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Gift establishes W.A. Ranches at University of Calgary

Photo by Claire Windeyer, University of Calgary W.A. Ranches at University of Calgary
Research at W.A. Ranches in southern Alberta will include the development of evidence-based educational and community programs that will improve animal care and welfare, enhance the livestock industry and inform the public.
Research to study complex problems in animal/environmental health and public policy around beef cattle health and wellness.

With the gift of their 19,000-acre cattle ranch operation, J.C. "Jack" Anderson and daughter Wynne Chisholm are transforming veterinary education and research in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) at the University of Calgary, Alb. The university recently announced a "transformational" gift valued at $44 million that will create a world-class teaching, learning and research facility in Alberta.

The new W.A. Ranches at the University of Calgary will establish UCVM as an international leader in veterinary health, education, research and community outreach, meeting the needs of Alberta’s veterinary community and Canada’s livestock industry, the university said.

“This gift will advance the leadership of our Faculty of Veterinary Medicine even further, providing a unique opportunity for our students to engage in immersive learning, develop their professional skills and make the connections between human, animal and environmental health,” said university president Elizabeth Cannon. “W.A. Ranches at the University of Calgary is a sophisticated operation that will attract top talent to our campus and support the next generation of veterinary leaders.”

Anderson and Chisholm are innovators in the cattle producing and ranching industry, introducing new technology and practices to their ranch, the University of Calgary said. This includes finding new cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to improve their cattle and grass. Their gift of W.A. Ranches to the university is in addition to their contribution of $5 million in 2014 to establish the Anderson-Chisholm chair in animal care and welfare at the University of Calgary, which is currently held by Dr. Ed Pajor.

“We are gifting the assets of our ranch to the University of Calgary to create a world-leading center of excellence in beef cattle research,” Chisholm said. “Our hope is that this gift will transform the teaching, learning and outreach experiences at UCVM, and empower faculty and students to create and share the scientific, evidence-based discoveries that will improve animal care and welfare, enhance our industry and inform the public.”

W.A. Ranches at the University of Calgary will be a "new and impactful learning facility" to provide professional skills training for students and foster world-class teaching and research at UCVM, according to the announcement. Research at W.A. Ranches will include the development of evidence-based educational and community programs to solve complex problems in animal/environmental health and public policy around beef cattle health and wellness.

The University of Calgary is the only university in Canada where the faculties of medicine and veterinary medicine and the public health institutes are co-located physically.

UCVM dean Dr. Baljit Singh said, “The gift of a cattle ranch of this size and caliber offers unprecedented educational opportunities within the dynamic and innovative teaching model practiced [at UCVM]. The ranch will provide a platform for collaboration with other faculties, industry and the public sector to foster interdisciplinary learning and research and the development of an international center of excellence in beef cattle health.”

The transfer of possession of W.A. Ranches to the University of Calgary will occur in November 2018.

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