Alumni News

Head shot of Deron.

One giant leap for plant scientists

Imagine being the first person on the moon. Imagine the adrenaline, the excitement, the sensory overload. You and your colleagues have put years, decades of dedicated hard work into your joint efforts – all knowing that your footsteps would be the first of many to come. 

It may seem like a daydream to most, but for Deron Caplan it’s a reality… so to speak. 

Head shot of Peter.

International ice cream man

Peter Hopps knew from a young age that he wanted to work for the largest dairy in Canada, and that’s exactly what he did. He achieved his goal right after graduating from the University of Guelph by working for Silverwoods Dairy. So he set himself a new goal: to work for the world’s largest chain of ice cream shops, Baskin Robbins.

Head shot of Carol.

Food science humanitarian

Carol Chui lives and works in one of the world’s most secretive states: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or known to most as North Korea.

She moved to the capital city, Pyongyang, two years ago to work with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) as a food technologist.

“Every country faces its own issues,” she says. “There are three sides to this country. There is the dramatized media view, there is how the country presents itself, and then there is the real thing. There is food insecurity and under-nutrition, and that’s why we are here.”

Head shot of Erin.

Rebuilding Home

Erin O’Neill was working for the Municipality of Wood Buffalo as a planner, looking after the municipality’s real estate interests, when her world changed.

On May 3, 2016, Fort McMurray, Alberta, was devastated by wildfires that forced more than 80,000 people from their homes. At $3.7 billion in damage, it was Canada’s costliest disaster, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Erin, with the rest of her community, was evacuated and unable to return home. But on May 15, she returned to Fort McMurray at a city manager’s request.

Head shot of Dave.

Writing his own "Jungle Book"

Looking into the eyes of a tiger, rehabilitating birds of prey, developing formula for a newborn polar bear cub: caring for some of the world’s most revered and dangerous animals under an increasingly critical public eye, is no walk in the park. But for Dave Barney, it was all in a day’s work. 

Des laughs with a class mate.


Desmond (Des) Doran has been a student, husband, father, teacher, researcher, economist, world traveller, equity and diversity champion and activist. At 82, he is also a man of many stories, experiences and reflections.

Here are a few of those stories about a life best summarized by the Jamaican greeting: “Respect.”

Head shot of Andrew.

5 Minutes with Andrew Vokes

During his time at Ridgetown Campus, Andrew Vokes (Associate Diploma in Agriculture, 2018) discovered the variety of club and association opportunities available to youth interested in agriculture and farming in southwestern Ontario. After returning home to Manitoulin Island, he decided to form his own association to support people ages 16-40 who are interested in collaboratively learning about production agriculture. We recently chatted with Andrew about his new association and his hopes for the future.

Head shot of Karen.

5 Minutes with Karen Clarke-Whistler

After 10 years as chief environmental officer, Karen Clarke-Whistler (M.Sc. in Land Resource Science, 1980) recently retired from TD Bank. She sat down with us to talk environmental business strategy and recap the role.

Our Sympathies: Ron Usborne

It is with sympathy that we share the passing of Ron Usborne on December 10, 2018. Ron was a professor in the Department of Food Science from 1969-1989. He was also chair of the department from 1976 to 1981. His area of research was meat science and he also held a faculty appointment in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science.

Team photos on the ice in OAC '84 jerseys

Lacing Up with OAC’84 Old Mules

On November 24 and 25, 2018, the annual University of Guelph Alumni Hockey Tournament took place. OAC alumni throughout the years gathered at the University of Guelph Arena to try their luck at this year’s title. The graduates of OAC 1984 were short a few alumni and allowed me, Anna, to join the “Old Mules” for the tournament and the festivities that followed. Here's a re-cap on the day's events.

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