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The University of Guelph, also known as U of G, is a medium-sized university located in Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker, established in 1964. While the U of G offers degrees in many different disciplines, the university is best known for its focus on life sciences, based in part on a long-standing history of achievement in Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and within Canada for its School of Fine Art and Music.

In 2008, the University of Guelph was ranked by Maclean's magazine as the fourth-best comprehensive university in Canada ("comprehensive" indicating institutions with significant research activity and a range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including professional degrees). It has held the top place in this ranking in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007, with its reputation, innovative research-intensive programs, and lively campus life cited as particular strengths.

The university is also home to the Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario's only veterinary school.

The university's School of English and Theatre Studies is a leader in Canadian literary and dramatic writing and theory, employing many leading voices in its field.

The university is home to North America's major graduate program in Scottish Studies and the library holds the largest Scottish Studies collection outside the United Kingdom

The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Guelph Gryphons.


War Memorial Hall is used for some lectures and special events.

The University of Guelph traces its origins back to when the Ontario government bought 500 acres of farmland and opened the Ontario School of Agriculture on May 1, 1874, which was renamed the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in 1880. Its first building was Moreton Lodge, located where Johnston Hall now stands, which included classrooms, residences, a library, and a dining room. Several other buildings were constructed during this time period and still exist as part of the campus today, including the President's Residence, Raithby House, and Day Hall.

The Macdonald Institute was established in 1903 to house women's home economics programs, nature studies, and some domestic art and science. From the turn of the century to the establishment of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 1922, many more buildings were added to the campus: MacDonald Hall, Massey Hall, the Bullring, Mills Hall, and Food Science. Johnston Hall was constructed in 1931, taking the place of the torn-down Moreton Lodge and becoming the home for the OAC Administration.

These three adjacent colleges would be amalgamated into the single body of the University of Guelph by the Ontario Legislature on May 8, 1964. The University of Guelph Act also brought about the Board of Governors to oversee administrative operations and financial management, and the Senate to address academic concerns. The non-denominational graduate and undergraduate institution was, and remains especially known for the agricultural and veterinary programs that shaped it. Wellington College was established shortly after the Act, and five years later, was split three ways into the College of Arts (COA), which exists in the present day, the College of Physical Science and the College Social Science. The Macdonald Institute would also be renamed the College of Family and Consumer Studies during the split.

Day Hall
After this split, the University of Guelph started reorganizing into it's present day form, starting from the establishment of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) in 1971. The College of Physical Science would be married to the OAC's School of Engineering in 1989, creating the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences (CPES). The College of Social Science and the College of Family and Consumer Studies were joined to create the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) in 1998. Finally, the College of Management and Economics (CME) would be established from the segregation of offered business, management and economic degrees and courses in 2006.


The main university campus spans 1,017 acres (4.1 km²), including the 408 acre (1.7 km²) University of Guelph Arboretummarker and a 30 acre (0.1 km²) research park.

The campus, which mixes old-fashioned brick buildings with mid-century Brutalism, as well as more contemporary stone structures, is generally regarded as scenic and architecturally diverse. It is well-populated with trees, including those which line the main walkways, many of which are paved with red brick. The campus includes an arboretum with an impressive collection of trees.

Another highly visible landmark is Johnston Hall, constructed in 1931. The Johnston Clock tower overlooks Winegard Walk and is visible from much of the campus. The building also overlooks Johnston Green, a popular location for recreational sporting activities and outdoor concerts.

Regional campuses

Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) Campuses

The Ontario Agricultural College has a network of campuses and research stations throughout Ontario. Courses are offered in English in Guelph, Kemptville and Ridgetown, and in French at Collège d’Alfred.

Collège d’Alfred is located in the eastern Ontario, in the town of Alfred, Ontariomarker close to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. This unique campus attracts students from across Canada and the world. It offers diploma and certificate programs which are all taught in French.

The Kemptville campus of Ontario Agriculture College is located in Kemptville, Ontariomarker. It has been serving the residents of Eastern Ontario since 1917. The campus and research station is located on over and features 21st century facilities.

Located on over in Ridgetown, Ontariomarker this campus provides the advantages of a small town atmosphere with the opportunities of a larger center within a 30 minute drive.

