In memory of Professor emeritus Terry Gillespie

Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Professor emeritus Terry Gillespie (January 5, 1941 - December 2, 2018) was a valued member of the School of Environmental Sciences and the Department of Land Resource science for many years. Dr. Gillespie was one of the first students to obtain a PhD from the University of Guelph. He later became a professor in the Department of Soil Science, later renamed Land Resource Science. His research focus was on meteorology and the application of meteorology to agriculture. He published around hundred papers many of which focus on how weather influences the occurrence of plant diseases, affects crop microclimates and influences irrigation needs for agriculture. Another aspect of science he was passionate about was ground-level air quality and its effect on the environment. Throughout his career, he won several prestigious research awards. 


In 2004, he was honoured with the title of "Fellow of the Canadian Society of Agrometeorology". That fellowship is the highest honour awarded by that nationally recognized society. In 2006, he received the Andrew Thompson Prize in Applied Meteorology from the Canadian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society for his outstanding scientific contributions.


Besides his significant research contributions, Terry was an excellent and inspiring teacher. He taught Meteorology from 1968 - 2011 and shared his passion with thousands of students. Students appreciated how much he cared about every single one of them. His ability to explain very complex concepts in an easy and approachable way was legendary. He genuinely cared about the success of his students and ensured that everyone was able to understand the concepts. Moreover, he also had the knack to make students laugh and to keep them engaged by his animated teaching style.  


Terry's interest in education was furthered by his involvement with the Office for Educational Practice. Between 1983 and 1986, Terry was the coordinator for Instructional Development at the University of Guelph. He was committed to supporting his colleagues and was always willing to offer teaching advice. He coordinated and organized several teaching workshops not only in Guelph but also abroad, for example in Ghana and China. His lifelong passion for education was recognized in 2002, when he was awarded the highest national honour for innovative teaching and leadership in pedagogy, the "3M Teaching Fellowship" from the 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning. Before that, he also won the Guelph Faculty's Distinguished Professor Ward in 1984 and the Agricultural College Alumni's Distinguished Teacher Award in 1986.


After his retirement, he became a professor emeritus. After the merging of Land Resource Science with the Department of Environmental Biology in 2009, he was a member of the School of Environmental Sciences. During his retirement, he remained an essential part of our school, serving on student advisory committees and regularly attending school events. He continued his scientific legacy and remained the passionate and inspiring mentor to his students and colleagues he always was.




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