Alfred - Marcel Paulhus, the Collège d’Alfred’s first principal, has died. He passed away last September 5th in Alberta after post-surgery health complications. Saskatchewan-born Mr. Paulhus, had moved to Alberta after retirement from OMAFRA.
Many will remember a person deeply devoted to his career and to the agricultural world. He was a key player in the implementation of Alfred’s French-language college of agriculture. In 1980, he was appointed by the Minister of Agriculture to the ministry’s ad hoc committee mandated to study the feasibility of creating a French-language agricultural college. The committee having recommended favorably such an implementation, the government of Ontario announced later that same year that the college would open in 1981. Mr. Paulhus was then appointed the college’s first principal and mandated to set up the institution for a fall 1981 opening.
Jean Poirier from Alfred, a former MPP, has but fond memories of having worked closely with Marcel Paulhus during that period. In 1979, Poirier, then a community development officer with Prescott & Russell ACFO, was mandated to study to possibility of having a French-language agricultural college established on the campus of the closed Saint-Joseph School in Alfred. In the summer of that same year, he carried out a community-wide survey that strongly favored an independent French-language institution. The Ontario Minister of Agriculture then named Poirier and others to the ad hoc feasibility committee. This is when Poirier started a close and long-term association with Marcel Paulhus, also a member of the ministry’s committee.
“I am quite saddened to hear of Marcel’s passing. I remember Marcel as a person who tirelessly devoted himself to the difficult task of creating such an institution in a very short period of time and ensuring its success. Marcel was a most likeable individual who was able to establish strong ties so that the college would become a key element in the French-language agricultural and food community.”
Alain Lavigne, a prominent dairy producer from Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott and a former president of the Union des cultivateurs franco-ontariens, is also saddened to hear of Mr. Paulhus’ departure.
“Marcel was the heart of the college. From the very beginning, he realized that it wasn’t right for the Franco-Ontarian community to be still without its own agricultural college, a key educational institution first formally requested of the Ontario government in 1910, some 70 years earlier. He immediately supported us in our request. He made sure that the college would become a true reflection of the Franco-Ontarian community. He understood well our needs and had established close links with the farm producers.”
Marcel Paulhus graduated the University of Alberta’s Agricultural program. In 1969, he started his long-serving career with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture as an assistant ag. rep. to Laurent Farmer in the county of Prescott. Afterwards, he obtained ag. rep. positions in Northern Ontario at Kapuskasing and North Bay. He then became Russell county’s ag. rep. and soon afterwards was named the Collège d’Alfred’s first principal.
After the University of Guelph’s departure from Alfred, the college then became part of Ottawa’s La Cité community college and is now called l’IFRA, l’Institut de formation et de recherche agroalimentaire.