Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 06, 2000

Inventor of Yukon potato to receive honorary degree

Gary Johnston, a renowned world-class potato breeder who invented the Yukon Gold potato while at the University of Guelph, will receive an honorary degree June 16 during summer convocation ceremonies.

Johnston, who is still actively involved in breeding new potato cultivars, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree at 2:30 p.m. during ceremonies for the Ontario Agricultural College on Johnston Green. A research scientist with Agriculture Canada, Gary Johnston was seconded to U of G in 1953. One of his most widely recognized contributions was the invention of the Yukon Gold potato. The variety was released 20 years ago, and many potato breeders in North America and Europe use the Yukon Gold as a standard they must meet for successful introduction of new yellow fleshed varieties.

In addition to the Yukon Gold, Johnston was involved in the introduction of a number of other registered varieties that have been used in commercial production, including the Red Gold, Rose Gold, OAC Temagami Trent and Simcoe. Nine of these are still grown by Ontario seedsmen.

Johnston, who earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from OAC, retired from U of G in 1980. He has served as director of the Potato Association of America and holds an honorary life membership with the organization.

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