University of Guelph-Humber

The University of Guelph-Humber is a university-college partnership between the University of Guelph and Humber Collegemarker. It is located on Humber's North Campus in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. The school offers eight regular four-year academic programs, each of which grant both a university honours degree and college diploma.


The governance of the University of Guelph is a bicameral system consisting of:
  • The Senate
  • The Board of Governors




The recently-opened New Science Complex was built on the site of the former Chemistry and Microbiology building.


The University of Guelph offers over 90 majors in 13 degree programs and 63 Open Learning/Distance Education Opportunities. The University is home to 17,332 full-time and part-time undergraduate students, 2,076 full-time and part-time graduate students and almost 3000 faculty and staff [425140]. Over 99.8% of students entering the University of Guelph for the first time have academic averages of 75% and above. Guelph students also have the highest graduation rate among Canadian comprehensive universities (at 89%), 5.8% higher than the national average. As well, University of Guelph has been stated to be the best comprehensive university of Canada by Macleans magazine in 2006 and 2007.


The University of Guelph consists of seven faculties (or colleges, as they're known at Guelph):

Other areas of academic specialization include the:

The Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition has an accredited dietetic program. The university is accredited by a professional organization such as the Dietitians of Canada and the university's graduates may subsequently become registered dietitians.


The six-story McLaughlin Library provides students with more than 400 computers in the library and access to books, periodicals, films, audiovisual and archival materials, government documents and maps. The library provides support for everyone's research needs, from undergraduate essays to specialized graduate-level investigations. The library has more than 1 million visitors annually.

The Library has student-centred services from building hours, computer access, individual and group study space, and a main floor lounge serving food and refreshments. The Learning Commons also offers resources and services to help users with research, technology, writing, and learning with locations on the main floor of McLaughlin Library, the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Learning Commons and Guelph-Humber Learning Commons.

The Tri-University Group of Libraries (TRELLIS) is part of a partnership involving the libraries of the Universities of Guelph, Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier. Students have access to library resources totaling 7.5 million items through the automated library system. Guelph students, faculty and staff also have access to electronic resources from any location at any time. The Library is a leader in offering electronic resources, including nearly 10,000 e-journals as well as databases, reference resources, and live online help.

Ranking and Reputation

In a national online survey of university students by the University Report Card, University of Guelph students graded the university as the top medium-sized university in Canada.

Guelph was also the only school among large and/or medium-sized universities to receive an "A" for student services. They also received an "A" for overall educational experience, which included the categories of: quality of teaching, faculty subject knowledge, teaching methods and availability of faculty outside the classroom. The University also gained an "A+" in faculty member's knowledge of subjects; overall university atmosphere; personal safety and security; freedom of expression; campus atmosphere and online services which included library resources, access to teaching materials and on-campus network.

The University of Guelph is currently ranked by Maclean's magazine as the fourth best comprehensive university in Canada ("comprehensive" indicating institutions with significant research activity and a range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including professional degrees). The University of Guelph has ranked as a top 3 of comprehensive universities in Canada ranking #1 in 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2006.

Student Life

Student government on campus is governed officially through the university's Student Organization Policy or "SOP". This document, created initially in 2005 provides the basis for accrediting student groups on campus.The Student Groups listed as Primary Student Organizations under the policy are:
  • The Central Student Association (CSA)
  • The Graduate Students' Association (GSA)
  • The College of Arts Student Union (CA-SU)
  • The College of Biological Science Student Council (CBS-SC)
  • The College of Management & Economics Student Association (CME-SA)
  • The College of Physical & Engineering Science Student Council (CPES-SC)
  • The College of Social & Applied Human Sciences Student Alliance (CSAHS-SA)
  • The Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College (SF-OAC)
  • The Central Veterinary Students' Association (CVSA)
  • Interhall Council (IHC)

Each of the above PSOs accredit and thus are held accountable for many of the various clubs and student groups on campus. By in large the CSA accredits the most student groups with approximately 70 accredited today. Generally CSA-accredited groups are special interest groups like CHAT (a multi-lingual group), the Muslim Students' Association and more, catering to those who wish to begin new interest-specific clubs on campus. The College Governments (CA-SU, CBS-SC, CME-SA, CPES-SC, CSAHS-SA, SF-OAC and the CVSA) accredit academically-focused groups while IHC accredits 12 groups as hall councils, one for each residence hall on campus.

The University also has a division under Student Life and Counseling Services which offers a comprehensive package of programs and services that help students make a successful transition to, through and from university life and study. The curricular and co-curricular initiatives, advising and support activities are set out to serve as vehicles through which students can explore their leadership capacity, make long lasting connections, and optimize opportunities to learn through experiences. As well as develop a sense of civic/community responsibility, and be engaged in the campus and community life of the University.

Student Residences

Johnston Hall is the university's most iconic buildings.
A large portion of students reside on campus in co-ed residences. Those that do typically live in the East Residence (610 residents), Johnston Hall (315), Lambton Hall (400), Lennox/Addington Hall (520), Macdonald Hall (150, female only), Maids Hall (50, also known as Artz Haüs), Mills Hall (160), Watson Hall (67, also known as International House) and South Residence (1700 residents evenly distributed across Mountain, Prairie and Maritime Halls).

The LLC (Living Learning Centre) community is made up of Maids and Watson Halls, as well as two sections of the Dundas area in East known as Eco and French Houses (Freco). The program is conducted such that students who are interested in extracurricular development of their interests peripheral to academic achievement can cohabitate among others with the same goal. Each individual community has Residence Life Staff personnel assigned to facilitate programming and community development centred around their respective focuses.

Also on campus are the East Village Townhouses that were opened during the Fall of 2001. The townhouses consist of 164 four-, five- and six-bedroom self-contained units. These primarily house upper-year students.

South Residence, the largest residence on campus, is home to 1700 students, as well as over 50 Residence Life Staff members.[425142]. South Residence is split into three self-contained Halls with independent fire alarm grids. It was built in 1965 by Australian architect John Andrews, a brutalist architect who has designed several Canadian university residences, as well as Toronto's iconic CN Tower.[425143] The persistent rumour that the residence was designed by the same architect as the Kingston Penitentiarymarker is false. This would be all but impossible, as the iconic Canadian prison was constructed over a century before South Residence.

Watson Hall
Across campus, members of the Residence Student Government, known as Interhall Council, contribute to the programming in each hall. This group of 60 elected members works with students within their halls and are also responsible for facilitating a hall council for hall members to attend. Interhall Council also acts as a liaison between students and Student Housing Services, University Administration, and other on-campus organizations.

Student Media

Newspapers and Magazines

  • The Ontarion - since 1951 and publishes every Thursday
  • The Peak - alternative magazine style publication
  • Hornblower: The HTM Magazine - since 1973, official publication of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • At Guelph - University's official newspaper
  • Herd The Werd - Interhall Council's seasonal publication for residence students


  • is an online website co-founded by The Guelph Campus Co-operative and the CSA created for, and funded by, undergraduate students.

Although it has a paid editor, all students are encouraged to submit news articles, announcements for upcoming events, opinion pieces, digital photographs and other content that Guelph students may find interesting or useful.

Founded in September 2002, the site has features such as Rate-a-Prof, where students share insight and opinions regarding professors, and a free classifieds section, available as a means of buying and selling used textbooks and course materials.

The name of the site is a reference to Old Jeremiah, as the website parallels the use of the cannon as a campus-wide message board.


  • CFRU-FM is a community campus station serving the students and community of Guelph.


The university is represented in the Ontario University Athletics and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Guelph Gryphons. The school colors are red, black and yellow or gold. The UG's mascot is a Gryphon named Gryph. The current athletic director is Tom Kendall.

The University offers 15 varsity sports for men and 15 for women. OUA only sports include baseball (men), figure skating (women), golf, Nordic skiing, rowing, and rugby union (men).

Nationally, the OUA is one of the CIS conferences, along with Atlantic University Sport, Canada West Universities Athletic Association, and the Quebec Student Sports Federation. CIS sports which UG participates in include basketball, cross country running, field hockey (women), Canadian football (men), ice hockey, rugby union (women), soccer, swimming, track & field, volleyball and wrestling. The Gryphon's men's football team won its only national championship in 1984. In 2006-2007, the University of Guelph won CIS titles in cross country (men) and cross country (women) while finishing as runners-up in rugby union (women). Following dual titles in cross country at the end of 2007,the Gryphons repeated in the spring of 2008 winning track and field (men) and track and field (women) making Guelph the first school to win both men's and women's cross country and track CIS titles in one season. In 2008 the Gryphon's Men's Lacrosse team won the Baggataway Cup at the Canadian national field lacrosse champions with a 14-9 win over McGill University at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton.

Campus Traditions

Painting Old Jeremiah

Old Jeremiah on the Guelph campus
Old Jeremiah is the name of an antique British naval gun that rests in Branion Plaza, at the heart of the University of Guelph campus. Rumoured to have seen battle during the War of 1812, Old Jeremiah was last fired in April 1913. After World War I, the gun's barrel was plugged and it was brought to campus by students as a sign of remembrance for those lost in battle. It is often referred to simply and affectionately as The Cannon. During the 1970s, Old Jeremiah was briefly relocated to Johnston Green and renamed The Big Johnston.

Due to its location, the cannon is highly visible and accessible. It lies along Winegard Walk, the main path through campus, and has become one of the university's landmarks.

Old Jeremiah being painted
However, this was not always the case. As a result of jovial rivalry between Engineering and Agricultural Science students ("Aggies"), the cannon has enjoyed plenty of movement around the Guelph campus as a result of practical jokes between the two majors. Although it is nearly impossible to nail down the exact previous locations of the cannon, it is rumoured to have traveled all over campus, at one point even perching on top of MacNaughton (a prominent university building containing the Bookstore), and at another even disappearing altogether and showing up a day later on the University of Waterloomarker campus. Eventually, fed up with the movement of Old Jeremiah, university officials cemented the cannon in place where it sits today. However, as a final stab at humour, a group of students shifted the still-mobile direction of the cannon's face, and aimed it at the fourth floor of the University Center, home of the institution's senior administration. Old Jeremiah rests in this position today.

Despite its movement, the cannon enjoyed relative tranquility until the 1950s when an aspiring entrepreneurial student came up with the idea of painting a message on the highly visible landmark. The act of "painting the cannon" has since become a campus tradition with students, residences, sports teams, clubs and others braving the early morning hours to paint messages on the cannon, most often about upcoming events but also including birthday announcements, wedding proposals and public insults. The etiquette governing "painting the cannon" is unofficial but well-understood: 1) do not begin painting the cannon until the sun has set, 2) be finished by the time the first students arrive for classes in the morning, and 3) avoid profanity or coarse language. It is well-accepted practice to "guard" the cannon until sunrise so as to avoid another person or group painting over one's message.

The Pep Rally

This successful cornerstone of the University of Guelph’s Orientation program takes place each year at the beginning of Orientation Week. All new students within each residence are taught a dance - often referred to as the Hall Boogie - which is performed to a variety of mixed popular songs. Awards are presented to the Halls which demonstrate the best spirit, creativity, synchronisation and co-ordination. Many of the dances are very impressive, despite being practiced in typically an hour or less.

A University of Guelph trademark dance move, Winding Your Toy, is almost always incorporated into each boogie, usually to a bass-heavy dance track. A winding motion is made with the rear hand - as if winding a wind-up toy - while the knees are bent in rhythm. The origins of "winding the toy" are not well known, yet it retains notoriety among students and friends of students at the university.

The Rally is the kick-off to the remainder of Orientation activities. The University of Guelph must apply for a special noise permit for the event as the activity can often be heard for miles.

In 2004, "Student Power" was introduced as a low-key alternative event to the Pep Rally for anyone who may not be as inclined to participate in the highly energetic and boisterous Pep Rally.

College Royal

An annual feature of the university is its open house, known as College Royal. For a weekend each March, every part of the campus and its programs is exhibited to the public, from the barns of the Agricultural College to the sugar bush in the arboretum. It is highly popular with visitors of all ages, especially families with children who take advantage of the March break (the usual Ontario school break) to have an outing.

The 2006 College Royal was visited by Rick Mercer, taping a segment for his show, the Rick Mercer Report.


The University of Guelph alumni keep touch with the university by a magazine which is named "The Portico". This magazine is sent to University of Guelph alumni each semester and they can find university news there. For names and articles about University of Guelph alumni, see :category:University of Guelph alumni.

See also

Further reading

  • David R. Murray, 'Hatching the Cowbird's Egg: The Creation of the University of Guelph'. Guelph: University of Guelph, 1989.


  2. Murray, David R. Hatching the Cowbird's Egg: The Creation of the University of Guelph. Guelph: University of Guelph, 1989.
  3. Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation - University List

External links

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