Our History

Our history spans for more than a century. In that time, our name has changed, our student population has grown and transformed, and our scholarly focus has shifted.

Beginning as one of Canada’s first women’s institutes, we are proud to have always provided a place where ideas can grow, knowledge is turned into action, and students are furnished with a solid scholarly foundation.

Our alumni family is made up of graduates from Macdonald Institute, Wellington College, the College of Social Science, the College of Family and Consumer Studies, and the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.

1903 - 1963: Our Heritage


The Macdonald Institute was founded through the shared vision of Adelaide Hoodless – an education reformer, and Sir William Macdonald – a wealthy businessman from Montreal.

During a time when there was great concern over the declining rural population and the loss of domestic skills, the Macdonald Institute taught young women domestic sciences to help families improve nutrition, maternal and child health, and give women education and leadership opportunities.


Under the direction of Dorothy Lindsley and Margaret McCready, a four-year degree program was established with the University of Toronto as the degree granting institution. The program gave broad training in food science, textile processes, and the domestic arts.

College Heritage Video Transcript


1964 - 1997: College Evolution


The Macdonald Institute, the Ontario Agricultural College, and the Ontario Veterinary College amalgamated to become the University of Guelph. At the same time Wellington College was created to offer degree programs in arts and sciences.


Wellington College was divided into the College of Arts, the College of Physical Science, and the College of Social Science. The Macdonald Institute refocused its training to areas of nutrition, teaching, and childcare and became the College of Family and Consumer Studies (FACS).

College Evolution Video Transcript


1998 - Present: Growing Together


The College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) was formed by a merger of the College of Social Science and the College of Family and Consumer Studies.


The College has existed in its current form since 2006 – consisting of five departments, and various multi-disciplinary centres, institutes, and programs.


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