The MacKinnon Dinner

Father Hugh MacKinnon was a Professor of Medieval History in the History Department here, at the University of Waterloo. He was an accomplished professor who won an Ontario-wide award for teaching excellence and served as Department Chair in the late 1970s.  Professor MacKinnon valued intellectual stimulation and good conversation. He firmly believed that proper attire and venue promoted serious study and thus, he always lectured in his Oxford University gown. Professor MacKinnon also loved great food and good drink.

Professor MacKinnon died tragically while on vacation in Mexico in December 1981. Following his death, Professor MacKinnon’s mother and his three brothers each donated substantial amounts to a fund in his memory, soon followed by other donations from friends and colleagues. The MacKinnon family requested an annual departmental commemorative event.

In light of this request, conversations between the family and some of Professor MacKinnon’s friends in the Department followed. It was agreed that the event should celebrate his enjoyment of food and drink. It was also felt that the event should honour Professor MacKinnon’s devotion to scholarship and teaching. Therefore, an enjoyable dinner was paired with an intellectual lecture by an outside speaker of noteworthy accomplishments. The topic changes from year to year and covers a different theme, time period and area of expertise. The History Society tries to choose a speaker of recent historical significance, be they a professor from another university, a noted journalist or a popular author or philosopher.

MacKinnon Dinner 2024:

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming annual MacKinnon Dinner on March 15th, 2024, at 6:00 pm. 

This year’s MacKinnon Dinner will delve into the theme “Bad History and its effects on historical narratives”. On this topic we have invited Dr. Geoffrey Hayes to deliver a talk on the theme, with Dr. Daniel Gorman providing introductory remarks.

Professor MacKinnon firmly believed that proper attire and venue promoted serious study and community, and thus, in this spirit, the MacKinnon Dinner is hosted as a formal event, starting at 6:00 pm, with a 3-course dinner to be served.

Tickets will be on sale online from Friday, February 23rd, 2024 to Friday, March 1st, 2024, at a cost of $20.00 for University of Waterloo students and $30.00 for non-students.

Tickets can be purchased here: MacKinnon Dinner 2024 – University of Waterloo (

If you have any questions regarding the event, please direct them to the University of Waterloo History Society at