$1M donation to create endowed Spanish history professorship

Spanish flag fluttering above a city

The Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund – named after the leaders of a battalion of Canadian soldiers in the Spanish Civil War – has donated $1 million to create an endowed professorship that supports scholarship, research and teaching in modern Spanish history.

The funding will also maintain and preserve popular existing course content in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). For many years, York has offered scholarship and instruction on the Spanish Civil War, which included exploring the role the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion played in the war. This area of scholarship was developed over more than three decades by Professor Emeritus Adrian Shubert, a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, and one of the country’s foremost experts on modern Spain. Shubert has written over a dozen books or articles about Spain and its history, and his Civil War course was immensely popular with students. Shubert retired in 2022, and the endowment is meant to ensure that the expertise and student interest he fostered will carry on.

Mackenzie Papineau Battalion 1936-1939
Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion 1936-1939

“York is delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund in support of scholarship, teaching and research at the University. We are grateful for this generous donation and for your commitment to preserving this aspect of Canada’s history,” says Susana Gajic-Bruyea, vice-president advancement.

In recognition of this gift, the professorship will be officially named the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Professorship in Modern Spanish History. The new faculty position should be in place in 12 to 18 months.

“Like all major universities, York is always interested in partnering with donors who share our values and want to come alongside and support our priorities. This gift strengthens York’s existing expertise in Modern European History and aligns with the larger strategy and the priorities of the department, the Faculty and the University,” says LA&PS Dean J.J. McMurtry.