January Spotlight

We bring in 2023 by highlighting someone who is a Kemptville College Grad, Kemptville College Instructor, and Kemptville College Liaison to Alumni.

Blair Dow graduated from Kemptville in 1984  and was employed at Kemptville College from 1988 to 2008. While at the college, Blair was very involved with the College Royal. He wanted every student to have a hands-on experience with the College Royal activities. It was the same with the courses he taught at the college. Many students have remarked about their learning experiences being “hands-on”. Blair enjoyed teaching Animal Science courses as well as the Dairy Apprenticeship Program and has stayed in touch with many of the students who graduated while he was there.

For the next ten years, Blair taught at Lakeland College in Alberta ( 2008 – 2018). This meant leaving Metcalfe with his wife Lisa and son Travis and living in Vermilion, Alberta. When visiting the college while Blair was teaching there, it was interesting to have students come up to me and say, “That is my heifer.”  I thought they had brought their heifer to the college – but no – once again, Blair’s hands-on approach with the AI courses showed students their success. They felt with AI success at the college, that really was their heifer.  

In 2018, Blair and his family moved back to Metcalfe, and Blair was then hired to be an instructor at the Business- Agricultural Diploma Course at Algonquin College, Perth Campus (2019 – 2021)                                              

Ram Lamb

Blair’s love of sheep was always in his background. Bill Dow, his grandfather, gave him his first sheep when he was five years old. Today Blair, his wife Lisa, and his son Travis own “Three D Suffolks.” Pictured above is the picture of the First place Suffolk Ram Lamb at the 2022 Royal held in Toronto. Blair is on the right in the front, Travis is holding the lamb, and Lisa is beside Travis. Blair’s Royal crew are also in the picture. Beside Lisa is Kyle Sequin, who attended Kemptville and was chair of the Dairy Heifer Sale for the Kemptville College Royal. In the back row (with the beard) is another crew member Randy Sequin who graduated from Kemptville in 1980. Both Kyle and Randy were a contribution to Blair’s success at the Royal.

From student to now a Kemptville College Alumni Board Member, we thank Blair for his contribution to agriculture.

November Spotlight –  Peter D. Jack  – 1968 Kemptville Grad

Usually, when we spotlight grads, we focus on the present, but since November is a month of remembering, we will do just that with the Peter D. Jack family farming history. 

Peter D. Jack
Peter Jack and his wife, Lynda, surrounded by grandson Brennan MacKillican, and Peter’s son Charlie, with his wife, Tammy.

Their story began in 1897 when four orphaned British Home Children were sent to Canada, from Scotland, as indentured servants. David, the third child, was placed on the farm of George Wilson near Pakenham, ON. When he left after his period of service, he went to Montreal, and while there, he married Pearl Lapham.

William Kenneth was the second of their six children and always wanted to farm. Kenneth served in the army in Europe in World War 2. When he returned to Canada in Feb. 1946, he married Margaret Green. They used his meager Veteran’s Benefits as a down payment on a semi-abandoned farm near Maxville, ON. They moved to the farm on July 2, 1946. Life was a struggle, so Margaret taught school to help the family survive. They stocked the farm with 10 dairy cows.

Peter David Jack was born the eldest of three children. His Dad had several health issues. Peter always worked on the farm but managed to go to KCAT, graduating in 1968. In 1973 he married Lynda MacGill, and when his dad died in 1974, Peter and Lynda took over the farm. The herd prefix is MYLYN, named for his wife, Lynda.

Charles William (Charlie) is the second of their six children. Like his grandfather and father, he always wanted to farm. Charlie graduated in 1998 from KCAT and returned to the farm after graduation. Charlie has two children from his first marriage. His second wife, Tammy, has three children, but none of the five are interested in farming.

In 2013 Lynda and Peter gave Charlie and Tammy the opportunity to farm together when they sold/gifted the farm to them. They were fortunate that Charlie’s sister Kathleen has three children, and the oldest, Brennan MacKillican, wanted to farm. Brennan graduated from Ridgetown Campus, University of Guelph, in 2021. He lives with Lynda and Peter and works on the farm full-time. The plan is for him to eventually work into a partnership on the farm with Charlie and Tammy.

