Born in Hungary in 1944, and a Canadian citizen since 1956, Emőke Szathmáry is a biological anthropologist. Her academic administrative appointments include 12 years as President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manitoba (1996-2008). Earlier she was Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at McMaster University (1994-96), Dean of Social Science at Western University (1989-1994), and Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University (1985 - 1988). She had joined McMaster University in 1975 as a probationary Assistant Professor after a term appointment at Trent University. Currently she is President Emeritus, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar in the Department of Anthropology. She is retired from the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics. 

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Szathmáry’s research addressed the genetics of the Indigenous peoples of North America, specifically, the causes of type-2 diabetes, the genetic relationships within and between North American and Siberian peoples, and the microevolution of subarctic populations. Her field research involved Ottawa and Ojibwa peoples in Ontario and Tlicho peoples in the Northwest Territories, respectively. After retiring she published reviews on dietary changes in subarctic peoples, changing views on the first colonization of the Americas, and on new evidence regarding biological traits of Magyars from Eurasia who conquered the Carpathian basin in the 10th century. She has published over 90 scientific articles and reviews, and has co-edited four books. 

Dr. Szathmáry's community service has been extensive. She was editor-in-chief of the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology (1987-91), and of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1995-2001). She also served on international, national and provincial Boards of Directors in five sectors: universities, research-related agencies, the business community, foundations, and government. She has received seven honorary doctorates, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2005), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1995), and the Arctic Institute of North America (1989).


  • PhD (Physical Anthropology), University of Toronto, 1974
  • BA Honours (Anthropology), University of Toronto,1968


Research interests

  • etiology: type-2 diabetes, Indigenous N. Americans
  • origins: Indigenous peoples of the Americas
  • origins: Magyar tribes of the 10th century
  • biological relationships: Uralic-speaking peoples 

Selected publications

  • Szathmáry, E.J.E.   2023.  Cultural Lenses and Biological Filters On What Makes a Hungarian in the Present and in the Distant Past. Hungarian Cultural Studies Vo. 16 (2023).
  • Szathmáry, EJE. 2018. Exceeding Hrdlička’s aims: 100 Years of genetics in anthropology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 165:754–776.
  • Mulligan CJ, Szathmáry EJE. 2017. The peopling of the Americas and the origin of the Beringian occupation Model. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 162:403-408.
  • Szathmáry E.J.E. 2016. Pre-contact diets of indigenous Subarctic peoples of North America. In: Julia Lee-Thorpe and M. Anne Katzenberg (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Diet. London: Oxford Handbooks Online. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199694013.013.39.
  • Szathmáry E.J.E. 2017. The Changing History of the First Discovery of America. In: Endre Gy. Szőnyi, Andrea Kökény, Réka M. Cristian (eds.) Confluences. Essays Mapping the Manitoba-Szeged Partnership. Szeged, Hungary: JATEPress. 29-50.
  • Szathmáry E.J.E. 2006. Human Biology: Introduction. In: Douglas Ubelaker (ed.) Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3 Environment, Origins and Population. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. Pp. 711 - 726.
  • Ritenbaugh C., Szathmáry E.J.E., Goodby, C.S., and Feldman, C. 1996. Dietary acculturation among the Dogrib Indians of the Canadian Northwest Territories. Ecology of Food and Nutrition: 35:81-94.
  • Szathmáry E.J.E. 1994. Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus among aboriginal North Americans. Annual Review of Anthropology 23:457-482. 
  •  Szathmáry E.J.E. 1993. Genetics of aboriginal North Americans. Evolutionary Anthropology 1:202-220.
  •  Szathmáry E.J.E. 1984. Peopling of northern North America: Clues from genetic studies. Acta Anthropogenetica 8:79-110.
  • Szathmáry E.J.E. and N.S. Ossenberg. 1978. Are the biological differences between North American Indians and Eskimos truly profound? Current Anthropology 19:673-685. 


  • 2021 - Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit (Magyar Érdemrend Tisztikeresztje), Budapest, Hungary
  • 2009 - Order of Manitoba
  • 2007 - Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Administration in Manitoba 
  • 2007 - Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award, Human Biology Association 
  • 2003 - Member, Order of Canada

Honourary degrees

  • 2015 - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • 2013 - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa), University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
  • 2008 - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
  • 2008 - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) York University, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2004 - Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa) University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto        
  • 2003 - Doctor of Science (honoris causa) University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
  • 2001 - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

Professional Society awards

  • 2007 - Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award, Human Biology Association
  • 1998 - Distinguished Lecturer, American Anthropological Association (AAA highest honour)


  • 2012-2023 - Chair of the Remunerations Committee, McMaster University
  • 2011-2023 - Board of Governors, McMaster University
  • 2019-2021 - Member, R.C.M.P. Management Advisory Board
  • 2015-2021 - Honorary Colonel, Royal Winnipeg Rifles 
  • 2011-2020 - Member, Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • 2008-2017 - Member, CancerCare Manitoba Foundation Board

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