The Need for Schools of Agriculture
Following the advice of Dr Henry Marshall Tory, in 1913, the province of Alberta established three diploma schools of agriculture at Vermilion, Olds, and Claresholm. These schools would, among other things, prepare students for university study in agriculture. As most of the agricultural graduates in Alberta at this time were from the Ontario Agriculture College at Guelph, there was a strong tradition pointing to a faculty of agriculture removed from the University. Traditional procedure in Canada at the time favoured the plan of having an Agricultural College as a separate unit located in a more rural atmosphere so that "agriculture would be insulated against urban influences". This is how Dr Robert David Sinclair, former Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, put it.
By the close of the agriculture schools' second year, 1914–1915, the time allotted for securing a diploma, the Government of Alberta needed to consider how best to accommodate a group of young men looking for opportunity for further study. Thus, Tory initiated plans for a Faculty of Agriculture at the newly established University of Alberta. It was not until May 1, 1915 that the Faculty of Agriculture officially came into being, with Ernest Albert Howes as Dean.