Faculty of Science's Fall Term Update on courses, labs, tutorials, exams, research and fieldwork

Messages For The Classes Of 2020 And 2024

Graduating students received congratulations from Dean Maureen MacDonald while incoming students and future scientists were welcomed and received their first four-part university homework assignment.

Congratulations Class of 2020

Here's the transcript and the video message Maureen recorded in her living room for the Class of 2020 as part of their virtual Convocation ceremonies on June 11:

"I was supposed to put on a robe and give a Convocation speech from my living room.
But instead, I have a message for COVID-19.
Get ready.
The class of 2020 is coming for you.
And this won’t be a fair fight.
I’ve met this next generation of scientists.
They’ve done amazing work in our classrooms and labs, on the job, on campus and in our community.
I also know who’s taught, mentored and inspired them.
The Class of 2020 is smart, resilient and resourceful.
Solving problems is what they do. The bigger, the better and the harder they lean in.
The Class of 2020 has spent years working hard for a moment exactly like this.
They’re ready to step up and help out in a big way.
So get ready, COVID-19. You’ve disrupted the world.
But the Class of 2020... they’re the ones who are going to transform our world through science.
And we’ll always be in their corner.
Like I said, this won’t be a fair fight.
You’re on borrowed time COVID-19.
You will be defeated.
And long after you’re gone, the Class of 2020 will still be making a difference.
Solving whatever problems come next.
And doing their part to help build a brighter world."



Maureen sent a welcome letter to the incoming Class of 2024 and assigned their first university homework assignment. She also filmed a video message and Instagram story during an early morning social distancing run through campus.

"Dear Future Scientist:

Welcome to McMaster University and our Faculty of Science!

We’re thrilled that you have chosen to earn your science degree with us and we can’t wait to have you join our virtual campus in just a few months.

COVID-19 is disrupting our lives but it is the science that transforms our world. Now more than ever, we need smart, creative, resilient and resourceful students like you to become our next generation of scientists. I’m confident that you’ll prove equal to the task at hand.

Now that you have made it official and become a McMaster student, I would like to give your first university homework assignment. It’s a four-part assignment that you will need to complete before your classes begin in September.
  1. First and foremost, please continue to take good care of your physical health and mental well-being. Stay active and connected with family and friends. If you are struggling and feeling isolated and anxious, reach out for help. Also, give yourself permission to be upset or sad. Even if you have not lost someone to COVID-19, you have still lost something that matters to you, whether that’s your high school prom and graduation, your summer job, vacation plans or how you dreamed of beginning your first semester at McMaster. Please know that those losses will be more than offset by some amazing achievements, experiences and milestones that are waiting for you at our University.
  2. Please accept your invitation to join The Archway. This is a new program created specifically for you and all first-year McMaster students. As soon as you sign up, an entire team of professionals, including a coach and mentor, will begin working with you and a group of 29 other students. They’ll stay by your side all through your first year. They’ll be there to answer your questions, give advice, help build a community amongst the students in your group, and offer personalized support to ensure a strong start to your time with us at McMaster. Invitations are going out in early June. You can also email the team at
  3. Start following the McMaster Science Society on social media. The Society is led and run by student volunteers. They organize and host academic and social events throughout the year and offer services and resources for all undergraduate students in our Faculty of Science. I met with the student leaders a few weeks ago and they have exciting plans to connect with you online and introduce you to the other 7,000 undergraduate students in our Faculty. You can find out more about the McMaster Science Society at
  4. And finally, please thank whoever ignited your passion for science and inspired you to come to McMaster. Maybe this is a family member or friend or an outstanding teacher, coach or mentor. Send an email, drop a note in the mail, make a phone call or post your thank-you on social media. Having personally thanked my grade 11 science teacher, I guarantee that you’ll make their day (and quite possibly their entire year). Success in life, just as in science, is always a team effort. Please take the time to thank the person who helped you succeed on your journey to McMaster.
So that’s your first university homework assignment. Continue to take good care of yourself, connect with The Archway and the McMaster Science Society and thank whoever believed in the brilliant potential that our professors and staff will help you unlock during our time together.

Please check your inbox in the coming weeks for emails from our Associate Dean Academic Office. You will be receiving your New Student Guide and important information on your next steps for course planning and enrollment.

Thanks again for choosing McMaster. I had the privilege of joining the Faculty of Science more than 20 years ago as a professor. The best part of my job remains watching students learn, grow and become scientists who help transform our world. I can’t wait to be inspired by all that you will achieve and contribute to your time at McMaster.

While these are uncertain times, please know with absolute certainty that all of us here at McMaster’s Faculty of Science is 100 percent committed to your success and we are thrilled to have you join us."
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