Improving innovation and sustainability in the Canadian poultry and egg sector is the goal of a new $3.5 million gift from the William and Lynne Gray Foundation and L.H. Gray & Son Limited to the University of Guelph.

The gift will create the Bill and Lynne Gray Chair in Advanced Poultry Technology Management in the Department of Animal Biosciences within the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC).

With the goal of elevating the Canadian poultry and egg sector on the global market, the gift will help advance technologies and systems that are key to sustainable and profitable production.

“We are incredibly grateful to Bill and Lynne Gray’s commitment to fund this chair, which will help OAC advance its mission of improving the Canadian and global food system,” said OAC acting dean Dr. John Cranfield. “This gift will help elevate our strength in poultry production research and teaching.” 

The chair will also work closely with faculty in the School of Engineering on environmental control issues such as lighting, ventilation, sanitation and biosecurity, using new and emerging technologies to help control the spread of avian diseases.

Inspiring the next generation of leaders in agriculture

Lynne and William (Bill) Gray in formal wear, arms around each other in a group shot.
Lynne and William (Bill) Gray

Founded in 1934, L.H. Gray & Son is a family-owned business with locations across Canada serving retail, foodservice and industrial sectors. The company, with its head office in Strathroy, Ont., is one of the most modern and innovative egg businesses in Canada.

“We consider it a privilege to make this investment in the University of Guelph’s research and teaching expertise, which is second to none,” says L.H. Gray & Son CEO Bill Gray. “This investment will not only benefit the poultry and egg sector but the general public as well.”

The chair will contribute significantly to the planning and operations of the Ontario Poultry Research Centre in Elora, Ont., which will provide essential space for innovative research.

“This new chair position is a testament to U of G’s capacity to deliver world-class research and will significantly benefit the sector,” said Dr. Rene Van Acker, interim vice president (research). “We are thrilled to honour Bill and Lynne’s impact on the Canadian egg and poultry sector in this manner.”

The Ontario Poultry Research Centre is owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by U of G through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Government of Ontario and U of G.

The gift will also support an annual scholarship to help U of G attract global talent to pursue a career in the Canadian poultry and egg industry. 

The L.H. Gray & Son Poultry Science Graduate Scholarship will be awarded to students in OAC’s master’s and PhD programs who have an interest in egg production, processing and marketing research.

Graduate students will work closely with the Bill and Lynne Gray Chair and other OAC faculty in their research programs related to poultry and egg.