Event to Celebrate Restored Mac Institute

June 17, 2009 - News Release

The University of Guelph will celebrate the completion of the Macdonald Institute restoration with a special event during Alumni Weekend. The Saturday morning ceremony will commemorate the renewal of one of the oldest buildings on campus and recognize key donors.

It runs from 8:30 to 10: 30 a.m. on the front lawn of the Macdonald Institute and will include a short program, building tours and the unveiling of an updated donor board. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members are invited to attend.

“It’s been a privilege to lead this transformative process,” said Alun Joseph, dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.

Macdonald Institute was founded in 1903 by Adelaide Hoodless and Sir William Macdonald to educate women and improve social and economic conditions in rural Canada.

By the mid-1950s, the institute was the premier home economics school in North America. It became one of the three founding colleges of the University of Guelph in 1964. As part of a modern research university, it transformed itself into the College of Family and Consumer Studies in 1970. In 1998, the college amalgamated with the College of Social Science to create the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.

More than $6.5 million has been dedicated to restoration initiatives since renewal efforts began in 2002. This support was leveraged by the initial leadership and contributions of private donors, including about 1,100 graduates donating more than $750,000 to the project.

“In addition to the obvious impact on the fabric of the building, efforts associated with the Macdonald Institute restoration have contributed to building new and deeper relationships with college alumni,” Joseph said.

Key restoration projects include the Frances A. Stretton Classroom, named after the project’s top individual donor, the ceremonial staircase and stained-glass windows, the refurbishment of the portico and the creation of the Heritage Room, which is designed to showcase how the space might have looked in 1903.

Historically significant paintings were also restored, and there was the surprise discovery of a stained-glass skylight that was hidden by drop ceilings for decades. The building’s flooring, wainscoting, electrical features, parapets and roofing were also updated.

The restoration will have a positive impact on U of G students, said Jessie-Ann Baines, president of the CSAHS Student Alliance. “It will provide students with the opportunity to appreciate the heritage of the University in one of its most historical buildings while utilizing modern and upgraded facilities.”

For media questions, contact U of G Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338 lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982 bagunn@uoguelph.ca.

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