History | Ontario Agricultural College


The Need for a Foundation

The OAC Alumni Foundation, a registered charitable foundation, was chartered by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on the 26th day of February, 1960. The founding directors of the foundation were prominent OAC graduates and alumni leaders: Jack Errington Moles, Frank Earl Wolfe, Charles Earl Mighton, Lawrence Kerr, Wilbert Moffat Cockburn, Frederick William Presant, and Donald Ralph Campbell who joined the group in his capacity as the head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. Mr. W. H. J. Tisdale joined the Board of Directors in 1961 and became the first Chair of the Board. John Eccles was initially appointed Secretary and Harold Fry was appointed Treasurer.

Prior to 1964 the Ontario Agricultural College was administered directly by the Ontario Department of Agriculture. The OAC Alumni Association wanted to establish an endowment to fund entrance scholarships that would allow OAC to compete with professional programs at other universities in attracting quality students. Knowing that donors would be reluctant to donate directly to the government they created a foundation at arm’s length from the College. This foundation would enable OAC alumni to raise scholarship funds, provide tax receipts to donors, and attract the “brightest and the best” applicants to OAC.

The original objectives of the Foundation, as outlined in the charter, were a) to receive and maintain funds to support agricultural education within the Province of Ontario; b) to serve the purposes of agricultural education by means of scholarships, bursaries, student loans, special grants for educational purposes and other like methods; and c) to support agricultural education in Ontario by such means as may be available including research, publication, education and the establishment and maintenance of educational activities, agencies or institutions and the aid of such activities, agencies or institutions already established

These objectives are as relevant today as they were in 1960. While clearly identifying the purpose of the Foundation, they are broad enough to allow the Foundation to adapt to the changing needs of OAC students and faculty. From the beginning the OAC Dean has been an ex-officio Director of the Foundation. The Foundation has always sought the Dean’s input on awards and scholarships and, more broadly, engaged in activities that parallel the current operating mandate of the College. The Foundation now embraces the four major thrusts of the OAC, namely agriculture, environment, food, and rural communities, and supports OAC students at all four University of Guelph campuses, Alfred, Kemptville, Ridgetown, and Guelph.

For more information, download the OAC Alumni Foundation: A brief history PDF

Past Chairs of the Foundation

The Foundation has been well served by dedicated alumni leaders serving as Chair.

1961 to 1965  - W. H. J. Tisdale, '11A, '13
1966 to 1970 - Paul Couse, '46
1970 to 1972 - Dave Adams, '49
1972 to 1986 - Gordon Nixon, '37
1986 to 1989 - Peter Lindley, '57
1989 to 1994 - Tom Sawyer, '59A, '64
1994 to 1997 - Pat Mighton, '64, M.Sc. '93
1997 to 1999 - Pat Seyfried, '57, M.Sc. '59
1999 to 2002 - Ginty Jocius, '70
2002 to 2005 - Mary Lynn McPherson, '80
2005 to 2008 - Bill Bearss, '71
2008 to 2010 - Bruce Christie, '58A
2011 to 2012 - Linda Hruska BSc (Agr) '85, MAgr '88
2013 to Present - Mark Ostrowski, '79

Gordon Nixon was by far the longest serving Chair of the Foundation. Following his time as Chair he was appointed Honorary Chairman, a position he held until his death in 2008. Gordon also served in many other capacities with UGAA and is widely recognized for his unfailing support and dedication to the OAC and to the University of Guelph.