Born in Toronto, Ontario, George graduated from the University of Toronto Schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962, a Master of Arts degree in 1963, and a Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of Toronto. He joined McMaster University as a lecturer in 1965. In 1967, he became an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor in 1971, and a Professor of Economics in 1980. From 1974 to 1979, he was Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and from 1980 to 1989 was Dean of Social Sciences. He was appointed president of McMaster on July 1, 1995 and is currently serving his third five-year term. He is also a Freemason .
From 1991 to 1995, he served a term as president of the Council of Ontario Universities.
In 1999, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Dr. George is also a trustee of the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, as well as the chair of the Hamilton chapter of the United Way. (see: http://www.mcmaster.ca/pres/qualify.html)
In October 2007 Peter George was named honorary Lt.Col. of 705 (Hamilton) Communication Squadron, a reserve signals unit in the Canadian Forces.
According to Maclean's Magazine, Peter George received over $500,000 in salary and taxable benefits in 2007 (see: http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2008/03/31/mcmaster-goes-to-court-to-block-freedom-of-information-ruling/). The executive of the McMaster University Faculty Association (MUFA) passed a resolution in late June 2008 that raised questions about the appropriateness of some of the specifics of President George's post-retirement payments in the form of research leaves and expressed concerns about the secrecy that seems to have characterized the process involved in his controversial contract (see http://www.mcmaster.ca/mufa/PresidentContract.pdf).