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University of Guelph receives $20M gift to fund Arrell Food Institute

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ArrellFoodTORONTO – The University of Guelph has received a $20-million gift that it says will help the southwestern Ontario school become a leader in the agri-food revolution.

The university says the gift from two alumni – Tony Arrell and his wife, Anne – is the largest it has ever received.

The money, and a matching commitment from the university, will be used to create the Arrell Food Institute.

The Arrell family, who created the Arrell Family Foundation in 1999, took part in the gift announcement Wednesday in Toronto.

The university says the funding will support new research chairs and scholars, international food innovation awards and an annual conference.

University president Franco Vaccarino calls it a “landmark gift” and says it will allow the institution to address the challenges of food security, safety and sustainability.

Along with recent government and private funding – including a $77-million award from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for the Food From Thought project – this new gift brings the total investment in agri-food at Guelph to more than $150 million in the past 12 months.

Vaccarino said Guelph is the top agri-food school in Canada, with a 150-year history in agriculture and a global reputation for excellence, and is “uniquely positioned to make a difference.”

Tony Arrell said the institute will “influence research, policy, practice and behaviour,” and “its impacts extend nationally and globally.”

Prof. Evan Fraser will direct the Arrell Food Institute and says the gift will help the university and Canada “lead the agri-food revolution.”

“The same technologies that created the Internet and are transforming medicine are now being applied to farmers’ fields and to food processing factories,” Fraser said.

Fraser said the Institute will “harness and direct the energy and knowledge to help Canada develop the technology to feed tomorrow.”