The history of Ridgetown Campus begins in 1922 when the Western Ontario Experimental Farm was established on land purchased by the Ontario government. This farm was operated under the Ontario Department of Agriculture as a research facility for variety testing, production trials, and fertility studies of corn, beans, sugar beets and tobacco. Potato and horticulture crops, as well as chemical control of insects and plant diseases, were added a few years later.
In 1936, a two-year course in agriculture was initiated to teach practical agricultural practices; classes were scheduled so as not to interfere with the farm season. Fourteen students graduated in the spring of 1938.
In the late 1940’s, the idea of a residential school for a two-year diploma course in agriculture was created. The first students enrolled at the Western Ontario Agricultural School (WOAS) in 1951; they graduated in 1953. These students paid course fees of $179 and an extra $140 for room and board in the college dormitory for the 20-week school year.
In 1997, Ridgetown College became a regional campus of the University of Guelph. Research and education programs continue to expand at Ridgetown Campus.
Today the Ridgetown Campus offers five diploma, one certificate, and one apprenticeship program. There are 120 full-time faculty and staff, plus contract teachers, serving the needs of 550 full-time students. Our applied research projects provide practical results that are appreciated by farmers and respected by professionals around the world, therefore providing an 88% overall employment rate.
In 2008, discussions with the Director of the Ridgetown Campus, started with Ministerial members of the Ridgetown and Blenheim Ministerials. In the fall of 2008, the Ministerials hired a part time Chaplain at 10 hours per week. Within several weeks we realized that we had not dreamed “big” enough as our Chaplain was overwhelmed with requests. We raised the Chaplain to half time on November 1st, 2008.
The Ministerials had budgeted for ¼ time, and stepped out in faith, as the extra time was needed. Within the first month we received a $10,000 donation to ensure the ½ time position for that year.
During 2008, we prepared for and applied for Charitable Status – with a Community Board, and support from local churches including Kent Presbytery. Charitable Status was granted in June 2009. The Ridgetown Campus Chaplaincy Program continues today – with the initial Chaplain, and support from a Mission & Service Grant, a yearly grant from the Christian Reformed Church Classis, and a yearly donation from the Ontario Federation of Christian Farmers, as well as many local Churches of all denominations.
Our 2022 budget is $46,000. Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors and our many Church and individual donors, which support this vital ministry.
Several of our UCRMN members are graduates of the Ridgetown Campus – some meeting their spouses at Ridgetown. Thank you, God, for all the ways we can support our rural students.
For further information check out www.Ridgetownchaplaincy.ca