Anderson-Chisholm family gifts 19,000 acre working ranch to University of Calgary

Two well-known southern Alberta ranchers are lifting the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine on to the global stage with a transformational donation that will create a world-class teaching, learning and research facility.

JC (Jack) Anderson and his daughter Wynne Chisholm are donating their 19,000-acre ranch and its assets to the university.

Chisholm says their hope is that this gift, which is valued at $44-million, will transform the teaching, learning and outreach experiences at UCVM.

“I would like the University of Calgary’s researchers, scientists, and profs to be our future rock stars,” said Chisholm. “I want them to be the celebrities that people think of and want to talk to when they have questions about where does our food come from?  How are animals taken care of on a ranch? What is animal care and what is animal welfare and what is the difference?  So I think this gift will help them do that.”

U of C President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Elizabeth Cannon says this will create a unique opportunity for students to engage in immersive learning, develop their professional skills and make the connections between human, animal and environmental health

“Wynne, Bob, and Jack have been committed to animal health and welfare for a long time and for them to see the value that we could create within the faculty of veterinarian medicine to further the research and really push the discipline in this space it’s fantastic,” said Cannon.

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Chisholm says the cattle industry has been in her Dad’s blood since he was very young.

“My Dad became involved in the cattle industry actually because him and a friend of his went to an auction just out of high school and they bought a steer together and then they fattened it up and sold it and Dad just thought this is it and so he was hooked from that moment on.”

Chisholm says her Dad passed on that love of animals to her and it resulted in them going into business together and formally incorporating as W.A. Ranches in 2005.

“He’ll be 91 in October and he still has daily ideas on things we can do to be improving and growing the ranch operation.”

The Dean of the Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine, Dr. Baljit Singh says W.A. Ranches will provide the University with unprecedented educational opportunities.

“The ranch will allow us to create a gathering place and a discussion platform to understand what society is talking about when it comes to food production systems,” said Singh.  “So, there is a transformational impact of this gift from the Anderson – Chisholm family to be able to gather our community at the ranch for the purpose of understanding cow health, environment and generating the knowledge that industry needs to stay competitive and sustainable in the coming decades.”

Chisholm says it has always been important to her and her father to support agricultural education endeavours.

“Working collaboratively the Veterinarian Medicine Faculty with other faculty members of the university and other students we’ll be able to create research and information and ideas that none of us can probably envision right now.”

The ranch will be transferred to the university in November.