Constructed in 1882 as the official residence of the Bursar and now used as offices for Hospitality Services, Drew Hall is named for the University of Guelph’s first Chancellor, George Alexander Drew (1894-1973). Drew was born in Guelph and graduated from the University of Toronto. After serving with distinction in the First World War, he studied law at Osgoode Hall and was called to the bar in 1920.
Drew’s career was focused on politics; he served as mayor of the City of Guelph and went on to become the Ontario Conservative Party leader, Premier of Ontario and Minister of Education and leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. Chancellor Drew officially installed the first President of the University of Guelph, John MacLachlan, on May 21, 1965.
George Alexander Drew 1894-1973
Premier of Ontario, 1943-1948
Chancellor, University of Guelph, 1965-1971
George Drew was born in Guelph in 1894. A graduate of the University of Toronto, he served with distinction in the First World War as an officer in the Canadian Field Artillery. He was later named an honorary lieutenant-colonel of the 11th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. After recovering from a serious wound suffered in the war, he studied law at Osgoode Hall and was called to the bar in 1920.
Drew began his political career as an alderman, serving as mayor of the City of Guelph in 1925. After serving as Master of the Ontario Supreme Court, Drew became the first chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission in 1931. He returned to politics in 1938 as leader of the opposition for the Conservative Party of Ontario, eventually leading the party to victory in 1943. Drew served as Premier of Ontario and Minister of Education until 1948.
He then moved to federal politics, serving as leader of the opposition in the House of Commons in Ottawa from 1948 to 1956. He represented Canada as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1964.
On May 21, 1965, the University of Guelph conferred its own degrees for the first time with the installation of Lieutenant-Colonel the Honourable George A. Drew, P.C., Q.C., LL.D., as its first chancellor. Chancellor Drew then installed the University's first president, John Douglas MacLachlan, and presented an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Dr. John Kenneth Galbraith. Colonel Drew, as he liked to be called, retired June 30, 1971, after serving as chancellor for six years.
Drew Hall was constructed in 1882 as the official residence of the bursar.
The plaque is located on the left wall entrance to Drew Hall.