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U of G Macdonald Hall

Guelph Public Library Archives

This postcard, believed to be from the 1920s, shows Macdonald Institute, on the left, and Macdonald Hall, on the right, in an idyllic, tree-filled landscape on what is now the University of Guelph campus. Both buildings were donated by tobacco magnate and educational philanthropist Sir William Macdonald. The institute, one of the university’s founding institutions, provided instruction for women in nature study, manual training, domestic science and domestic art. Built in 1904, Macdonald Hall was the women’s residence – a function it still serves today. But that is soon to change. The building, the university’s oldest residence, is slated to undergo a $10-million renovation to convert it from a residence to the new home of the College of Management and Economics.

Macdonald Hall gets $10-million transformation

The University of Guelph’s oldest student residence – Macdonald Hall – is slated to get a $10-million makeover to convert it from student housing to academic space for the College of Management and Economics.
“We are thrilled that this historic building will become the gateway to business at Guelph,” college dean Julia Christensen Hughes said in a news release.
The red-brick building, which currently serves as an all-female residence and houses 150 students, is to be renovated into offices and teaching and learning space for business students.
“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,” said Christensen Hughes. “Macdonald Hall with its rich history and future potential is the perfect spot.”
The building first opened in 1903 to house women enrolled in the former Macdonald Institute, one of the founding institutions of the U of G. Like the Macdonald Institute building, Macdonald Hall was funded by Montreal tobacco manufacturer and philanthropist Sir William Macdonald.
The college that will make its future home there was created in 2006. It offers courses in accounting, leadership, economics, marketing and consumer studies, real estate, food and agribusiness, and hospitality and tourism. Many of these programs have roots in the former College of Family and Consumer Studies, created in 1970 from Macdonald Institute, the release said.
Macdonald Hall has maintained a strong sense of tradition and remains a landmark on campus. “We intend to honour the history and perennial traditions of Macdonald Hall by the restorations and new spaces in the building,” Christensen Hughes 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” that will allow students to connect with local businesses on applied learning projects or to plan their own new businesses, the release said.

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