June 29, 2004

Canada Day celebrated at McMaster University

Leading Canadian historian Viv Nelles appointed the L. R. Wilson Professor in Canadian History

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Leading Canadian historian Viv Nelles has been appointed the L. R. Wilson Professor in Canadian History at McMaster University.

Hamilton, ON - McMaster University is celebrating Canada Day with the creation of a Canadian history professorship at the University naming a leading Canadian historian and author to the post.

H. V. (Viv) Vivian Nelles will join McMaster University as the L.R. Wilson Professor in Canadian History this Canada Day.

Dr. Nelles, who has authored several books and has a new one out this summer. The 268-page book titled, A Little History of Canada, is addressed to several audiences, according to his introduction. "The first are Canadians in search of a brief introduction to the history of their country.

"The second are the many hundreds of thousands of travelers visiting Canada either on business or on vacation each year who want a concise overview of the history of the people they are about to encounter, and have only a six- to eight-hour flight in which to learn what they need to know.

"The third are those who come to this country from elsewhere and decide to stay."

Nelles has been York University’s Distinguished Research Professor of History. At Harvard University he was the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor. Nelles was Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Tsukuba University, Keio University in Japan. He has also held positions at the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto.

“The L. R. Wilson Professor in Canadian History will have a mandate to work with an interdisciplinary advisory board to develop history seminars, annual conferences, lectureships and an annual juried book competition to name the best book on Canadian history,” announced Peter George, President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University.

Canadian business executive Lynton Ronald (Red) Wilson donated $1 million to establish the L. R. Wilson Professor in Canadian History in McMaster’s Faculty of Humanities. The University contributed additional funds.

Wilson, a renowned McMaster alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in economics, is a founding co-chairman of the Historica Foundation of Canada. The foundation’s mandate is to provide Canadians with a deeper understanding of their history and its importance in shaping the future. Wilson, who also holds a Master of Arts degree in economics from Cornell University, is hailed as a keen supporter of the study of Canadian history and believer in the value of a broad liberal arts education.

“Dr. Nelles is a renowned historian who brings more of depth to an already strong History Department,” said Nasrin Rahimieh, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. “He will have a tremendous impact on research into Canadian historical studies and teaching undergraduate and graduate students.

“The professorship reinforces the Faculty of Humanities’ commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinary teaching and learning."

Canadian history plays an important role in the teaching and research interests of faculty members inside and outside McMaster’s Department of History. Professors interested in the history of Canada can be found in the areas of English, kinesiology, political science, economics, psychiatry, medicine, geography, labour studies, engineering, anthropology, French, communication studies and theatre and film studies.

McMaster University, one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster’s culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 20,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries around the world.