and presiding officer at all University functions.  The method of electing the Chancellor is also changed with that responsibility being vested in a committee comprising the Board of Governors, Senate and six Alumni delegates.  The Office of Bursar is abolished and replaced by a Comptroller with enlarged powers.
  • The year marks the end of an era with the retirement of the esteemed botanist Dr. Reginald Buller, one of the six original professors and founding faculty members of the University of Manitoba in 1904. 
  • For the first time the university offers examinations in all grades of music and established diplomas.  The Senior Division students are in for a humorous experience when Stephen Leacock presents an address on December 3 at the Fort Garry Campus.  Lord Tweedsmuir receives an Honorary Degree that December.


  • The trend of founding professors retiring continues when Professor M. A. Parker, Head of the Chemistry Department, steps down. 
  • A Bachelor of Commerce to be awarded through the Faculty of Arts and Science is offered for the first time. 
  • Three hundred and fifty students join with the professors in a written protest of the recently imposed Quebec Padlock Laws.
  • On 22 January 1937 Dr. Bruce Chown lectures on psychic research, a popular phenomenon in Winnipeg at that time, to the Manitoba Medical Students Association. 
  • Wally Bertrand of Science establishes a Canadian record in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 31 seconds at an interfaculty meet.


  • Courses in Political Science and Government are offered for the first time and a Home Management House is erected on the Fort Garry campus. 
  • Magnus Henrikson of Churchbridge, Saskatchewan bequeaths $3000 for the establishment of an Chair of Icelandic Language. The Alumni Jubilee Award is initiated. 
  • In 1938 Brandon College begins its affiliation with the University of Manitoba; the Baptist college had earlier been linked to McMaster University.
  • Frederick Banting spends two days in Winnipeg visiting the Manitoba Medical College on November 28-29th.  Banting is favourably impressed by the level of research being conducted despite the limited funds available.  As Chairman of the Medical Sub-Committee of the National Research Council, he expresses an interest in funding units outside of Toronto and Montreal.
  • The Arts Student Body begins publication of the Manitoba Arts Review, a journal of intellectual articles written primarily by students and faculty of the University.


  • The University realizes the need to expand its profile into the community.  The Carnegie Corporation provides $100, 000 to provide adult education in rural communities.  The Manitoba Government provides funding for an increase in courses offered by the Workers’ Educational Association.  The Ashdown scholarships are initiated in 1939.
  • An explosion in the Science Building on January 12, causes $55, 000 damage, blowing out the third floor ceiling and injuring two employees. 
  • On February 21 the World Premiere of the University’s movie “And So to College” is shown.
  • The University Women’s Club takes over the old “Ralph Connor House” as their headquarters.
  • The University of Manitoba Band record their theme song “Brown and Gold” at radio station CJRC.


  • The War has a dramatic effect on the University not only in its enrollment but in the physical presence of soldiers as the Army took over the Fort Garry residence.  All fit 18-year-old male students are required to take six hours a week in military training.  Students over the age of 21 receive two weeks of practical military training in a camp.  By 1941 90 per cent of women students have enrolled in a variety of courses to aid in the war.  Dean of Women, Ursulla Macdonnell, receives requests from across Canada as to how Manitoba’s successful program was implemented.  Auto mechanics proved to be a favorite course among the women.  For the first time women wear slacks in residence and the library.


  • The School of Social Work  is established within the Faculty of Arts and Science. 
  • In 1943 the first degrees are conferred in the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and the diploma course is abandoned.  The Senate also establishes two new honorary degrees:  Doctor of Science (D. Sc.) and  Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.). 
  • Dr. Frank Allen, founder of the Physics Department, retires.
  • A scarlet fever outbreak has the Home Economic House under quarantine in January 1944.
  • The U.M.S.U. president Albert Hamilton is called before the Board of Governors for his anti-war poem “Atrocities” that appeares in the Manitoban’s Literary Supplement.  Hamilton’s marks in his graduating year are held up until he joins active service.
  • President Sidney Smith leaves the University of Manitoba to become President of the University of Toronto.  H. P. Armes, the Dean of Arts and Science, becomes the University’s 3rd President on Sept. 19, 1944.  Mr. Justice A. K. Dysart replaces the late J. W. Dafoe as the University’s 4th Chancellor.


  • The University of Manitoba Press and the departments of Psychology, Agricultural Engineering and Medical Research are established.
  • In March 1945 four members of the French Resistance Movement address the student body.
  • Albert Trueman, a graduate of the University of New Brunswick and Oxford and a professor of English, becomes the University’s 4th President in June 1945.


