University of Manitoba Chronological History, 1951-1974
  • In 1951 the Department of Geography is established.  That same year the Department of Slavic Studies begins under the chairmanship of Professor J. B. Rudnyckyj, and the Chair of Icelandic Language and Literature is established.
  • Bill Norrie is U.M.S.U. president in 1951 while John Hirsch is an undergraduate with an interest in theater.


  • Chancellor Dysart dies on July 24, 1952 and is replaced by Victor Sifton, the Chairman of the Board of Governors as the University’s 5th Chancellor.  Sifton had served as General Manager and Publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press from 1935-1949.  He was President of the Canadian Press from 1948-1950.
  • In October 1952 His Excellency, the Right Honorable Vincent Massey lays the cornerstone for the new library.  That same evening the University celebrates its 75th Anniversary at a colorful ceremony at the Winnipeg Auditorium attended by the Governor-General and representatives from 29 Canadian universities and colleges.  New Chancellor Sifton’s first official act is to bestow L.L.D.’s on Vincent Massey and artist LeMoine Fitzgerald.


  • The new library is officially opened by Premier Campbell at the Fall Convocation.  Canadian painter Lawren Harris received an L.L.D. and the Samuel Rosner Chair in Agronomy is bequeathed by the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation of Montreal.
  • Dave Bowman, a two-time McGown Debate winner, and Dr. Athol Gordon, honorary president of U.M.S.U., tender their resignations over the choice of the Kinsey Report as the subject for a debate in Vancouver.


  • Dr. A. H. S. Gillson resigns as President on September 1 and dies nine days later at his residence on campus.  Hugh Saunderson becomes the first University of Manitoba graduate to be appointed president; he becomes  the University’s 6th.  Dr. Saunderson joined the Chemistry Department in 1932.  In 1944 he replaced W. P. Armes as the Acting Dean of Arts and Science.  The following year his appointment was confirmed and he served in this position for three years.  From 1947 to 1954 Dr. Saunderson served in Ottawa, first as Director of Information Services for the National Research Council and later as attaché to the Department of Defense Production.
  • In December 1954 Professor Richard Glover is elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an exclusive honor seldom bestowed on a North American scholar.


  • Dr. Wilder Penfield, Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute, receives an honorary degree in May 1955.
  • President Saunderson confirms the loss of seven young scholars, evidence of the University’s inability to compete in the salaries market.


  • Agriculture celebrates its Golden Jubilee on June 21-22, 1956.  On October 19 leading literary figure Laurens Van der Post is the featured speaker at the Festival of Arts.


  • On March 1, 1957 the Government announces a $298, 000 grant to increase professors’ salaries and make the University’s pay scale competitive with other Western Canadian universities.
  • W. L. Morton’s book One University is available for sale at the May 22 Convocation.
  • U. of M. graduates Tom Hendry and John Hirsch open Theatre 77.
  • Sir Herbert Read, noted poetry and art critic, is the guest speaker at the Festival of the Arts.


  • Flying fish, oranges, lunch bags and assorted paraphernalia bring U.M.S.U. election speeches to an abrupt and premature end in February 1958.  Engineering students reacting to some earlier comments by candidate Dave Stinson unleashed their barrage of missiles.
  • In September 1958 United College becomes the centre of one of the most hotly disputed academic controversies in the history of Canadian universities.  Professor Harry Crowe of the History Department was on sabbatical at Queen’s when he wrote a letter to his colleague William Packer at United.  The letter, which contained several disparaging comments about faculty members and the United Church, never reached Professor Packer and ultimately found its way to the desk of United College’s Principal Dr. W. L. Lockhart and the College’s Board of Regents.  The Board of Regents offered Crowe another year’s service with United at no increase in pay.  When news of the letter reached the press United came under heavy fire.  An investigation into charges that Crowe’s academic freedom was infringed upon was about to get underway when he was fired.  In all, fourteen professors left United College in protest, virtually gutting the Arts Department.


  • On February 3, 1959 the first Slotin Memorial Lecture in honour of the 1933 graduate who was killed at Los Alamos, New Mexico during the development of the atomic bomb, is given by Dr. Joseph Kaplan, the Chairman of the United States National Committee for the International Geophysical Year.
  • Mitchell Sharp, a distinguished graduate from the class of 1934, receives the first Alumni Jubilee Award.  Mr. Sharp resigned his post of Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1958 to become vice-president of  Brazilian Traction, Light & Power in Toronto.
  • Samuel Freedman replaces Victor Sifton as the University’s 6th Chancellor on June 1, 1959.  Freedman, a 1933 law graduate, becomes Chief Justice of Manitoba in 1971.
  • That fall U.K. debaters tour Canada for the first time since 1930.  University of Manitoba members Roland Penner and Frank Lamont face the British duo at the Uptown Theatre.
  • Creative Campus ‘59’, branded as a disgrace to the university, is banned from the university and downtown bookstores.  A member of the administration called the publication “pornographic”.
  • On November 20, 1959 Communist Alderman Jacob Penner is shouted off the stage by 100 students.  Penner was speaking at a meeting scheduled by the Socialist Youth League.  Demonstrators raised their hands shouting “Heil” in the Nazi fashion.


  • 1960 marks the introduction of three new vice-president positions.  Former Dean of Arts and Science W. J. Waines becomes V.P. Academic, former Comptroller W. J. Condo becomes V.P. Administration and Jack Hoogstraten becomes V.P. Development.
  • The Friends of the University is established in 1960.
  • On September 23, 1960 German industrialist Alfred Krupp writes an exclusive column for the Manitoban.


