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Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement

A $50M investment in a new generation of leaders

The Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement will be home to Canada’s only Honours Bachelor of Arts degree and minor in Leadership and Civic Studies.

Wilson College: Achievements and Priorities (2022-2026)

There have been a number of Wilson College achievements since the gift announcement in September 2022. Several high priority activities are now underway for 2023, and number of significant milestones are planned for 2024 and beyond.

 

Governance

  • Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement receives Board of Governors approval
  • Core planning committee established

Leadership Recruitment

  • Recruitment of the inaugural  Academic Director, Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement and the Endowed Wilson Chair in Leadership and Civic Studies and Selection Committees established
  • Planning underway for External Director and External Advisory Council recruitment

Academic and Curriculum Planning

  • Undergraduate Joint Honours BA Program in Leadership and Civic Studies Working Group established and Undergraduate Minor Program in Leadership and Civic Studies underway
  • Undergraduate Minor Program in Leadership and Civic Studies proposal drafted
  • Wilson Graduate Seminar planning begun

Wilson College Building Construction

  • Building architect selection process commences

Governance

  • Wilson College Internal Governing Board established
  • Development of multi-year budget and draft Memorandum of Agreement between the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences

Leadership Recruitment

  • Academic Director and Endowed Wilson Chair recruited
  • External Director and External Advisory Council recruited

Academic and Administrative Planning

  • Undergraduate interdisciplinary minor launched
  • Graduate seminar launched
  • Onboarding of initial administrative staff
  • Inaugural Wilson College lecture held
  • Visiting Fellows program launched
  • Undergraduate Joint Honours BA Program in Leadership and Civic Studies proposal developed and submitted for internal approvals and Ministry review process (IQAP)

Wilson College Building Construction

  • Building architect selected and building design completed

2024

  • Undergraduate Joint Honours BA Program in Leadership and Civic Studies receives approval from the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
  • Reception for the Endowed Chair in Leadership and Civic Engagement
  • Civic Engagement activities launched, including recurring Wilson Commentaries Annual Public Lecture Series
  • Organization and governance structure established
  • Additional administrative staff recruited
  • Building and renovation construction commenced

2025

  • First cohort of students in Undergraduate Joint Honours BA Program in Leadership and Civic Studies
  • Recruitment of additional faculty to complete the teaching complement
  • Decision on integration of Wilson Scholar Leadership Awards
  • Decision on integration of Future of Canada Project

2026

  • Building fully open
  • Inaugural Engagement Accelerator launched
  • Civic engagement activities fully launched

News and Events

McMaster pens lying on paper

Job opportunity: Academic Director, Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement Learn More

McMaster University seeks an outstanding candidate to serve as the inaugural Academic Director for the Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement.

McMaster pens lying on paper

Job opportunity: Endowed Chair in Leadership and Civic Studies Learn More

McMaster University seeks outstanding candidates for the prestigious Wilson College Endowed Chair in Leadership and Civic Studies.

Wilson Leadership Scholar Award recipients reflect on program’s lasting impact Read story

Through mentorship, guidance, problem-based learning sessions, participation in community projects and financial support, Wilson Leaders learn the foundational skills to help them become leaders in solving complex problems within Canadian communities.

In photos: A celebration of a transformational $50M investment in Canada’s future leaders Read story

As L.R. “Red” Wilson looked out on the crowd gathered in the concert hall of L.R. Wilson Hall — a building bearing his own name — he thanked his wife, children and grandchildren for being there.

L.R. "Red" Wilson: A champion of McMaster University View timeline

For more than six decades, L.R. “Red” Wilson has been a champion of McMaster University. View a timeline of his many contributions.

The Globe and Mail: Former telecom executive donates $50-million to McMaster to create a leadership centre Read story

Read more about the Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement in the Globe and Mail.

The Hamilton Spectator: Red Wilson’s $50-million gift creates leadership college at McMaster Read story

Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement, a program at McMaster dedicated to learning about leadership in all its facets, is launching thanks to a $50-million donation from philanthropist Lynton (Red) Wilson, that McMaster officials say is the largest single gift to liberal arts education ever in Canada.

Global News: $50-million gift to create ‘leadership’ college at McMaster University Read story

A former McMaster University executive, who spent 50 years in public service and private industry, is set to gift the institution $50 million for a leadership and civic engagement college.

The Niagara Independent: Port Colborne native gives largest single gift to the liberal arts in Canadian history Read story

McMaster University is launching Canada’s most comprehensive leadership college with a $50-million gift from Chancellor Emeritus Lynton “Red” Wilson and the Wilson Foundation.