Dr Robert Gordon

Class of 1985

The 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented to Dr. Robert Gordon NSAC class of 1985.

Nova Scotia Agricultural College alumnus Robert Gordon is known for his passion for agriculture, his enthusiasm for teaching and learning, and for his dedication to public service. Robert has a long history with Nova Scotia agriculture and NSAC. Born in Ontario but raised in Nova Scotia, he graduated from NSAC with an engineering diploma in 1985. He joined the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing in 1988 as Provincial Climatologist. Robert also earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering and a master's degree in agricultural physics from McGill University and a PhD in land resource science from University of Guelph.

In 1999 he became an associate professor at NSAC and has since served as dean, department head, and Canada Research Chair. Robert was named Dean of Research in 2006. As dean, he managed multi-faceted research and outreach programs that supported the growth and innovation of the agricultural sector, in addition to administering technology transfer and outreach programs and creating new industry research chairs. At the same time, Robert also had the energy to hold another major job and headed the environmental management section of the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture.

A leading authority on climate-related issues in Canada, Robert held the Canada Research Chair in Agricultural Resource Management, which focused on identifying adaptive resource management issues at the farm level. He was also an adjunct professor of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and Dalhousie University, a member of the graduate faculty at University of Guelph and an honorary research associate at the University of New Brunswick.

Robert was the chief administrator of the Nova Scotia Environmental Farm Plan Program and chaired the science and the innovation chapter of the province's Agricultural Policy Framework. He also sat on a number of boards including Conserve Nova Scotia, the Berwick Energy Centre, AgraPoint and was active with NSERC, including the grant selection committee. He is also a former chair of the Canada Committee on Natural Resources under the Canadian Agricultural Research Council.

In 2007, Robert was presented with the Premier's Award of Excellence, the most prestigious award a Nova Scotia public servant can receive. He also received the Young Engineer of the Year Award from the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineering, the Young Agrologists Award from the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists and the first Graham K. Walker Memorial Award for Excellence in Agrometeorology from the Canadian Society of Agrometeorology.

After a stellar career with NSAC and the Province of Nova, Robert took the position of Dean at Ontario Agricultural College in August 2008. In the short time since he took the position he has made hundreds of contacts with the leaders of Ontario’s agriculture industry as a way to forge stronger relationships among the University of Guelph, the federal and provincial governments, agri-business leaders and consumers.

Robert Gordon has dedicated his career to the public service of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic region and now Ontario by implementing creative and innovative solutions to problems in agriculture and the environment. He has made numerous contributions to applied research and outreach programs, environmental training and education.

Robert has truly distinguished himself in his area of expertise, bringing honour to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. He is most deserving of the Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2008.