Newest honour for renowned Guelph researcher

November 10, 2016
Written by Olds College
Nov. 10, 2016, Olds, Alta. – Dr. Masaru James (Jim) Tsujita is the latest inductee into the Olds College Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremonies were held during the annual alumni reunion over the weekend of July 23 and 24 this past summer.

 "It was a great surprise to receive such an honour," said Tsujita.

The award is yet another reflection of his passion and expertise.

“The Olds College Alumni Association gives special recognition to alumni or former staff who have distinguished themselves by going above and beyond in making important contributions to their community,” said association president Mallory Norgard in welcoming Tsujita into the Hall of Fame.

Tsujita has been a leader in the agriculture and horticulture industries for over 60 years. His career in academics and research has been a shining example of the excellence that comes with a rural Alberta upbringing, an Olds College education and a passion to follow your dreams.

FARMING ROOTS

He grew up on the family’s mixed farming operation in southern Alberta, which included irrigated sugar beets, seed potatoes and a cow-calf operation.

In 1956, he attended what was then known as the Olds School of Agriculture. Upon completing his studies he farmed for a number of years before returning to post-secondary studies. He received his bachelor of science in agronomy/horticulture from Utah State University (1962), and his master’s of science in plant science and horticulture from the University of Alberta (1964).

He then returned to Olds College, this time as an instructor. The next 10 years were spent teaching the bright young minds of Olds College in the two-year agricultural technology program.

He also spent time as the head and senior instructor in the plant science department. He was also a coordinator for the crop and soils technologies, applied research, Growers Program for Hort Week programs, in addition to serving as coordinator of technician retraining for Agriculture Canada’s research stations for Western Canada.

CAREER BEGINS AT UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

In 1974 he attained his doctorate at Ohio State University and was offered a position at the University of Guelph. He retired in 1995 after 20 years at Guelph and was offered a position as professor emeritus.

Tsujita was involved with the University of Guelph, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Flowers Canada.
Throughout his career, Tsujita maintained an active research program with a focus on understanding the influence of new production technology on plant morphology and nutritional requirements.

He influenced high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting on growth and productivity of greenhouse grown crops, particularly cut roses, chrysanthemums and zonal geraniums. His studies strongly contributed to the widespread adoption of HPS lighting throughout northern production regions of North America.

TIRELESS COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

Things weren’t all about work, as Tsujita was a dedicated community member. A former chairman of the Olds and District Recreation Board, chairman of the Kiwanis Club Ice Carnival, vice-president of the Olds College Faculty Association, and one of the founding members of the Canadian Greenhouse Conference (CGC) in 1979, he always valued the community as a whole. Indeed he is still dedicated to the Canadian Greenhouse Conference committee years after his retirement.

“I would like to thank Olds College and the Alumni Association for this honour,” said Tsujita. “While I grew up and began my career on the farm, Olds College gave me the knowledge and experience to succeed in my career, and as a community member.”

The Olds College Alumni Association praised Tsujita “for his support of the College and the horticulture industry that so many of our graduates strive to succeed in.”

HELPING STUDENTS SUCCEEED

Dr. Allan Armitage, his first graduate student, recently retired from the University of Georgia. Other grad students are employed in educational institutions and government agencies. The majority of his former students are employed in the horticultural industry throughout Canada.

Among other awards over the years:

• The Henry Heiner Award (1986) from the Joseph Hill Memorial Foundation (presented by Roses Inc.) for excellent research in the North American rose industry.

• Flower Canada’s Person of the Year Award (1986) for outstanding contributions to the Canadian floral industry.

• The Cecil Delworth Award (1999) for outstanding leadership and devotion to the welfare of the Canadian floral industry, along with its Silver Hat Award for continued support of floricultural research and education.

He has also received certificates of appreciation from the Colorado Greenhouse Growers Association (1988), the CGC for 10 years of service, and from the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science in recognition of his service as president in 1986/87.

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