  • Margaret McWilliams, historian, social advocate and the Chatelaine of Government House, is the recipient of an LLD in 1946.
  • An influx of 3125 veterans swells registration to 9514, causing a space and equipment crisis.  The University constructs married veterans huts which are ready for occupancy in September 1946, making the university even more of a community.
  • That same year Grant MacEwan, the celebrated historian, becomes head of the Department of Agriculture and Home Economics.
  • The Provincial Government offers a $150,000 interest-free loan for an Athletic and Student Union Building on the Fort Garry campus.  Students canvass door to door for donations to the building fund. 
  • Guest speakers at the University in 1946 include Randolph Churchill and the Conservative M.P., John Diefenbaker.


  • After years of complaints regarding a quota system within the Medical School, the provincial legislature passes a unanimous resolution to increase student registrations.  Past practice held to an unwritten rule that not more than five "Jews" or women would be allowed entrance.
  • Dr. Harold Innis, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Toronto, receives an L.L.D.  at the Spring Convocation .
  • A new literature and art magazine, “Creative Campus,” appears under the editorship of Alvin Goldman.
  • The university announces in September 1947 that they plan to spend $200, 000 on construction.  More veterans huts are added, an addition is made to the Engineering Building and repairs are done on the Medical College.
  • More than $100, 000 is brought in by research contracts, nearly doubling the previous high.
  • Dr. John Russell of Architecture receivea $24, 500 to study the planning and designing of farm homes, farm kitchens and rural community centres.
  • Twelve hundred fans attend the Homecoming Football game between the Manitoba Bisons and the Minnesota State Teachers College at Osborne Stadium.


  • In a surprise move President Trueman announces his intention to resign at the end of the term to take the presidency at the University of New Brunswick.  This move receives a great deal of negative press coverage and both faculty and students wish to appear before the Board of Governors.  It is widely speculated that Trueman’s dislike for the comptroller and secretary of the board, F. W. Crawford, prompted his resignation.
  • In July 1948 A. H. S. Gillson, former Dean of Arts and Science at McGill, becomes the University’s 5th President.
  • In late November medical student Norm Hill scores the winning touchdown for the Calgary Stampeders in an 8-5 victory over the Ottawa Roughriders.
  • In February 1949 the International Student Services launches a campaign to raise $5000 for D.P. (Displaced Persons) Scholarships.
  • In March of 1949 the University confers a L.L.D. on Eleanor Roosevelt in a Special Convocation.
  • Later that same month the University of Manitoba debating team wins the National Championships.  The team is comprised of Roland Penner, Art Mauro, Sha Sabzali and Charles Smith.  Penner and Mauro clinched the championship in Hamilton, arguing the affirmative on “Should Canada have a Bill of Rights.”
  • The University of Manitoba’s 70th Annual Convocation, held on May 18 1949, is the largest to date with 1,520 students graduating , easily surpassing the previous record of  932 in 1948.
  • In the fall of 1949 Nat “King” Cole is one of the Judges for the best float in the annual Freshie Parade.
  • That same autumn Manitoban alumnus Bob Halparin (Monty Hall’s brother), a special events announcer with CHUM radio in Toronto, is one of the first reporters on the scene at the Noronic disaster on the Toronto docks.  Halparin stood in his slippers with light clothing thrown over his pajamas in a biting wind and 40° temperatures to get the story.  He stuffed newspapers into his pants to ward off the cold and carried out interviews with survivors and officials.
  • In October a probe is underway to discover why the Northwest corner of the new U.M.S.U. mysteriously collapsed.


  • The 1950 flood devastates the campus.  For 29 days (May 5 to June 8) water covers 1100 acres of university property, leaving only a ¼ acre visible.  At its peak the water reaches depths of 22 inches on the road in front of the Administration Building.
  • Art Mauro is elected U.M.S.U. President for the 1950-1951 session.
  • The Department of Judaic Studies was established in 1950 under the guidance of Rabbi Chiel.
  • Students in the news are fourth-year law student and chess master Abe Yanofsky and medical student Tom Casey, who wrote a column for the Manitoban and also starred as halfback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • On December 1, 1950 the University of Manitoba Varsity Grads play the Harlem Globetrotters in an exhibition.
  • In January former student  Alan Gottlieb, who spent two years as an undergrad at United College, is named Rhodes Scholar.
  • The Alumni Fund is instrumental in the purchase of the Palliser Report for the university library.

1877-1924      1951-1974      1976-1999