Gord Surgeoner, widely known for his significant contributions over a long and varied career as a scientist, educator and agri-food booster in biotechnology and cutting-edge manufacturing, is about to be inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in Milton.
The Fergus native said Wednesday he felt honoured, highly appreciated the recognition, but was "humbled, too" because of the illustrious inductees that have preceded him.
Ironically, Surgeoner said what stands out most over a long and varied career, where he's been in constant contact with farmers, is the wealth of knowledge they have, including those without university degrees.
"There's a famous quote: Don't let you're your studies interfere with your education," he quipped.
"(I'm) very impressed with Ontario farmers and I've learned an incredible amount from them," Surgeoner said.
Not only are farmers good at what they do, but they're among the innovators he's spent a working lifetime associating with, said Surgeoner, president of Guelph-based Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, an organization promoting biotechnology and other emerging scientific expertise.
He's among four Ontarians to be inducted June 8 into the Hall of Fame Gallery at Milton's Country Heritage Park. The others are Bobcaygeon-based agricultural banker George Arnold; Dublin's Art Bolton seed producer and the late St. Marys fertilizer industry leader Robert Hutton, who died last year.
Surgeoner was an entomologist and environmental biology professor at the University of Guelph from 1976 through 2005, where he focused in particular on researching insect-borne disease control. He had a particular fascination for and expertise about mosquitoes. Among highlights, he received the Ontario Agricultural College's distinguished teaching award in 1989.
Between 1990 and 1998, he chaired the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition.
The Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association noted in a release he was a "champion of new technologies to improve health, the environment, the growth of new business as well as new opportunities in the farming sector" over his career.
Between 1990 and 2000, he served as an advisor for Guelph-based AgCare, a resource and environment organization, which merged in 2011 with the Ontario Farm Animal Council. He also helped launch Ontario Agri-Food Technologies in 1998.
Surgeoner continues to regularly address agricultural organization on farm issues, and has two such speaking engagements on the horizon.