University of Guelph – Ridgetown Campus
In 1920, the Ontario Provincial Ministry of Agriculture decided to open a Demonstration Farm for southwestern Ontario to encourage research and education. In 1922, the Western Ontario Experimental Farm came into being.
The first formal education program under director W.R. Reek ran from 1936 – 1938 and 28 students graduated. The program was terminated due to the lack of residence facilities.
In the late 1940’s the Farm Director, J.C Steckley, reviewed the idea of incorporating a two year agricultural diploma course. The residence was built and the Western Ontario Agricultural School enrolled its first class of 39 students in October 1951. The term “Westags” originated from that school name.
In 1968 the school adopted the name of Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology and the variety of educational programs offered has changed and increased over the years.
Since 1922, many buildings have been added which have enhanced both the research and educational components of the College. In honour of past contribution, the administration building is named after W.R. Reek, the residence is named after J.C. Steckley. There are various plaques around the campus attesting to that history of development. The newest, the Veterinary Technology Building, was completed in late 1994.
Today the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has made an agreement with the University of Guelph to earn a University of Guelph diploma at any of the four agricultural locations. In 1997, Ridgetown College will celebrate its 75 year of service to the community with a Summerfest celebration in July and an Alumni weekend in October.