Retired U of M ag dean Bob McGinnis, 83

A memorial service will be held Thursday in Winnipeg for plant scientist Bob McGinnis, who served as dean of the University of Manitoba’s faculty of agriculture and food sciences from 1979 to 1989.

McGinnis, who taught at the U of M for 28 years, died July 5 at age 83.

Born in Edmonton and raised on a farm near Westlock, Alta., McGinnis earned his master’s degree from the University of Alberta in 1951. While working as a cytogeneticist for Agriculture Canada in Winnipeg, he received his Ph.D. in 1954.

McGinnis went on to join the U of M’s plant science department in 1960 and became department head in 1965, according to his obituary Saturday.

The McGinnis family then moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 1973 where McGinnis headed a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) project to breed rust-resistant varieties of wheat for Kenya’s Highlands and trained Kenyan scientists to manage the station’s operations. In 1975, he and his family moved to India where he headed international programs and training for the International Crops Research Station for the Semiarid Tropics.

McGinnis returned to Winnipeg in 1979 to become the U of M’s dean of agriculture, and after retiring from the U of M he began consulting on ag research in countries including Kenya, India, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan.

The U of M in September 1989 set up the Robert and Lenore McGinnis Meritorious Student Award, given each year to the student who graduates from either the degree or diploma ag program with the highest cumulative grade point average over the final year (two years) while registered for at least 80 per cent of a full academic course load, to help the student in getting established in his or her career after graduating.

McGinnis in 1993 received the Agricultural Institute of Canada’s International Agricultural Development Award for contributions to agricultural development in Canada and internationally.

The memorial service for McGinnis will be held Thursday (July 16) at 10 a.m. at Fort Garry United Church at 800 Point Road in Winnipeg. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Robert and Lenore McGinnis Meritorious Student Award or to the Dr. R. Kelly McGinnis Scholarship Fund at the U of M’s St. John’s College.

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