Cap-tivated: Frosh at the O.A.C.

Back to school time is right around the corner. Bright eye students getting ready for a fresh start and settling into a new school year. Before there was the University of Guelph, there was the Ontario Agricultural College (O.A.C.). It was one of the three founding colleges which would one day make up the University of Guelph. The college began with the purchase of William Stone’s 550 acre farm in 1873 and the enrollment of the first students – 31 men — in May 1874. It wasn’t until more than 40 years later, in 1918, that the first women enrolled at the OAC.  By 1903, the Macdonald Institute started offering classes in home economics. Soon after, the Ontario Veterinary College moved to Guelph in 1922. These three colleges united in 1964 to establish the University of Guelph.

First-year university students have long been known as freshmen – or more commonly – Frosh. Frosh go through a variety of orientation activities to familiarize them with campus and university life and are often easily identified.

The Ontario Agricultural College (O.A.C.) in the 1940s had a very easy way of identifying their Frosh. Frosh had to wear red and navy beanie with a large label on the front that said FROSH in big bold letters. The label also had the student’s name, his residence room number and where he was from. There was no escaping the fact that you were new to the school.

This cap belonged to Floyd E. Roadhouse who attended the OAC from 1940-1943. After graduation, Floyd became a chemistry professor at the OAC in 1944 where he continued to teach for forty years. He was honoured with a scholarship in his name. Floyd married Mildred Cormie in 1944 and they raised 4 children in Guelph. Floyd was also an active member of Harcourt Church and the Guelph Horticultural Society.

Images:  Floyd E. Roadhouse’s Frosh Hat, OAC, 1940 | 2012.5.52
OAC Frosh in front of War Memorial Hall, 1940 | 2012.5.51

Posted by Sarah Ball on August 30, 2019

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