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11 Celebrities Who Graduated From Montreal’s McGill University

The cream of McGill's crop.
11 Celebrities Who Graduated From Montreal’s McGill University

Sometimes it can get a little hard to stay motivated while studying at McGill. It's just that, when you're plagued with tons of readings in a city as exciting as Montreal, doing homework and staying on task somehow doesn't work out.

Okay, maybe that "somehow" is really just an unhealthy combo of procrastination and self-destructive tendencies (something ever McGill student has) but all you really need is a solid source of motivation.

The lives and accomplishments of the following McGill grads are perfect for the job. Nothing can give you a kick in the pants like reading about the successes other students have achieved, because if they were once McGill students, then all hope isn't lost for you.

Justin Trudeau

Canada's most popular man/the current Prime Minister of Canada was also once a McGillian, graduating from the university in 1994 with a BA in English Literature. During his time at McGill, Trudeau was an active member of the McGill Debating Union, which definitely helped prepare him for his career in politics. And if Trudeau didn't take on the endeavor to take public office he might have held two degrees from McGill, as he stopped a master's degree in Environmental Geography at the university short to focus on his campaign.

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau

Justin isn't the only person currently residing in 24 Sussex to have attended McGill, although Sophie Gregoire wasn't destined to complete her degree at the university. During her time at McGill, Gregoire studied commerce, later switching to a program in communications at the Université de Montréal. No doubt the decision put Gregoire on the path to becoming the successful journalist she is today.

William Shatner

Practically every McGill student knows William Shatner was once a student at the university, mainly because his surname is the unofficial nickname for the SSMU building. Contrary to what you might think, Shatner was actually a business student while at McGill and not in a theatre program, graduating with a BCom in 1952. It was until after his time at McGill did Shatner pursue his professional acting career, with notable roles including the original Captain James T. Kirk.

Leonard Cohen

Age has nothing on this McGill grad, because as Leonard Cohen gets older, he only gets better. The noted writer, poet, and musician continues to be a creative powerhouse, as his latest album Popular Problems proves. A living Montreal legend, Cohen graduated with a BA in 1955, and it was during his time at the university that Cohen worked on his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies.


Growing from an indy Montreal artist to an internationally acclaimed musician, Grimes's rise to fame began at McGill University where she was a neuroscience student. But as Grimes grew more popular, her studies suffered, missing most of her classes and really only going to exams. McGill (being McGill) didn't take too kindly to that, and actually expelled Grimes, not that it really mattered all that much in the end. Because even without a neuroscience degree, Grimes is doing just fine.

Sugar Sammy

Before the dawn of the internet, event promoters had it a little harder, having to actually go around handing out flyers and talking to people in person. Samir Khullar, a cultural studies student at McGill, didn't have too much of a problem getting the word out on his parties, though, as he managed to pack events with McGillians. Eventually, Khullar would get the nickname "Sugar Sammy" for always letting ladies into his parties for free, and the name stuck.

Sugar Sammy wouldn't go on to finish his degree at McGill, but some of the parties he threw also featured some of his earliest comedy sets. So in some ways, McGill is where Sugar Sammy got his comedic start.

Win Butler

I've always been a huge fan of Win Butler, largely because of his music, but also for the fact that we shared a major at McGill, namely Religious Studies. Butler graduated from McGill in 2004 with his BA, and while he didn't do anything particularly related to the field of Religious Studies, his work with Arcade Fire has definitely made the whole faculty seem a lot cooler.

Evan Goldberg

You may not know Evan Goldberg's name or face, but you definitely know his work. Together with his writing partner Seth Rogen (you definitely know him), Goldberg is the brain behind such comedic powerhouse films like Superbad, This is the End, Pineapple Express, and many more.

Sam Roberts

One of Montreal's musical darlings, Sam Roberts received his BA from McGill back in '98. It wasn't long after until he found major success with his band's debut album The Inhuman Condition, which is still heralded as one of the bestselling indy releases in Canadian music history. Roberts is also an alumnus of a few other notable Montreal academic institutions, including Loyola High School and John Abbot College.

Julie Payette

The second Canadian women to ever fly into space, Julie Payette was also the Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency for seven full years. Payette's other accolades are numerous, including being the first woman to ever board the International Space Station, logging in a full 25 days in space, and acting as the Chief operating officer at the Montreal Science Centre. Oh, and she got a BEng from McGill in 1986, which is why she's on this list, other than the fact that she's awesome.

Sir John Abbott

Even though I tried to keep this list full of more recent/relevant McGill graduates, Sir John Abbot gets a spot on this list for his lasting legacy in Canada, and Montreal. Acting as the mayor of the city from 1887-88, Abbot then went on to become the third Prime Minister of Canada from 1891-92. Together with Trudeau and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Abbot is one of the three McGill graduates to ever be elected Prime Minister.

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