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Rutherford, William John (1868– 1930)

William Rutherford (as Dean) addressing Agricultural Society Convention in the University of Saskatchewan Livestock Pavilion, ca. 1920s.
University of Saskatchewan Archives A-1335

William John Rutherford, known as “Saskatchewan’s first agricultural scientist,” was responsible for establishing the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture, the first of its kind in Canada to be located on a university campus along with a College of Arts. Rutherford was born in Potsdam, New York in 1868. His family moved to Dundas County, Ontario, where he received his primary and secondary education. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College of Guelph, where he later taught animal science. He also taught at the University of Iowa at Ames, and at the University of Manitoba from 1906 to 1908. That year he was appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture with the Saskatchewan government, and a year later became Dean of the College of Agriculture at the new campus in Saskatoon, where he organized the Department of Animal Husbandry. Under his guidance, the college and the university farm adjacent to it became famous in the world of agricultural science: in a new area of settlement, with many problems in farming arising from a unique set of climatic conditions, Rutherford made a lasting contribution to Saskatchewan agriculture. Having died in 1930, he was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1966 and in the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1972.

Marilyn Lewry

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