The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences was well represented at this year’s McGill Alumni Association (MAA) Honour & Awards Celebration, which celebrates the work of students, faculty and staff, as well as of alumni and friends, who have made a significant impact on the University and community at large. 


The Medicine Class of 1978 earned recognition for their exceptional volunteerism. As part of their most recent giving campaign, for their 45th-anniversary reunion at Homecoming Celebration Weekend last October, they surpassed their own fundraising goals by raising over $100,000 in support of upgrades to the iconic McIntyre Medical Building. 


Prior to the ceremony, which was held on May 7, 2024, at Le 9e, the recently restored Art Deco restaurant in the old Eaton’s, FMHS Focus spoke with two class representatives of Med’78. 


Where it all started 


The McIntyre Medical Sciences Building opens up a flood of memories for many alumni. 


Dr. Claus Hamann (MDCM’78) remembers the theatrical seating style of the amphitheatres. “It had such an august nature and a way of engaging the presenters. And the topics had a way of engaging us.” He remembers the grand rounds he attended there, one of them a lecture by Franz Ingelfinger, a renowned New England Journal of Medicine editor (Fun fact: Ingelfinger introduced the convention of the embargoed research paper). 


So, it was not surprising that the Class of ’78 chose to rally around an upgrade of the McIntyre, which had been hobbled by a fire in 2018 and needed a general sprucing up, especially in an era of small group learning, electrified furniture and modular active learning classrooms. 


In the School of Medicine, in particular, there is also the matter of an increased class size. This year’s incoming Med-1 class will boast 247 students, a 37% increase from 2018 when there were just 180. This calls for a larger dedicated space for Medicine classes to sit their exams all at once. And there is a need for students across the six schools of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences to have more study space available on campus. 


Every five years, the class chooses where to direct its collective giving. Class Fundraising Chair Dr. Michele Hooper (MDCM’78) remembers perusing a list of potential projects. She and Hamann canvassed opinions on different options, with the results being clear: “It was the McIntyre. Eighty percent of people said, ‘Yes, I want to do this.’” 


Hamann likes the idea of his class ushering in a new era of teaching, where desks would have USB ports where there once had been ashtrays: “This was an opportunity to create smartly equipped classrooms.” 


The Class of ’78 has been particularly good at giving back. In their 45 years since graduation, they’ve raised the extraordinary amount of $940,000 (including pledges). 


The goal for their contribution to the “McMed Remade” vision was $100,000. At last count, the figure was at $101,000. This will help efforts by the University, government and friends of the Faculty to modernize the building for the students of today and tomorrow. 


Michele Hooper speaking from a podium.
Fundraising Chair Dr. Michele Hooper (MDCM’78) has helped the Medicine Class of 1978 raise over $100,000 in support of upgrades to the McIntyre Medical Building.


The Class of 1978, group portrait.
The Class of ’78 has been particularly good at giving back, raising $940,000 (including pledges) since graduation.


A version of this article appeared in the May 27 edition of FMHS Focus.