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Historical Plaque

George Raithby

George E. Raithby
1901-1981

Department of Animal Husbandry, 1922-1965

George Raithby was born on a farm near Auburn, Ontario, in 1901. He graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree in 1922 and joined the Department of Animal husbandry as lecturer, farm manager, and assistant in bull and sheep production. Raithby became professor of animal husbandry in 1930 and professor of dairy production in 1932. He was named chair of the department in 1954, a position he held until his retirement in 1965.

Raithby's special interest was dairy cattle. He was instrumental in establishing the OAC animal breeding lab, which adopted data processing techniques that lead to effective sire evaluation programs in Canada. In 1942, he put the college's dairy herd on an artificial insemination program, making it available for experimental purposes. He also established the swine breeding and leading research facilities located at the Arkell Research Station. As a teacher, Raithby made personal contact with all senior students and acted as a liaison between them and prospective employers. He was an internationally recognized cattle judge, one of the original organizers of cattle judging schools and coach of cattle judging team for 16 years.

He served and held office or directorships in numerous organizations, including the Ontario Swine Improvement Council, the Ontario Beef Cattle Performance Association, the Royal Agricultural Winter Pair and the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago. Raithby was a founding member of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association and served as president in 1964.

Many honours came his way over the years. He was named a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada in 1952, received the Ontario Institute of Agrologists Centennial Award and was named the Centennial Agriculturist in 1957, and was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1976. Perhaps the crowning achievement of Raithby's career was to be named the first Professor Emeritus of the University of Guelph in 1974, OAC's centennial year.

The building that bears Raithby's name was erected in 1882 to house the college farmer. Raithby and his family were the last to use the house as a private residence.