Williams, Charles Melville (1925-)

“Red” Williams taught diploma, degree, and postgraduate students in Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine from 1954 to 1992 as a professor of Animal Sciences and an Extension Specialist. He was nominated “Teacher of the Year” in 1981. In addition to being an inspiring and award-winning teacher for over fifty years and serving on many university and provincial committees and boards, Williams produced over 300 newspaper columns, and handled over 1,500 rural and agriculture-related speaking events and over 4,000 radio editorials. He earned his BSA Masters of Science in Agriculture from the University of British Columbia, and obtained his PhD at Oregon State University in 1955. He joined the Department of Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan in 1954. For over thirty years, he assisted First Nations and Métis people to develop viable farm enterprises; more recently, he was responsible for the Agricultural Sector of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (1993). At the same time, he has been active in developing country (Third World) issues, ranging from extended service in some countries, to CUSO (Canadian University Students Overseas), to board member of the North/South Institute, to consultant on development projects in nineteen countries.

Williams’ concerns about the problems facing agriculture and farming led him to enter the political arena and, while unsuccessful in being elected, he took the time to prepare several important briefs and position papers to address his concerns. His early involvement in animal welfare issues led to the development of a Code of Ethics for Livestock and Poultry Production in Canada. In addition, he has been active in his professional organizations, often holding executive positions in the Canadian Society of Animal Science, the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists, and the Agricultural Institute of Canada. The results of his research on the types and effects of windbreaks, overhead shelter, and straw bedding on feedlot cattle have been widely used in western Canada. He was also involved in an intensive study of the performance and metabolic responses of lactating dairy cows accommodated in a loose-housing barn and subjected to variable temperature, humidity and wind conditions. Subsequently, he directed a study of the effects of breed and environmental factors on hair coat density in cattle. For his outstanding professional service and accomplishments, Williams became a Member of the Order of Canada (1989), a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada (1972), and an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Extension Society (1970). He also received the Confederation Medal (1992), the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (1979),  the Century Saskatoon–City of Saskatoon Scroll (1982), and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2002).

Philip Thacker