Support of OAC Students | Ontario Agricultural College

Support of OAC Students

On behalf of its many generous donors, the OAC Alumni Foundation is pleased to provide a significant annual contribution to degree, diploma and graduate student and faculty leadership development on all campuses through scholarships, awards, travel grants and lectures.  In addition, the Foundation supports special initiatives of high priority to the OAC Dean’s Office.

For more information on any of these programs, contact Morag Stewart, Director of Advancement (OAC), at 519-824-4120, Ext. 56236 or

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OAC Learning Trust

Recognized as a world leader in innovative life sciences and research, OAC produces graduates who discover and implement leading edge solutions for agriculture, food, the environment and rural communities in Canada and around the world. The Learning Trust (formerly the OAC Teaching Trust) supports students in hands-on learning experiences such as teaching labs, field study programs and international studies designed to enhance and supplement classroom knowledge.  Together the Richards Learning Trust, the T.R. Hilliard endowed fund and the Foundation's contributions to OAC's Learning Trust supports numerous student-driven projects each year. More information on the OAC Learning Trust here.

Richards Learning Trust  

The Foundation was honoured to receive a generous contribution from the estate of Dr. Rick and Mary Richards in 2011, to establish the Richards Learning Trust.  The Foundation makes an annual grant to OAC’s Learning Trust in support of various student enrichment and learning experiences.  

The T.R. Hilliard Distinguished Agricultural Extension Award

The Foundation established an annual award to recognize those making outstanding contributions to agricultural extension in Ontario.  The award was named for the late T.R. “Dick” Hilliard, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, in recognition of his contributions to agricultural extension in Ontario.  In 2013, the Foundation restructured the award into an annual contribution to the OAC Learning Trust from the endowment in Dick Hilliard’s name. 

Past Recipients

Year Name
2012 Mike Cowbrough
2011 Mary Ruth McDonald
2010 Horst G. Bohner
2009 Peter Sikkema
2008 Ray Robertson
2007 Greg Stewart
2006 Doug Wagner
2005 Anita O'Brien
2004 Harold House
2003 Rob Templeman
2002 Joan McKinlay
2001 Jack Rodenburg
2000 Brian Doidge
1999 Albert Tenuta
1998 Stan Young
1997 Peter Johnson
1996 Jack Hagarty
1995 Franklin Kaines
1994 Gordon Surgeoner
1993 Rudy Brown
1992 Pat Lynch
1991 Jack Alex
1990 Dick Heard
1989 H. E. (Hank) Bellman
1988 Ross Dailey
1987 Dianne Harkin
1986 Harvey C. Wright
1985 C. B. (Chuck) Kelly
1984 Herbert Norry
1983 George E. Jones

Deans' Scholarships

N.R. Richards Scholarship

A scholarship of $4000 is offered by the OAC Alumni Foundation in recognition of Professor N.R. Richards’ contribution to the OAC as Dean from 1962 to 1972.  This scholarship is available to students who are graduating from OAC and who undertake graduate study at the University of Guelph in the area of Land Resource Use and/or Rural Planning and Development. This scholarship has been generously supported by the Class of OAC '70.

Clay & Dorothy Switzer Leadership Scholarships

In recognition of Dr. Switzer’s contribution as Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College from 1972-1983, the OAC Alumni Foundation provides two scholarships of $2500 each to students in the degree and diploma programs of the College who have demonstrated outstanding leadership ability in OAC student organizations.  This scholarship has been generously supported by the Class of OAC '70.  

F.L. McEwen Scholarship

In recognition of his contribution as Dean of OAC (1983-1990), the OAC Alumni Foundation provides the F.L. McEwen Scholarship in sustainable agriculture valued at $4000 to the OAC graduate who is planning to enter a graduate program in a department or school of the OAC. 

R.J. McLaughlin Awards

These awards were presented in 2003 for the first time to participants in the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) in recognition of Dr. McLaughlin’s leadership and contributions to the program.  Funds up to $4000 per year are provided to assist eligible participants with tuition and/or travel costs. 

