2013 Recipients

This year at Homecoming, we honoured three graduates whose accomplishments are of such excellence that they provide inspiration and leadership to future generations of Macdonald graduates.

Macdonald Distinguished Alumni Award

Robert S. Broughton, PhD’72

After a range of farm experiences in central southern Ontario, Robert Broughton studied and obtained the degrees: BSA in Agricultural Engineering from OAC (1956), BASc in Mechanical Engineering from U of T (1957), SM in Water Resources Engineering from MIT (1959) and PhD in Soil Science from McGill (1972). Prior to joining McGill, Robert tested tillage machines for John Deere, followed by a stint with the Ontario Government, working with biologists, foresters and agrologists on a range of flood control, erosion control, reforestation, in-stream biological habitat and hydrologic problems. In 1961, he joined the Department of Agricultural Engineering of McGill to teach and do research on soil and water problems. He served as Department Chairman, and as Director of the McGill Centre for Drainage Studies. On retirement in June 1998 he was named Emeritus Professor.

Robert has travelled extensively studying current soil and water engineering research and practice, establishing many partnerships and collaborations. He has carried out field investigations and designs for irrigation and drainage projects in Barbados, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Pakistan and Trinidad. He was a team leader for professional training courses on the design and construction of irrigation and drainage systems in Canada, Egypt, India and Pakistan. He served the Canadian Committee on Irrigation and Drainage of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage for many years, for which he received the CANCID Lifetime Achievement Award. Robert served on various professional committees; the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineering recognized his contributions with the Maple Leaf Award in 1978, the James Beamish Award in 1989, and by making him a Fellow in 1981. He was awarded the LLD (Honoris Causa) by Dalhousie University in 1989, inducted into the International Drainage Hall of Fame at Ohio State University in 1994 and made a Fellow of ASAE in 1996.

Professor Broughton served as Project Engineer for irrigation and drainage facilities on Macdonald Campus lands from 1962 to 2006. This included collaboration with many professors as well as the Facilities managers, Athletics and the Macdonald Farm. Wherever possible, students were employed on the field investigations, design, construction and maintenance of these projects, which included the McEwen Field and the JAC upper sports field (built for Macdonald students in 1967). Many students and graduates participated with Robert on projects at Macdonald and in the countries in which he worked. He has guided the thesis research of 74 students.

Read message from Professor Broughton.


Macdonald Distinguished Alumni Award

Harold W. Cook, BScAgr’68, MSc’70

Dr. Harold William Cook (PhD Biochemistry, Dalhousie) has had an outstanding career as a researcher, academic administrator and national and international contributor.  In his recent administrative career, he served both as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (2003-2009) and Inaugural Dean and Principal of the new Faculty of Agriculture (2012-2013) at Dalhousie University. As medical dean, he established a Saint John campus for a medical degree for New Brunswick students. His Agriculture Deanship managed the transition from the former NSAC to a Dalhousie environment, addressing merger issues with faculty, staff, students, and alumni. During his term as Associate Dean, Research for the Faculty of Medicine, research funding increased to >$45 million.

Harold served on the Boards for the IWK Health Centre and the Capital District Health Authority in Halifax and now sits on the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation. He chaired the Directors Board and Council of Deans for the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and now serves as a Member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. He currently works on a committee to establish an educational centre at the provincial New Ross Farm museum. Harold has engaged in church leadership in each community where he has resided.

As Senior Scientist, Atlantic Research Centre and Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harold became a leading authority on essential fatty acid metabolism related to early brain development. Use of brain cell cultures allowed him to investigate effects of lipids on programmed cell death. He served as networking chair for the Neuroscience Network (NCE), associate editor for two international journals and reviewer on several research grant panels.

Harold held sabbatical positions as visiting associate professor at UBC, professor at Harvard and honorary professor at Shantou University Medical College in China. During 2010-2011, he and his wife, Helen, toured medical education and clinical delivery facilities in China with the People-to-People organization; later he spent seven weeks helping establish an all-English medical program at Shantou, sponsored by the Li Ka-shing Foundation. For four years, he annually visited the International Medical University of Malaysia to develop international medical training standards.

Harold Cook is permanent President of the Macdonald Class of 1968 and previously received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 2007.


Macdonald Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Billy Beaudry, FMT’06

After three years of study in the farm management and technology program in 2006, Billy Beaudry joined his parents on the family farm. With his input, the farm went from cultivating 440 ha of land in small grains, corn and soybeans to 630 ha today. The farm also has a swine operation of 100 sows farrow to finish and finishing 2100 hogs on contracts. In 2010, Billy’s sister Cindy also joined the enterprise after her studies at Mac.                 

McGill definitely increased Billy’s desire for knowledge. Every year he attends many training courses covering different aspects of agriculture. He also had the chance for some special training on surface water management in Australia.

Precision farming is one of Billy’s specialties; he now prepares some land-forming designs for other producers and gives some surface water management classes during the winter. He is also on his second year of trials with NDVI sensors that help regulate nitrogen variable rate application in corn. This technology will help reduce nitrogen use and increase yields. Precise yield maps also allow Billy to easily compare different trials in the fields and quickly notice if there’s a problem in one of them. Grain marketing is another task on the farm that Billy has improved over the years. He established his own farm marketing plan that has helped maximize revenue.

McGill gave Billy an opening to the world that helped him and his family reach their productivity and environmental goals on the farm enterprise. Apart from the business, Billy and his wife, Geneviève, are the proud parents of Émile and William. As farming will always be a family thing, Billy dreams of seeing one of his children join the ranks of McGill in the future!


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