McMaster Notable Alumni

Consistently ranked as one of the best universities in Canada, McMaster has shaped many notable alumni who have become changemakers to Canadian society and worldwide, and we’ve made a list full of McMaster’s notable alumni! With a purpose of discovery, communication and preservation of knowledge, McMaster has developed a new vision statement that articulates the institution’s commitment to making a positive impact on our world, both locally and globally:

“Impact, ambition and transformation through excellence, inclusion and community: Advancing human and societal health and well-being” reflects both the university’s current positioning statement as well as an inspiring vision for the future.

Fostering this mission, the list of McMaster notable alumni range from Nobel Prize winners, Canadian politicians, an astronaut, CEOs and presidents of major corporations, professional athletes, an olympian, along with multiple members within the entertainment field!

That’s quite a long list! Let’s take a look at some you may know!

Roberta Bondar – Astronaut

Dr. Roberta Bondar’s childhood dream was to be an astronaut and was realized when she launched from Earth in January 1992 aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery as the first neurologist in space and Canada’s first female astronaut. Representing the international scientific community, she conducted over forty advanced experiments for fourteen nations. Bondar earned her medical degree at McMaster University with a special interest in space medicine.

Martin Short and Eugene Levy – Comedians

Martin Short studied social work at McMaster University after starting first in pre-med. He intended to pursue a career in social work; however, he became interested in acting once he was cast in a Toronto production of Godspell that same year, igniting his passion for comedy and entertainment. He is now well known for his work on the television programs SCTV and Saturday Night Live, among many others!

Eugene Levy has made his name primarily playing supporting comedic roles on television and in film, with performances ranging from straight deadpan to camp hilarity. Studying Sociology at McMaster, Levy graduated in 1970, and later that year he made his film debut in the horror comedy Cannibal Girls. He is now well known for his character Johnny Rose on the popular comedy, Schitt’s Creek.

Lincoln Alexander – Former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Lincoln Alexander was a figure who was both symbol and substance of the values to which McMaster aspires. After serving as a corporal in the Canadian Forces, Alexander earned a degree in history and political economy from McMaster in 1949. He graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1953. As Canada’s first black MP, former Ontario lieutenant governor and McMaster alumnus, Alexander was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Ontario and was the recipient of many honorary degrees. Alexander also served as chancellor of the University of Guelph and as honorary chief of the Hamilton Police Service. He was inducted into McMaster’s Alumni Gallery in 1993.

Donna Strickland – Co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

Donna Strickland, a McMaster alumna who received her Bachelor of Engineering degree (B. Eng) in engineering physics in 1981, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, the first woman to do so in 55 years and one of only three in the history of the award. With enthusiasm for the field and “very, very hard” work, her invention of chirped pulse amplification for lasers led to the development of the field of high-intensity ultrashort pulses of light beams. Because the ultrabrief and ultrasharp light beams are capable of making extremely precise cuts, the technique is used in laser micromachining, laser surgery, medicine, fundamental science studies, and other applications. It has enabled doctors to perform millions of corrective laser eye surgeries!

Stephen Elop – President, Worldwide Field Operations, Adobe Systems Incorporated and CEO and President of Nokia Corporation

Stephen Elop has determined the directions of some of the most influential technology companies in the world. He is a skilled engineer, a savvy businessman and strong leader.

Stephen graduated from McMaster in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and management. While at McMaster, he was integral to the first Ethernet installation at the University. After gaining experience through companies such as Lotus Development and Boston Chicken Inc, he then worked at Macromedia Inc. for seven years, holding several senior positions including CEO. When Adobe Systems Inc. acquired Macromedia in 2005, Stephen took a role with Adobe as president of worldwide field operations. In 2008, he began working for Microsoft as the president of the Microsoft Business Division. Stephen has continued his dynamic career with a recent appointment as CEO and President of Nokia Corporation, the iconic Finnish company that makes about one-third of the mobile phones used globally.

Roger Nielson – NHL Coach (1934-2003)

Teaching, hockey, coaching and service to his community played a large part in Roger Neilson’s life. Following graduation with a degree in Physical Education in both hockey and baseball from McMaster, Roger entered the teaching profession at Toronto Bayview Junior High School. He later moved to Peterborough where he combined a teaching career and a coaching career with the Peterborough Petes, the major Junior A team in the Ontario Hockey League. Roger began his illustrious coaching career in the National Hockey League with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since then, he served in various capacities with the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks and is currently the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. In his thirteen years as a head coach, Roger led his teams to the Stanley Cup play-offs eleven times.

Andrea Horwath – Leader of the Official Opposition in Ontario and Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party

Holding holds a Bachelor of Arts in Labour Studies from McMaster University, Andrea Holworth built a profile in the city of Hamilton in 1997, and later that year she was elected to city council, after which she served two more terms. It was her win in the 2004 by-election that brought her to Queens Park and also gave the NDP official party status in the legislature. She later won elections in the newly-drawn riding for Hamilton East in 2007, and in 2009 won the leadership of the NDP. She is the first woman to lead the Ontario New Democratic Party, and one of only three women to serve as leader of a political party with representation in the Ontario provincial legislature being elected as leader at the 2009 Ontario NDP leadership convention. At the 2018 provincial election, Horwath led the Ontario NDP to official opposition status after 23 years without government or opposition status.

Russ Jackson – Canadian football legend

After a stellar college career as both a basketball and football player, Jackson graduated from McMaster University in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. He was the McMaster nominee for a Rhodes Scholarship, but did not pursue an interview for the scholarship, deciding instead to sign with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, who drafted him in the first round of the 1958 CFL Draft. From 1958–69, Russ played on the Ottawa Rough Riders team and during this period he won the Schenley Award for Most Outstanding Player three times. On two occasions he won the Jeff Russell Trophy; he was named Ontario’s Outstanding Athlete twice and Canada’s Outstanding Athlete twice. From 1975–77, he was made head coach of the Toronto Argonauts.

Karen Maidment – Chief Financial and Administrative Officer with BMO Financial Group

After graduating from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Karen Maidment took a position with Clarkson Gordon. In 1983 she became a Chartered Accountant and was made a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000. Karen worked her way up the ranks of Canadian banking, and in 2000, Karen was appointed Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer at the Bank of Montreal. By accepting this position, she became one of the highest-ranking women in Canadian banking. She now plays a major leadership role in the development of the Bank’s financial strategy, accounting and corporate financial information, financial control, taxation, treasury, and investor relations. As well, Karen assists in defining Bank of Montreal’s future direction.

Syl Apps – Hockey Hall of Famer

Hockey Hall of Famer and McMaster economics alumnus, Syl Apps was added to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Legends Row in 2015. Pursuing a degree in economics, Apps attended McMaster in the 1930s and was an outstanding student athlete. 1934, he won the gold medal in pole vaulting at the British Empire Games and placed sixth in the 1936 Olympics. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and, after a distinguished career, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Among these remarkable Canadians, this page displays the long list of every McMaster notable alumni. Click on the link to read about the many other exceptional graduates from McMaster University!

If your dream is to become one of the future McMaster notable alumni check out this blog on How to Get Into McMaster along with How To Win McMaster Major Entrance Scholarships!

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