Ice Cream Education at the University of Guelph

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The Department of Dairying (now Food Science) was formed in 1885 (D. W. Stanley’s “Tracing Food Science at the University of Guelph”, March, 2006). The first OAC Dairy School, a 3-month education program for dairy plant operators, commenced on Feb. 15, 1893 (L. M. McKnight’s “Historical Review of the OAC Dairy School”, June, 1969). By 1914, there was sufficient interest in commercial ice cream manufacture to warrant the offering of a two-week short course on ice cream following the dairy school.

Previous to that, ice cream had been made principally in the home, using ice as the freezing medium. Refrigeration, of course, was the issue with ice cream manufacture and retailing, but increasing distribution of electricity was responsible for the development of industrial ice cream freezers and frozen storage. Prof. Dan McMillan was given the responsibility in 1914 by the OAC to develop an ice cream course, in addition to his duties in teaching the manufacture of butter.

In 1923, Prof. Harry Smallfield joined the faculty of the Dept. of Dairy Science and assumed responsibility for the ice cream short course. He carried on this teaching role for more than 30 years, offering his last course before retiring in 1954. He was succeeded by Prof. A.M. (Sandy) Pearson. Prof. Pearson had been on the OAC faculty since the end of World War II, teaching dairy mechanics. He welcomed the chance to become involved with the ice cream industry, and remained so for another 30 years. Prof. Pearson retired in 1984, but remained active wit the course until his last offering in 1986.

In 1987, Prof. Douglas Goff assumed responsibility for the course after joining the faculty earlier that year. He continues today as the faculty in charge of the Ice Cream  Technology Course. This course is the longest continuously running course at the University of Guelph and the only one of its kind on Canada. It has trained over 3000 people from around the globe in the science and art of ice cream making in its 100 year history.