RJ Gordon Graduate Student Award

To honour Rob Gordon’s achievements as Dean of OAC, 2008-2015, the OAC Alumni Foundation has created the RJ Gordon Graduate Student Award. The Foundation is currently fundraising for this award with an overall endowment goal of $150,000, which will provide a $5,000 annual award to be given to an OAC graduate student who has completed their undergraduate or master’s program at the OAC. More information on fundraising for the RJ Gordon Graduate Student Award is available here.

Other Scholarships & Awards

Associate Diploma in Agriculture (ADA) 125th Anniversary Scholarships (I0626)

The OAC Alumni Foundation and the alumni and friends of the diploma program sponsor four (4) scholarships of $2,000 each in recognition of the 125th anniversary of the two year Associate Diploma programs. Apply by letter (no more than two pages) to the appropriate regional campus awards office by May 15 outlining involvement in student organizations, 4H, Junior Farmers, and rural community activities with an emphasis on leadership qualities and include plans for future career.

Students enrolled in any Associate Diploma program at Guelph or Ridgetown who have completed semester two with a minimum cumulative average of 70% and who have demonstrated leadership ability in student organizations, 4-H, Junior Farmers or other rural community activities are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to students planning a career in farming or any aspect of the agri-food, turf or horticulture industries.

Beth Duncan Memorial Gold Medal

This medal was first presented in 1972 and is provided by Beth Duncan’s classmates from OAC ’54.  It is awarded at convocation to a graduating student with demonstrated academic achievement and extracurricular participation in campus programs.   

Emiel Griesbach Year OAC ’30 Scholarship

In memory of their classmate, Emiel C. Griesbach, Year OAC ’30, through the OAC Alumni Foundation, provides an annual scholarship of $1,000 for a student in the Department of Food Science who is entering the graduate program.    

Norman E. McCollum Turfgrass Diploma Entrance Scholarship [E0606]

Donor(s): Norman McCollum, the Ontario Golf Course Superintendents Association and the OAC Alumni Foundation

Norman McCollum (Diploma Agriculture OAC 1966) a long-term employee of the University of Guelph, involved with the diploma course and the Turfgrass Institute, and Past President of the Alumni Association, along with the Ontario Golf Course Superintendents’ Association has established this $2,500 scholarship in honour of his retirement. Students entering the Associate Diploma in Turfgrass Management are eligible. Selection will be based on best overall experience, interest and career aspirations in turfgrass management and the recommendation letter from an employer applicable to the industry. Apply by letter (no more than two pages) to Student Financial Services (via email at by April 15 outlining previous work experience along with a copy of the Supplementary Information Form and a letter of recommendation from an employer applicable to the industry.

Norman E. McCollum Dairy Scholarship

A scholarship for $2,000 was created and awarded for the first time in 2012 by Norman McCollum in recognition of his valued friendship with Glenholme Jersey Farm.  Selection is based on academic achievement, and aspirations to pursue a career in dairy farming or the dairy industry.

Bruce W. Minshall Memorial Scholarship

A scholarship of $2,000 is provided by the late Dr. Harold Minshall, OAC ’33, in memory of his son Bruce, OAC ’70.  It is awarded to a third year OAC student in agricultural science, environmental science or science who is interested in plant protection and who has made the greatest improvement in academic standing since entering the program.        

W. Harold Minshall Scholarship

This award of $1,000 is provided by the late Dr. Harold Minshall, OAC ’33, to a third year OAC student in agricultural science, environmental science, or science with the highest proficiency in plant protection and participation in extra-curricular activities.

OAC ’49 BBRM – Environmental Management Entrance Scholarship

The class of OAC ’49 sponsors two entrance scholarships of $2,500 to students at Ridgetown campus entering the BBRM-Environmental Management program based on academic achievement, career aspirations, extracurricular and community involvement in agri-food related activities.

