posted on Sept. 25: Multimedia program has a new home


Students in the multimedia program in the Faculty of Humanities started the academic year in new surroundings when the Anne and Neil McArthur Humanities Multimedia Wing opened on the second floor of Togo Salmon Hall. The wing was officially named and the McArthurs recognized at an event held yesterday (Monday) afternoon.

McMaster is the first university in Ontario and only the second in Canada to offer a multimedia program. The combined honours program, offered by the School of the Arts, was designed by Geoffrey Rockwell and Andrew Mactavish and began accepting students in 1999.

“Our plan was to accept 30 students each year but the response has been overwhelming,” says Mactavish. “This year we had 65 qualified applicants and accepted all of them.”

Construction of the new wing was accelerated by a $400,000 gift by local residents Anne and Neil McArthur for whom the wing is named.

“Building the new wing was crucial to increasing enrolment and the generous gift by Mr. and Mrs. McArthur not only allowed us to move forward but also to construct a bigger space,” says Mactavish.

Neil McArthur noted that humanities is a new area for him. “My background is more in engineering. What impressed me about the humanities was that that its graduates have such a high employment rate. I'm pleased our contribution will be used to further the excellence of students in the humanities,” he said.

The 4,000 square-foot wing is located above the graduate studies office in Togo Salmon Hall and is home to 45 of the most up-to-date computers and software. Students learn skills in designing and developing digital images, animation, Web design and music to name a few.

There are almost 200 students in the program in years two, three and four. Students from other faculties have also been applying to take courses in the program and in some cases there are lengthy waiting lists, particularly in digital imaging that teaches basic Web design.

Fourth-year student Mike Cope is combining his multimedia studies with anthropology and is planning to go into teaching. “I would like to teach computers at the secondary school level,” he said. “The multimedia program has been great – students share ideas and you can be very creative with the different types of software.”

Photos (l-r):The new multimedia wing; Neil and Anne McArthur (Photo by Peter Stevens/Wordsmith)