Although the George Morris Centre has closed, the memory of the late George Morris will live on at the University of Guelph.
The Centre has donated $450,000 to the university for food policy research and a $10,000 annual scholarship.
Morris donated $1 million to start the centre as Canada’s first independent think tank. Larry Martin conducted the first research, recruited the staff and generated the vision for many programs and services.
Morris was born in Alberta, but spent most of his life farming near Merlin, Ontario.
He was one of the original members of the Ontario Grain Council, a founding member of the Ontario Beef Improvement Association and served as president in 1965.
He was also president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association from 1972-1974, during which time he introduced a balanced grading system that is the basis for the industry today.
Morris was a self-made man and by age 35 achieved the status of millionaire, quite an achievement in 1945! He died in 1999.
The gift, in accordance with the wishes of the late George Morris, will fund the George Morris Agriculture and Food Policy Research Grant and the set up of the George Morris Graduate Student Scholarship.
The $450,000 will fund the George Morris Agriculture and Food Policy Research Grant and the set up of the George Morris Graduate Student Scholarship.
The gift was celebrated Tuesday at a reception held at the University of Guelph.
In June 2014 the George Morris Centre (GMC), an agri-food think tank, announced it would dissolve at the end of 2014 and transfer its net assets as a gift to the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) of the U of G.
“We were determined that the vision George had for independent analysis of agri-food policy would be sustained,” said Bob Funk, George Morris Centre board chair.
“We are gratified with the respectful response of the University to the concepts we presented for the use of the funds. GMC board members are now considering ways in which the fund may even be augmented.”
Bob Hunsburger, who was a friend of George Morris and the treasurer of the board, added, “George would be so pleased with these actions taken in his memory”.
The new research grant will support a visiting researcher to spend one to two weeks in the University’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics to work on research relevant to Ontario or Canadian agricultural policy issues.
The George Morris Graduate Student Scholarship of $10,000 will be available to PhD or M.Sc. students in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics interested in policy related research.
“George Morris was a visionary farmer and long-time friend of the University of Guelph. We are very thankful and pleased to help continue his legacy through research efforts and scholarships,” said Rob Gordon, dean of the OAC.
From 1990 through 1998, the George Morris Centre operated as a department of the U of G. In 1998, the Centre was registered as a non-profit charitable corporation.