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Kemptville alumni open memorabilia building

The building will provide a place of focus for graduates of the now-closed college

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The historical artifacts from Kemptville College have a new home.

The grand opening of a new building for the now-defunct college’s artifacts was celebrated at the alumni’s annual reunion held at the Lombardy Fairgrounds over the Aug. 24 weekend.

Why it matters: Kemptville College educated generations of Ontario farmers before it was closed in 2015. Alumni are eager to keep its history alive.

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The Kemptville College Alumni Historical Building was built on fairground land donated by the Lombardy Agricultural Society and paid for by donations raised from college alumni, agribusinesses and ag-related organizations across Eastern Ontario and beyond. Fundraising started in 2017 and donations to date have reached $60,000 and counting.

“The support has been wonderful,” said Audrey Baker, Kemptville College Alumni president. “The full cost of the building has been covered and now the extra funds will go towards cabinetry and the other extras needed.”

The 24′ x 40′ building has 10′ ceilings, propane heating, LED lighting and no windows to give more wall space for displays.

Kemptville Agricultural School (KAS) opened in 1917 and was renamed Kemptville College of Agriculture and Technology (KCAT) in 1967. In 1997 it affiliated with the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph and in 2006 it adopted its latest name, the Kemptville Campus of the University of Guelph. In 2014, the University of Guelph announced that Kemptville Campus would close once current students had completed their studies, which happened in 2015-16.

“After Kemptville College closed, we weren’t sure what to do with all the memorabilia that was stored there,” says Baker. “These items are important to so many of us, yet they mean nothing to our kids so there is no point leaving things to them. Alumni wanted these artifacts to go to a good place where they could be shared and appreciated, and the Lombardy Agricultural Society was good enough to work with us to do just that.”

Among the many treasured items on display are class photos, uniforms, jackets, sports items, trophies and more. The Kemptville College Alumni are continuing to accept memorabilia for display. For donations or enquiries please contact Audrey Baker at [email protected]

The grand opening of the Kemptville College Alumni Historical Building was held in conjunction with the alumni’s annual reunion attracting about 100 people to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The day’s events included a lunch, the alumni’s annual general meeting, and the grand opening of the new building followed by a dinner attended by about 185 people and of course, lots of socializing and catching up with long-time friends and classmates.

With this year’s celebration in the rear-view mirror, organizers are looking forward to next year’s reunion, which is always the third week of August. Ms. Baker suggests alumni, “save the date Aug. 22, 2020, and plan to have a great time again at the Kemptville College Alumni reunion at the Lombardy Fairgrounds.”

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