Remembering Brian McCarry


Brian McCarry, a leading McMaster professor, researcher and community champion has died. He passed away suddenly while travelling in northern Europe with his wife Twyla.

“Our community – campus and beyond – has lost a true leader,” says Patrick Deane, McMaster’s President. “Whether it was in the classroom, in his lab working to solve the most pressing environmental challenges facing our planet, or as a much-relied upon administrative leader, Brian was emblematic of the best of our University. The long-lasting beneficial impacts of his commitment to his students, to his colleagues and to his neighbours and fellow citizens, will be felt for many years to come.”

Brian McCarry arrived on the McMaster campus in 1976 after earning his undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia and his PhD at Stanford. He became a much sought after campus leader, serving as chair of Chemistry and Chemical Biology for twelve years. He was chair of the University budget committee and most recently, was acting chair of Biology. At the time of his death, he held the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Environment and Health.

“Brian exemplified the McMaster ethos through his remarkable ability to balance his teaching and service to the community with research excellence”, says McMaster provost David Wilkinson. “He built a tremendous reputation as a global expert in environmental toxins and their effects on our health. Closer to home he was a stalwart leader and a valued colleague and confidant.”

Since 2000, Brian was Chair of Clean Air Hamilton, an innovative, multi-stakeholder agent of change dedicated to improving air quality in the community. Clean Air Hamilton is committed to improving the health and quality of life of citizens through communication and promoting realistic, science-based decision-making and sustainable practices.

Among his many accolades, he was a recipient of the Canadian Environment Award, which is bestowed on Canada’s environmental leaders by the Government of Canada and Canadian Geographic magazine. He was named the 26th recipient of the Dr. Victor Cecilioni Hamilton Environmentalist of the Year Award from the City of Hamilton.

Brian leaves his wife Twyla, and three children – a daughter and two sons.

A celebration of Brian’s life will be held Friday, July 12 beginning at 4:00 pm at The Phoenix (Refectory Building on campus).

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