OAC Beefs Up
May 5, 2004
Contemporary look, language aimed at today's students
When Ontario Agricultural College dean Craig Pearson unveiled a new OAC marketing plan for guests at the college's annual volunteer recognition evening April 19, he had two audiences in mind.
One was the crowd of mostly familiar faces, including OAC supporters, faculty, staff and students, attending this year's banquet, called “Celebrating Our Past, Looking to Our Future.”
The other was the yet-unidentified faces of prospective OAC students, an audience the dean hopes to attract to Guelph through a beefed-up marketing push for the 130-year-old college.
Pearson explained that the college has developed a new logo and tagline that will help convey the full range of OAC's research and teaching programs offered at Guelph and at OAC's three regional campuses at Alfred, Ridgetown and Kemptville.
The new logo consists of the letters “OAC” connected by a flowing red line. The new tagline is “food, life, leadership” (or, in its French-language counterpart, “l'alimentation, la vie, le savoir”). In accordance with U of G graphic standards, both will appear on all the college's promotional materials, correspondence and other publications. (The old “official shields” of OAC and the regional campuses won't disappear, but their use will be limited.)
“Though the look has changed, our traditions of achievement and leadership remain as we launch new health and life science initiatives that will provide effective solutions to emerging needs,” Pearson told the gathering.
Interviewed later, he said the new identity emphasizes for today's younger and largely urban audience that the college's mandate extends beyond its traditional agricultural roots to cover food, the environment and rural communities.
“The University of Guelph is already strongly positioned in food and the environment,” he said. Noting that he hopes to draw more top students to U of G in these areas, he added: “We're not broadening the mandate but making the language more contemporary to attract students. Agriculture alone doesn't resonate with high school kids.”
He said the OAC dean's advisory council and the college's communications committee worked with Deuce Design of Kitchener for four months to examine OAC's image, including its name and identifiers.
The college will undertake a market analysis in preparation for planned changes to its B.Sc.(Agr.) program later this year. It also plans to contact high schools in southern Ontario to learn more about students' perceptions of OAC and to provide more information about its programs.
At the banquet, Prof. Mary Buhr, associate dean (academic), and Terry Daynard, associate dean (research and innovation), presented appreciation certificates and agri-food and rural volunteer recognition awards.
This year's Outstanding Service Award went to 1959 OAC graduate Brian Ellsworth for his contributions to the Ontario and Canadian agri-food industries. He has served as Canada's representative on the International Egg Commission and as a member of the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association, the Poultry Industry Council, the Ontario Institute of Agrologists and the Canadian Association of Nuffield Scholars.
Ellsworth helped establish an industrial research chair in egg material science at U of G and has facilitated collaboration between the Canadian egg and poultry industry and the University's poultry and egg science groups. He has served on the advisory committee for the OAC Internship for Young Leaders Program and as a director of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.
This year's event included the induction of 1951 OAC graduate Don Rutherford into the Order of OAC. Established in 1999 by the OAC Alumni Foundation, the order commemorates the 125th anniversary of the college and recognizes significant financial contributions through endowed donations towards the teaching and study of agriculture, food and the environment, and community and rural development.
In 1998, Rutherford gave $256,000 towards the $1-million restoration of the historical conservatory greenhouse on campus and establishment of the adjoining gardens, now called the Rutherford Conservatory and Gardens. A long-standing member of the OAC Alumni Foundation, he has provided leadership to the college and has undertaken community initiatives, including fundraising for the Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay.