Former U of G president William Winegard

A tribute to former University of Guelph president William “Bill” Winegard is expected to draw hundreds of people to campus on April 6.

The service for the University’s second president and former Guelph MP will begin at 11 a.m. in War Memorial Hall.

Speakers will include president Franco Vaccarino, University Professor Emeritus Jim Stevens and political science professor Tim Mau.

“Dr. Winegard played a pivotal role in leading U of G to become the forward-looking and respected institution that it is today,” said Vaccarino. “He embodied the values that still guide this University, notably excellence, community engagement and integrity.”

Winegard was U of G’s second president and vice-chancellor from 1967 to 1975.

He arrived at the University three years after its founding in 1964 and played a key role in converting an agricultural, veterinary sciences and home economics institution into a comprehensive university.

“He set a tone of collegiality on campus and nurtured a culture of engagement that continues to this day,” said Vaccarino.

On campus, Winegard has lent his name to Winegard Walk, the William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Involvement Award and the Winegard Medal for undergraduate achievement. He also established named visiting lectureships in international development, engineering and physics.

As a newly arrived President’s Scholar on campus, Mau met Winegard in 1988. Mau received the Winegard Medal, the University’s top award for undergraduate achievement, upon graduation. As a faculty member in the Department of Political Science, he received the Winegard volunteer award in 2008.

“Everything Bill’s name is associated with is something of excellence,” said Mau, a past president of Rotary Guelph, to which Winegard also belonged. “It’s always a great honour to have any affiliation with Bill.”

After retiring from academia and U of G, Winegard entered federal politics. As the Member of Parliament for Guelph, he served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade and was the minister of state (science and technology) and Canada’s first minister for science.

Winegard was also known for his dedication to social and environmental causes and his volunteer work, including reading to children at U of G’s Child Care and Learning Centre.

He received the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award and the Lincoln Alexander Medal of Distinguished Service, both named for U of G’s longest-serving chancellor.

Winegard was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.

Before joining U of G, he was assistant dean of graduate studies at the University of Toronto. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1942 to 1945 as the youngest qualified navigating officer.

The tribute will be emceed by Brenda Whiteside, former associate vice-president (student affairs) and current interim assistant vice-president (diversity and human rights).

A reception will follow at the Art Gallery of Guelph.