  • In November 1961 United students vote to sever ties with U.M.S.U.  Orde Morton joins his father, University of Manitoba History professor W. L. Morton as a Manitoba Rhodes Scholar.
  • In 1962 Medicine’s Freshie Parade float depicting an oral contraceptive sparks a controversy that involves Winnipeg City Council, the Winnipeg and District Labor Council and the two daily newspapers.


  • The Manitoba Law School Journal publishes its first issue which is dedicated to Harvey M. Streight Q.C. who served the School as lecturer and Recorder from 1930 until his death in 1960.


  • Editorials condemning a perceived R.C.M.P. presence on campus are common in 1963-1964.  This predated drug use on North American campuses, but radical groups felt that they were under surveillance.
  • Northrop Frye receives an Honorary L.L.D. in 1964.
  • In October 1964 the University’s cyclotron is working after four years of effort.  When fully operational, the cyclotron accelerated sub-atomic particles – protons – to one-third of the speed of light.  The particles were then used to bombard thin metal sails and other substances to produce their radioactive isotopes.
  • On December 6, 1964 Isaac Pitblado, the University’s oldest living graduate, dies at the age of 97.  Pitblado received his B.A. in 1886, Master’s degree in 1893 and his Bachelor of Law in 1889.  Pitblado was Chairman of the Board of Governors from 1917-1924.


  • On February 1, 1965 students stage a ½ day boycott to protest a $75 fee hike for the following year.  1500 students pack the Civic Auditorium before a march on the Manitoba Legislature.
  • On March 22, Mulford Sibley, a University of Minnesota political scientist, is denied entry into Canada, thwarting a proposed lecture that was to be given at the University of Manitoba.  Sibley, a radical pacifist, was to lecture on “The Meaning of the Student Revolt at Berkeley” but was deemed a subversive and denied entry to Canada, while 200 students protested at the Winnipeg Airport.
  • In 1965 the University of Manitoba, under a Colombo Plan contract, sends advisors in engineering and agriculture to Khon Kaen University in Thailand.


  • The film And No Birds Sang, written by English professor Victor Cowie, is shot at the University of Manitoba.
  • In the fall of 1967 the first issue of Mosaic:  A Journal for the Comparative Study of Literature & Ideas  is published by the University of Manitoba.  The editors were R. P. Hoople and Ken McRobbie.
  • United College becomes the University of Winnipeg.
  • Brandon College becomes the University of Brandon.
  • Marshall McLuhan, University of Manitoba alumnus, receives a D.Litt. from the University of Manitoba.


  • In January the University of Manitoba’s TV program “A View of Our Own” premiers on CBC.  The show was aimed at students in the 15-23 bracket.  That same month the University administration examines the on-campus use of LSD and marijuana.  The Manitoban carries a story on January 9 that claims that four professors admitted to smoking pot.
  • Peter Curry becomes the University’s 7th Chancellor in 1968.
  • Seven student members are added to the University Senate.
  • Students protest recruitment by Dow Chemical on campus.
  • The Stanton Teaching Awards and the Isaac Walton Killam Awards of the Canada Council are introduced.
  • Manitoba Theatre Centre and the English Department of the University of Manitoba combine to offer theatre courses.


  • Rae Masai Hewitt, Minister of Education for the Black Panther Party, fails to show up for a lecture on July 1, 1970, leaving U.M.S.U. out $700.
  • Former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science A. Lloyd Dulmage becomes president of Brandon College.
  • The University of Manitoba’s Jan Madden equals the world record in the 300-yard track-and-field event.
  • Dr. Ernest Sirluck is appointed the University's 7th President.
  •  The Learned Societies Conference is held at the University of Manitoba in the summer of 1970.
  • The first French/English bursary program is offered to give French-Canadian students the opportunity to study English at the University of Manitoba.
  • The Faculty of Arts and Science separates to form the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science.


  • In 1971 Dr. H. E. Duckworth is named the president of the University of Winnipeg.
  • The Junior Bisons basketball team win the Canadian Championship.
  • Professor W. N. Fox-Decent of the Political Studies Department at St. John’s becomes the first Canadian to be elected President of the World University Services.
  • Following the unauthorized release of the budget to U.M.S.U. and its subsequent publication, a joint Senate/B.O.G. Committee is appointed to review current university policy on confidentiality and the release of information was struck.  The CORI committee on release of information resulted.


  • In 1973 Dr. Bruce Chown, a graduate of the University of Manitoba Medical School and renowned for his work on RH diseases in babies, receives the Order of Canada.  That same year the R.H. Institute Awards are inaugurated.
  • On February 1, 1973 the University of Manitoba Faculty Association applies to the Manitoba Labor Relations Board for certification as a union.
  • In March 1973 the Office of Industrial Research under the Vice-President (Research and Graduate Studies) comes into being.  The Employee Relations office is also opened.


  • On June 1, 1974 R. S. Bowles, former Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, is named the University’s   8th Chancellor.
  • That same year the first Manitoba Medical Service Foundation Inc. awards are granted.
  • The Department of Native Studies is established in the Faculty of Arts, with Raoul McKay appointed as its first head in 1975.
  • In 1974 a program of Women’s Studies is introduced through the Faculty of Arts.  Courses for the program are offered through the Departments of History, Psychology, Religion, Sociology and English.
  • The Program for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their dependents is launched in June 1974 with the signing of an agreement between the university with the Department of National Defense.

1877-1924      1926-1950      1976-1999