Club History
When McMaster University made its way from Toronto and relocated to Hamilton in 1930, there were a few buildings on campus to house the business of academia. By today’s standards, the campus was sparse and there was a lot of room to grow.

By the 1950s it was clear that more facilities were needed. The Memorial Campaign was undertaken by the McMaster Alumni Association to raise funds for the construction of the new student centre. Alumni responded generously, and Alumni Memorial Hall was built in 1951 using the $100,000 raised. Alumni Memorial Hall matched the collegiate gothic style of the original 5 buildings on campus and opened on the same day as Mills Library.Alumni Memorial Hall was named in honour of McMaster students and alumni who had given their lives in the two world wars. There are two plaques inside to remember those men, one for each war. Outside of the building is another plaque honouring alumni who died in Afghanistan, and a bench recognizing McMaster’s 1946 Special Session Veteran’s Entrance Class. You can read more about the McMaster soldiers lost in WWII on the virtual Honour Roll undertaken by Professor Emeritus of History, Charles M. Johnston, Class of 1949.

The building originally housed a cafeteria, lounges for men and women, and a common room in addition to the offices for the McMaster Alumni Association. Students of the time referred to the building as the Buttery, and it was a favourite place to go to play bridge or relax.

On May 9th, 1967, Robert Welch (who had graduated from McMaster in 1949) in his capacity as Provincial Secretary and Ontario Minister of Citizenship, granted Articles of Incorporation (at that time a Charter was issued by Letters Patent) to ten members of the McMaster community to create a corporation under the name of the “Faculty Club of McMaster University”. The Club legally changed its name to “The University Club of McMaster” in the year 2000.

The original Letters Patent are just four pages long. The first page is taken up with legal recitals; the second page names the “applicants”. On the third page, it states the purpose of the Club: “…[to advance] the interests of McMaster University, to establish, maintain and conduct a club for the accommodation, recreation and convenience of the members…and to promote the interchange of ideas and information amongst the members of the Corporation and others…”. The last one and a half pages states at length that the Club is not to be used as a “common gaming house”, and woe betide the Club should it provide “any means or contrivance for playing any game of chance, gaming or betting…”

The applicants for the Charter were:

  • P.L. Newbigging, Professor of Psychology
  • J.W. Hodgins, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Engineering (for whom the Engineering Building is named)
  • C.C. Potter, Professor of Commerce
  • G.S. Vichert, Asst. Professor of English
  • J.E. Thomas, Assoc. Professor of Philosophy
  • A.J. Jamieson, Assistant Librarian
  • M.L. Israel, Religious Education
  • D.J. Kenworthy, Assoc. Professor of Mathematics
  • R.H. Tomlinson, Professor of Chemistry
  • S.F. Semeniuk, Systems Analyst

In the Great Hall is a photograph of the “founding directors”, taken in 1992, on the occasion of the Club’s 25th anniversary. In the picture are:

  • J.D. Brasch, (English)
  • R.H. Tomlinson, Chemistry)
  • D.E.N. Jensen (Biology)
  • P.L. Newbigging (Psychology)
  • I.D. Brown (Physics and Astronomy)
  • D.W. Carment (Psychology)

The University Club has benefited greatly from the wisdom and guidance of these and many others who have played an active role in establishing, maintaining and advancing the Club for the benefit of its Members.

The University Club would like to thank the Canadian Baptist Archives of McMaster Divinity College for providing all historical pictures of Alumni Memorial Hall that are included within the pages of the University Club's website.


Click on photos for larger veiw 


Womens Lounge

Student Centre