The History of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC)

A legacy of inspiring leaders in agriculture and food.

The Ontario School of Agriculture and Experimental Farm opened its doors in May 1874, with academic oversight by the University of Toronto. To open the school the provincial agriculture ministry purchased a 550-acre farm from William Stone in the south end of Guelph. The first class was made up of twenty diploma students.

In 1880, the name was changed to the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and Experimental Farm and in 1887 Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree programs began, which were granted through the University of Toronto (U of T). In 1926, U of T began also granting graduate degrees at OAC.

OAC, the Ontario Veterinary College and the Macdonald Institute are the three founding colleges of the University of Guelph, which was established in 1964.

The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree program began in 1965 and the Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Environmental Science programs began in 1988.

In 1997, the provincial government amalgamated agriculture education across the province under U of G and OAC. OAC now offers programs and conducts research on two campuses: Guelph and Ridgetown.

In 2006, the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management began. In 2014, the College celebrated it's 140th anniversary with a special project called "140 Faces of OAC", capturing many of its current and historical figures through an online database of people profiles.

Our Alumni

Leadership, commitment to excellence, and service to the community are core values of OAC alumni. Today, our alumni play leading roles in all sectors of the agri-food industry in Canada and around the world. Their achievements widely recognized, OAC alumni have been well-represented in the University of Guelph Alumni Association's awards program, in agricultural halls of fame and in cabinet positions in the federal and provincial governments.

Johnston Hall

OAC's College on the Hill Song (2018)

(Sung to the tune of Glory, Glory, Hallelujah)

We’re out for blood and thunder friends,
We’re farmers on a spree
We’re taking four year courses
At the famous OAC
We’ve nothing to be frightened of
We’re glorious and free
Hurrah for the OAC (by heck)

Glory, Glory to the College on the Hill
Glory, Glory to the Aggies with a will.
Who plug with strong devotion
Till they’re given their degree.
Hurrah for the OAC

They fed us klim at breakfast time
At dinner time and tea
They feed us fish on Friday,
That’s been six months out to sea
And then to cap the climax friends
At dinner there’s no tea
Hurrah for the OAC


Our little song has ended friends,
We hope we’ve done no wrong.
The best that can be said
Is that it wasn’t very long.
So anytime you’re handy, folks,
Just drop around and see
The Aggies at the OAC