AbstractSir William Christopher Macdonald, philanthropist and benefactor to education, was not a self-made man in the Horatio Alger sense. From both sides of his family he inherited a tradition of leadership, prominence, wealth, and public service. On the paternal side, there was his grandfather, John. This sturdy forebear left Scotland because of religious persecution and established a colony on Prince Edward Island, then known as the Island of St. John. He later raised, trained and led supporters of the Crown during the American Revolution. William's father, Donald, served as a member of the colony's Legislative Council for almost a decade. On the maternal side, William's grandfather fought as a colonel for the Crown in the Revolutionary wars; while other prominent citizens from this family inc1uded a Speaker of the Assembly, a member of the Executive Council and Justice of the Supreme Court of the colony, In retrospect, one notes that William was to perpetuate but modify this heritage.