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Iowa State College of Agriculture


Grant MacEwan's time spent at the Ontario Agricultural College inspired him to expand his knowledge of all things agriculture. In addition, his post-secondary experience increased his willingness to see and do more than the prairie farm could ever offer. Encouraged by a recent conversation with Dean Rutherford, Grant applied and received a fellowship to study at Iowa State College of Agriculture at Ames, Iowa. Rutherford had lectured at Iowa State College (known today as Iowa State University of Science and Technology) and was impressed by the quality of education. Grant quit his job in Regina, sold his car, and returned to Melfort to help with the harvest before departing for Ames in September of 1927.

Upon arrival, Grant was most impressed with the campus' layout, from its stately buildings built with white stone to the plethora of trees and greenery. The campus was an ideal setting for enhancing knowledge of agriculture. His graduate degree program was an intensive study consisting of lectures on meats, experimental methodology, comparative physiology, biometrics and breeding practices. In addition, when one of Grant's professors had to leave campus because of a family emergency, he called upon Grant carry on with the lectures to undergraduate students. It was not uncommon for Grant to be working sixteen to eighteen hour days.

Since his first trip to the United States as a student at the Ontario Agricultural College, Grant developed an appreciation for American culture, in particular their music and religious devotion. He found Americans to be rather friendly and inviting. As a student at Iowa State College of Agriculture, he was excited about the prospect of again immersing himself into the American lifestyle. On weekends he frequented various congregations including Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist sermons. His education granted him a number of opportunities to hone his skills as a public speaker. He lectured to undergraduate students and spoke to guests at the Cosmopolitan Club and Lions Club about Canada. Listeners found Grant engaging, intelligent, and witty.

Grant's Masters thesis focused on the nutritional value of visceral organs based on a record of performance of a colony of white rats. In spite of the challenges and shortcomings, Grant's greatest fear was finding the right job upon completion of his thesis. In the spring of 1928 he accepted a job as the Chief Assistant to the Livestock Commissioner, albeit with several reservations. Grant appreciated the offer but was not overly interested about the prospect of working in an office on a day-to-day basis. Soon thereafter, he was offered a prestigious research opportunity at the University of Chicago Meat Packing Institute. However, Grant yearned to return to home to Canada. His decision became clearer when he was offered a position as an assistant professor in Animal Husbandry at the University of Saskatchewan. He returned to Canada June 12, 1928.

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