William McCallion

(1918–1998) Professor of Mathematics at McMaster; Hamilton Centre member and founder of the planetarium at McMaster.

WILLIAM J. MCCALLION (1918–1998) received his B.A. degree in Mathematics from McMaster University in 1943 and was immediately appointed to the staff as a Sessional Lecturer in the Naval Training Program under the aegis of both the Physics and Mathematics Departments. After the War he earned his MA and continued his academic career at McMaster—a career which included several years as Director of University Extension and Director of Educational Services. He retired in 1978 as Dean of the School of Adult Education but continued teaching as Professor of Mathematics until his final retirement in 1987. Bill McCallion joined the RASC in 1943. He frequently was the speaker at meetings of the Hamilton Centre, served on its Council for several years and was Centre President from 1950–52. He was concerned that many Centre lectures were too difficult for the audience and that this was a factor in the large turnover of members. Consequently, during his years as a national Councillor, he made a proposal which led to the formation (in 1962) of the Adult Education Committee to investigate the possibility of using films, slides and tape-recordings.

He was instrumental in getting the Spitz planetarium for Hamilton in 1949 and as director of public viewings played a major role in personally showing the beauties of the heavens to over 150 000 persons. Appropriately, McMaster named its newly equipped planetarium in his honour in 1992.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Further Reading

  • McCallion Planetarium
  • Notes and Queries- Truman Donald Norton Book Collection, JRASC (June 1952)
  • The Spitz Planetarium, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, JRASC (August 1959)
McCallion, William J.