The farm had a setback in 2018 when a fire took the dairy, heifer barn, and machine shed. They also lost 80 head of milk cows, silos, two robot milkers, and feed. MYLYN farm has since rebuilt and recently held an open house where many Kemptville grads had an opportunity to see the new setup. Starting with 10-grade cows and 60 acres, the Jack family now has 200 purebred Holsteins and 700 acres. They also grow corn, soybeans, and hay.

Charlie also markets hay and buys and resells farm-related articles and machinery. Brennan has a herd of 50 meat goats, and Peter still actively helps around the farm. With family cooperation, determination, and hard work, MYLYN and the Jack family will be in Maxville, ON, for generations!

4-H Regional Dairy Championship Show in Metcalfe

Each year the Kemptville College Alumni present the Champion Intermediate Showperson with their award. This year we were proud to present Cooper Smith from Prescott County 4-H Club with her plaque and chair. Cooper then went on and won Reserve Grand Champion Dairy Showperson. The award was presented by Blair Dow, Kemptville College Board Member, to Cooper Smith.

4H Show, 2022-11
Photo by Lyndsay Berry Photography

International Plowing Match and Rural Expo – September 20-24, 2022

The Kemptville College Alumni exhibit was located in the Antiques and Historical Tent at the I.P.M.

Many Alumni members, and visitors who knew grads from the College, dropped in to say hello and share wonderful memories. We also connected with grads who hadn’t previously been involved with the Alumni and updated their contact information.

The Kemptville College Alumni would like to thank the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo 2022, along with Grenville Mutual Insurance Company, Kemptville, Ontario, for sponsoring the delicious luncheon held in the V.I.P. Tent on September 21, 2022.

The Alumni Ad Hoc Committee that created the exhibit consisted of grads Gordon French, Kim Link, Don Good, Liz Mitchell and Audrey Baker, along with former KC staff members:  Linda Reasbeck, Ellen Mooney, Paul Sharpe, Bill Langenberg, Maureen Leeson and Nancy Curtis.  Thank you to all the members for coming to meetings, researching the assigned sections, putting up and dismantling our display, and manning the booth. What a team!

Kemptville College reunion returns following a two-year absence

By Tom Van Dusen 
Ontario Farmer 
September 6, 2022 

 Lombardy – It may have been longer than five years since the death knell was sounded for Kemptville Agricultural College but its relocated alumni is still going strong. 

Even COVID-19 couldn’t terminate the association’s dedication. It held a recent reunion at Lombardy Fairgrounds south of Smiths Falls where a new building was dedicated in 2019 to house alumni artifacts donated by members and removed from the campus under a cloud of controversy. 

After disappointing cancellations in 2020-21 due to the virus, it was a thrill to get together again, said Mary Carver of the class of 1967. The biggest problem was securing overnight accommodations in Smiths Falls and area as grads checked in from across the province and beyond. 

Organizers were delighted with the response from featured years ending in 0, 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7, Carver said. More than 100 guests attended the luncheon and 250 members and partners gathered for the evening buffet centered on a 110-lb hip of beef; she credited Judy Drummond of the Lombardy Agricultural Society and her team of volunteers for catering the “delicious meals.” 

“Due to the heart-breaking demise of Kemptville College in 2016, a strong alumni association is credited with successfully keeping graduates connected and memories alive,” she stated. 

Carver was referring to the decision by University of Guelph to abandon the college and its second satellite in Alfred. The backlash was loud and long-lasting, 

culminating in takeover of the campus by the Municipality of North Grenville and creation of an educational hub mainly catering to regional school boards. 

The association was invited to retain its presence on the repurposed campus but opted instead to relocate to Lombardy, a decision Carver, a professional home economist, and other members welcomed. 

Describing the Lombardy historical building as a “must-see” for grads and former staff members, Carver said artifacts and photos were well-organized for the reunion. The best news given at the annual meeting was that the fundraising goal for the $60,000 archives building has been fully met through donations from members, businesses and other sources. 

Members of honour years are encouraged to contribute an auction item in support of two annual alumni scholarships of $1,000 each offered to students in their second year at an accredited college in food or agriculture; live and silent auction proceeds this year exceeded $3,500. 