OAC ’49 BBRM – Equine Entrance Scholarship

The class of OAC ’49 sponsors two entrance scholarships of $2,500 to support the BBRM-Equine Management Program at Kemptville campus.  Applicants are selected based on the quality of their experience and/or leadership in volunteerism within the equine industry and the community including career aspirations and extracurricular activities.

OAC ’54 International Study Abroad Scholarship

Two (2) travel scholarships of $3,000 have been established by the class of OAC ’54 in memory of Beth Duncan.  The recipients must be currently enrolled in OAC with a minimum of 75 percent cumulative average and be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who intend to participate in an exchange program, semester abroad or field trip course.

OAC '67A Memorial Scholarship [I0921]

Donor(s): OAC Alumni Foundation on behalf of the Class of OAC '67A

The OAC Alumni Foundation on behalf of the Class of OAC 67A, the first graduating diploma class of the University of Guelph, provides two bursaries in the amount of $1,500 to entering students registered in their first semester of the Associate Diploma in Agriculture program with demonstrated financial need and who can demonstrate leadership and involvement in the field of agriculture through extracurricular activities, part-time work. Apply by September 30 to the awards office at Ridgetown Campus by submitting a completed Financial Need Assessment Form - Ridgetown Campus and a letter (no more than two pages) outlining your extra-curricular involvement in the agriculture field. Selection will be based on greatest financial need.

Fred W. Presant Scholarship

A scholarship of $1,000 is provided by the late Fred Presant, who was a graduate of OAC in 1921 and 1923, and a leader in the field of human and animal nutrition. Graduate students in Plant Agriculture or Environmental Biology who are conducting research on the study of pesticides and their use in the production of food crops are eligible. 


OAC ’59 Experiential Learning Travel Grants [T0702]

Donor(s): OAC Alumni Foundation on behalf of OAC’59

The Class of OAC ’59, in recognition of their 50th anniversary since graduation, has established this award to assist students participating in meetings, conferences, seminars, tradeshows, course field trips, semesters abroad, etc. Selection will be based on relevance of intended travel and benefits to program of study. Apply by June 30th to the OAC Awards Office via with a one page letter outlining planned travel; reasons for travel; dates of travel; estimated costs including a breakdown and total; and expected benefits of travel to the student’s program of study. In addition, provide a reference letter from a faculty member providing criteria for relevance of intended travel and benefits to program of study.

Students registered in any OAC program who are approved for travel for conferences, seminars, tradeshows, course field trips, semesters abroad, etc. within 6 months before or after the application deadline.

Bruce E. Christie Travel Grant for Agricultural Communications

This award was established by friends and colleagues of Bruce Christie, P.Ag.(Hon), OAC ‘58A in honour of his retirement.  It was restructured in 2012 to provide up to $2,000 in annual funding to the team of students in the University’s student chapter of CAMA (Canadian Agri-Marketing Association) to support national or international professional development programs, including the annual CAMA meeting.  The award recognizes Bruce’s unwavering dedication to excellence in communications between the agri-food industry and its various constituents.  The first grants were presented in November 2012.

George Raithby Memorial Travel Grant

In 2012, the terms for the George Raithby Memorial Lecture were restructured into a travel grant to provide up to $5,000 annually through the Department of Animal and Poultry Science for students in OAC’s animal-related programs who are participating in national or international professional development opportunities including, but not limited to, team competitions or semester abroad study.   This award recognizes the significant contributions of Professor Raithby (OAC ’22) to the college.  The first presentation will be in the fall of 2013.

W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant

Family, friends and colleagues of the late Dr. Stan Young (BSA ’49) established an endowment fund as a tribute to Stan’s accomplishments in the area of agricultural communications and to further his vision for a more proactive and focused education for people interested in promoting agriculture and food-related issues. The Foundation restructured the award in 2012 to provide an annual grant of $1300 for a student intern working with the OAC Communications Office. The intern will focus on creating communication pieces (various media) appropriate for distribution within OAC, the University and industry channels. The funding may also support professional development opportunities. The program began in 2013.