Addressing the gap of highly skilled talent in the agri-food sector and promoting the University of Guelph as a destination of choice for students from around the world are the focus of several new scholarships.  

Thanks to a $2-million gift from U of G alumnus Andy Wilder (BSc Agr. ‘84), three new scholarships have been created to attract top Canadian and international students to the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) to pursue a career in the Canadian agri-food sector.  

The funding will create the single largest scholarship offered at U of G, at $80,000, and will be awarded to one student each year pursuing an undergraduate degree in OAC. 

“We’re incredibly grateful to Andy and his trust in OAC in developing future leaders in the agri-food sector,” says Dr. John Cranfield, acting dean of OAC.  

Attracting the best and brightest to OAC

A man has his arm around a woman as they stand on a boardwalk with a forest behind
Lori and Andy Wilder

An additional scholarship will support international students pursuing a course-based master’s degree at OAC. 

“This scholarship will help the University globalize the campus and foster global perspectives in our classrooms,” says Dr. Cranfield. “Attracting great students looking to expand their horizons from around the world is critical to a healthy Canadian agri-food system.”  

Wilder believes the scholarships will allow the University to continue to attract the best and brightest to OAC, the top agri-food school in the country with a 150-year history in agriculture and a global reputation for excellence. 

“There is a massive challenge facing Canada’s agriculture and food industry,” says Wilder. “It requires highly talented people from multiple disciplines to produce more food while reducing its carbon footprint.” 

Wilder believes OAC is equipped to develop the collaborative leaders needed to solve these challenges. 

“I hope these scholarships attract the best and brightest students to choose a fulfilling career in agriculture.” 

The three scholarships offered to future agri-food leaders include: 

Wilder Family Leadership Scholarship

  • One award of $80,000 to an undergraduate student who has significant leadership experiences 

Wilder Family Scholarship

  • Two awards of $40,000 

Wilder Family Graduate Scholarship

  • Two awards of $15,000 each to an international student pursuing a course-based master’s degree 

OAC recently launched several new course-based master’s programs that encourage students to gain advanced, graduate-level skills without having to complete a thesis. They include a new master of plant agriculture set to begin in the fall. There are also plans for OAC to launch a new course-based master’s program in sustainable agriculture later this year. 

“We have a 150-year history of developing innovators in Canada’s agriculture and food industry,” says Cranfield. “This gift is an important piece in our mission of attracting future leaders to pursue a career in the agri-food sector.” 

A graduate of U of G’s bachelor of science, agriculture program, Wilder is a member of the Order of OAC and held leadership positions with Horizon Milling GP and Cargill Ltd.