$44-million gift from Anderson-Chisholm family will transform veterinary education and research

By University Relations Staff

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. 

With the gift of their 19,000-acre cattle ranch operation, J.C. (Jack) Anderson and his daughter Wynne Chisholm are transforming veterinary education and research at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM). Today the university announced this 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.

“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,” says 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 leaders in the cattle producing and ranching industry, introducing new technology and practices to their ranch. This includes finding new cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to improve their cattle and grass. Anderson and Chisholm’s gift of W.A. Ranches to the university is in addition to their generous contribution in 2014 of $5 million to establish the Anderson-Chisholm Chair in Animal Care and Welfare at the University of Calgary, currently held by Dr. Ed Pajor.

W.A. Ranches at University of Calgary, 44-million gift from Anderson-Chisholm family veterinary education calgary's faculty of veterinary medicine

“We are gifting the assets of our ranch to the University of Calgary to create a world-leading centre of excellence in beef cattle research,” says Wynne Chisholm, BA’79. “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. 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 public health institutes are physically co-located.

“The gift of a cattle ranch of this size and calibre offers unprecedented educational opportunities within the dynamic and innovative teaching model practiced at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. “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 centre of excellence in beef cattle health.”

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

Anderson and Chisholm’s gift is part of the university’s ongoing fundraising campaign, Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High. Thanks to this generous gift from Anderson-Chisholm, the campaign is currently at $1.06 billion towards its overall goal of $1.3 billion. 

Photo courtesy of W.A. Ranches