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Ontario Agricultural College

 view of Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) campus, Guelph, ON in 1921

The Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) was a unique educational in that the school offered an opportunity to for its top academic students to acquire a Bachelor of Science degree without formal attendance at a high school. The program was ideal for students like Grant who had grown up in isolated communities without nearby high schools. In addition, OAC allowed Grant to partake in all aspects of campus life including, and not limited to, intramurals and weekend social events.

Upon Grant's arrival, he visited with relatives, including Willa McPherson. The following day he immersed himself into his newfound role as full-time student; he paid $63 for his first semester tuition and moved in to his new residence. He would recall in his diaries that his college experience was most enjoyable-he was fascinated by the lectures and reveled in seeing movies almost weekly with newfound friends. To help pay for his schooling, Grant's parents contributed $100 to each term and Grant would have to take care of the rest.

Grant soon found interest in a number of sports that suited his tall, lanky figure. Activities like football, basketball, and track & field kept him in good physical shape. More importantly to Grant, however, was his academic schedule. On a daily basis he studied horticulture, politics, animal husbandry, entomology, Canadian literature, animal nutrition, dairying, agricultural economics, botany, and veterinary medicine.

Description

School presented Grant with a variety of opportunities to travel and meet new people. In the spring of 1923, Grant and two classmates embarked on a worthy scientific experiment by testing advanced growing methodologies on one of the boys' family farm. He also traveled with a classmate to the United States gaining an appreciation for American history and landmark places, including the Chicago Stockyards-a place of great interest to the ever-learning Grant MacEwan. School, for the most part, was filled with vivid memories and a plethora of learning experiences. His worst memory as a college student was receiving the news of his younger brother's death. George, a freshman at the University of Saskatchewan, passed away at only 17 years of age.

Grant continued to learn about agriculture, on and off the OAC campus. He spent the summer of 1925 investigating sow thistle in the Carrot River Valley broadening his increasing wealth of knowledge. He was an active member of the OAC livestock judging team which placed first at the prestigious Intercollegiate Championship at Toronto's Royal Winter Fair. Grant was awarded the highest aggregate score earning his team the right to participate in the Chicago International Exposition. The team placed third behind and Grant MacEwan earned the sixth best score overall.

Grant MacEwan graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College on May 28, 1926 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He promptly returned to the family farm in Saskatchewan but wanted to return in the fall with all aspirations of acquiring a job as a district representative in the agriculture industry. Around this time Grant became involved with politics and followed the MacEwan tradition of supporting Canada's Liberal Party. It was perhaps his Liberal affiliation that prevented him from getting his desired job as a district representative. Instead he accepted a job with the Saskatchewan Live Stock Branch in Regina. He returned to Melfort that winter to manage the family farm.


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