The annual Spirit Award was collected (again) by Carver and her Class of ’67 members, with 24 grads in attendance; the award is presented to the honour year that scores highest in attendance at the annual meeting and banquet, greatest number of items donated to, and funds raised, at the auctions; oldest grad in attendance; and number of grads who married a fellow Kemptville grad. Carver is married to Roy Carver of the Class of ’66 who helped conduct the live auction. 

The alumni board is already planning for the next reunion on Aug. 19, 2023, honouring years ending in 3 and 8. However, all grads are invited to attend any reunion. 

Kemptville College Alumni Hosts Exhilarating Reunion

by Mary Carver, Class of ‘67

The Kemptville College Alumni Board was thrilled to hold its Reunion on August 20, 2022, after disappointing cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid restrictions. Overnight accommodations in the Smiths Falls region were scarce as Kemptville grads flooded the area from across Ontario and from out-of-province.

Due to the heart-breaking demise of Kemptville College in 2016, a strong Alumni Association is credited with successfully keeping graduates connected and memories alive. The welcoming Lombardy Fairgrounds was the site of the recent Reunion and where the exceptional College Alumni Historical Building opened in 2019.  Artifacts and photos are well organized and showcased. The historical building is a must-see for all Kemptville grads and former staff members. The best news at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) was that the fundraising goal for the building has been met. More info: https://kcalumni.ca/fundraising/ Members left the excellent AGM assured grads that the Alumni Association was financially strong and in good hands.

Organizers were delighted with the response from featured Honour Years ending in: 0,1,2,5,6 and 7. Members of Honour Years at every reunion are encouraged to contribute an auction item in support of two annual Alumni Scholarships of $1000. each. Auctioneers Roy Carver -Year ’66 and Barbara Newman (Burton) – Year ’67, were kept alert due to competitive bidding. The live and silent auctions proceeds exceeded $3500.

Delicious meals were catered by the Lombardy Agricultural Society in care of Judy Drummond and her team of proficient, local volunteers. Over 100 attended the luncheon and 250 gathered for the evening buffet where a 110 lb. hip of beef was cooked to perfection.  It was tough work to select from the broad assortment of scrumptious home-made pies and desserts. But we managed.

The Sprit Award was won by Year 1967 celebrating 55years since graduation.  Twenty-four members were in attendance – including Marion McKee from Mission, BC and Honorary Member, Nancy Curtis of Kemptville. The Spirt Award is presented annually to the Year that scores highest in the following categories:

  • most members in attendance at the AGM and banquet;
  • greatest number of items donated to and funds raised at the auctions;
  • oldest grad in attendance; and grads who married Kemptville grad.

It was not the first time that Year ’67 won the Sprit Award. The class is indebted to the dedication of its Alumni Reps – Dennis Dick of Bloomfield (back row L) and Ellen Mooney of Kanata (front row L) who work tirelessly to keep members connected.

Year ’67 had 24 class members in attendance at the 2022
Kemptville Reunion and won the Sprit Award.
Photo by Margaret Link.
More reunion photos: https://kcalumni.ca/reunion/

Year ’67 had 24 class members in attendance at the 2022
Kemptville Reunion and won the Sprit Award.
Photo by Margaret Link.
More reunion photos: https://kcalumni.ca/reunion/

Despite any trepidation one might feel abut reuniting with classmates of a by-gone era, be assured that a Kemptville College reunion is guaranteed to exhilarate and revive your youth.  It’s a highly recommended five-year tonic. As grads, we are all ambassadors for Agriculture and Home Economics, so conversation is easy.

The Alumni Board is already planning for August 19, 2023 – the next Kemptville College Reunion honouring years ending in 3 and 8.  Of course, in keeping with the Kemptville College Alumni family spirit, any grad is welcome to attend any reunion. More details: https://kcalumni.ca/reunion/

Mary Carver is a Kanata-based Professional Home Economist, and member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Home Economics Association – OHEA.  She is a proud grad of Kemptville College and former instructor who continues to advocate for Food Literacy in the Ontario curriculum.

For media inquiries contact:

Isabel Kinnear Alumni Board Secretary: isabelkinnear@symptico.ca