2010 Recipients

Macdonald Distinguished Alumni Award

Harold Blenkhorn, BScAgr’50

Harold Blenkhorn was born in Cumberland County Nova Scotia. He spent his early youth providing cheap labour on the family farm, learning the three Rs at the local one-room school. He also learned to play a few chords on a T. Eaton guitar. He acquired further education at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and then on to Macdonald. To quote from the class of 1950 Clan Macdonald… “Harold entered Mac in 1948 as a junior, guitar and all.”

Harold majored in what was then known as Agronomy Soils. Through the 1950s he was variously employed in soil fertility research and as an industrial chemist. In 1961 he joined Brockville Chemicals – a manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizers as Technical Advisor, also serving as Chief Agronomist.

In 1968 he was transferred from Brockville to Montreal, taking up residence in Beaconsfield. Thus began a long association with his alma mater – not only in alumni activities, but because of his line of work, an interest in plant nutrient research with Dr. Gus MacKenzie, now retired, but for many years taught chemistry and soil science.

Harold’s interest in agronomic science continued after retirement in 1989. He maintained his association with Mac, taking part in research projects on nitrogen fertilizers. On one occasion, when Dr. MacKenzie had to be absent due to an overseas CIDA assignment, Harold served as a guest lecturer in a course on soils and fertilizers that MacKenzie was teaching at the time. Harold has also recently served as a scientific advisor on the National Standards Board Committee on Organic Agriculture.

Concerning the guitar connection… from the Melody Macs and Green & Gold Revues of student days, to the hootenannies following the discovery of folksongs in the 1950s and ‘60s, Harold’s guitar has been part of him through the years. It was also part of the Mac Centennial anniversary in 2006-2007, playing accompaniment to the “Songs of the Century,” a special concert which he helped organize.


John Robert Ogilvie, BScAgr’54, P. Eng., P. Ag (Dist)

John Ogilvie was born in Ottawa and graduated from Macdonald College, McGill University with a BScAgr in 1954. He obtained a MSA from the Ontario Agricultural College (1960) and a PhD from Purdue University in Indiana (1971).

John began his career as an engineering extension specialist with the Ontario Department of Agriculture. He joined Macdonald College’s faculty in agricultural engineering in 1963 and served there until 1977, the latter 6 years as department chair. As president of the Macdonald branch of the McGill Graduates Society during Expo ’67, he hosted many Mac graduates in residence. He joined the University of Guelph as Director of the School of Engineering (1977-1988). He retired in 1995 and became a University Professor Emeritus in 1996.

John's principal interest in teaching and research is in ventilation of agricultural structures and in agricultural systems. He co-authored more than 100 technical papers and 5 book chapters. He advised on 16 MSc and PhD theses during his career at Macdonald and at Guelph.  Several technical, professional and community organizations have honoured him for his services. Since retiring, he developed computer software for manure management with a multidisciplinary team. He established and operated a website for the Canadian Agricultural Engineering Society (1997-2003). He continues his work, of more than 40 years, with Scouts Canada, recently receiving the Bar to his Medal of Merit.


Macdonald Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Oriana Familiar, BSc(AgEnvSc)’06

McGill alumna Oriana Familiar first started raising environmental awareness as a volunteer in her community with Eco-Quartier distributing pamphlets and recycling bins as well as participating in garage sales.  Most important, she visited schools to teach students about proper waste sorting and composting representing When You Teach You Learn and Gorilla Composting from McGill University which collects academia food waste for the purpose of composting.  Her volunteer and academic experience along with her work for the City of Côte Saint-Luc have been essential in her understanding of the need for proper initiatives that motivate members of the community to get involved in environmental issues.  She presently coordinates Côte Saint-Luc’s EcoAction Committee where volunteer residents meet with City Councillors to discuss the City’s different waste diversion projects, environmental issues, and ways to get involved in the various initiatives and related events in an effort to implement and improve environmentally-friendly practices in residences, schools, and institutions.

First as a Waste, Environment and Safety Technician and now as Waste and Environment Forewoman, Oriana has in the last three years implemented recycling services in all 5,000 Côte Saint-Luc’s single family houses and duplexes as well as in all 140 apartment buildings.  She also implemented organic waste collection to all 5,000 houses, 4 schools and municipal buildings. This last initiative makes Côte Saint-Luc the only city in the whole island of Montreal to offer this kind of environmental service to residents.

In 2008, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognized the City of Côte Saint-Luc’s organic waste collection as an effort to demonstrate leadership in sustainable community development.  In April 2009, the environmental group CRE-Montreal (Conseil régional de l’environnement) and the City of Montreal also honoured the City of Côte Saint-Luc for its organic waste collection program at the third annual Gala de reconnaissance en environnement et développement durable de Montréal.

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