Macdonald Hall to Undergo Transformation

January 22, 2014 - News Release

Macdonald Hall – the oldest residence on the University of Guelph campus – will become a “gateway to business” under plans approved by Board of Governors on Tuesday.

The Board agreed to spend up to $10 million on renovations for offices and teaching and learning space to remake Macdonald Hall as the new home of the College of Management and Economics (CME).

CME will launch a fundraising campaign to support the project.

“We are thrilled that this historic building will become the gateway to business at Guelph,” said Julia Christensen Hughes, CME dean.

“Currently, our college is physically distributed across campus. We’re looking to bring our students, faculty and staff into close proximity, in an environment conducive to collaboration. Macdonald Hall, with its rich history and future potential, is the perfect spot.”

Macdonald Hall opened in 1903 to house women enrolled in the former Macdonald Institute, a founding college of U of G. Construction of both buildings was funded by philanthropist Sir William Macdonald.

Created in 2006, CME offers programs in accounting, leadership, economics and finance, marketing and consumer studies, real estate and housing, food and agribusiness, and hospitality and tourism management. Many of those programs have roots in the former College of Family and Consumer Studies, created in 1970 from Macdonald Institute.

“It’s these roots that have been credited in part with Guelph’s unique approach to business education, which emphasizes hands-on learning, social responsibility, and community engagement,” Christensen Hughes said.

Over the years, Macdonald Hall has maintained a strong sense of tradition and remains a landmark on campus.

Christensen Hughes and John Smithers, acting dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, have consulted with Macdonald Hall alumni about the project.

“We intend to honour the history and perennial traditions of Macdonald Hall by the restorations and new spaces in the building,” she said.

Plans include a gathering space for business students, bookable team-learning rooms, a state-of-the art classroom, expanded student support services, and a Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship allowing students to connect with local businesses on applied-learning projects or to develop plans for their own new-business ventures.

Macdonald Hall houses about 150 female students enrolled in various colleges across campus. Altering the residence into academic space is part of the University’s residence strategic plan, said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs).

That plan calls for renovating much of U of G’s student housing, including a current major expansion of Lambton Hall and development of single-student spaces in the College Avenue family residences. Plans are also underway to accommodate an all-female residence into the current system.

“Macdonald Hall, like many of our residences on campus, is older with more traditional configurations,” Whiteside said.

“Although fully functioning and equipped to service the needs of current students, our residence facilities do not provide for the increased desire for privacy that many prospective students are requesting.”

Macdonald Hall will function as a residence until this spring when renovations are slated to begin.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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