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James McGill
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Philanthropist
    (October 6, 1744-December 19, 1813)
    Born in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Fur trader and land speculator in Canada
    In his will left £10,000 and 46 acres of land to found McGill University in Montreal
    Although he attended the University of Glasgow, he left without a degree.
    He owned slaves.
    Apparently taking no chances on the people of Montreal showing the proper degree of gratitude, he made naming the university after himself a condition of the bequest.
    As a fur trapper, he spent nine years living off the land and travelling in unmapped wilderness.
    As a colonel in the Canadian militia, he played a leading role in the defense of Montreal during the War of 1812.
    He provided generously for two stepsons and the orphaned daughter of a friend.
    While serving in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, he helped establish the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Learning to establish a formal education system in the country.

Credit: C. Fishel


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