Cumming, Melville

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Cumming, Melville

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1876-1969

History

Melville Cumming was the first principal of Nova Scotia College of Agriculture and the namesake of Cumming Hall, the administration building at the heart of Dalhousie University's Agricultural Campus. He was born in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, on 5 January 1876, to Thomas and Matilda (McNair) Cumming. After graduating from Colchester County Academy as a Gold Medalist, he earned his BA from Dalhousie University in 1897. In 1899 he received a BSc in Agriculture from Iowa State College, USA, and in 1900 he was granted another BSc Agr from the University of Toronto, which was affiliated with the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, where he held his first professorial appointment from 1900-1905. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Dalhousie in 1918.

In February 1905, Cumming was appointed principal of the newly formed Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia, where he also taught animal husbandry, agronomy, bacteriology and public speaking. He took on a concurrent appointment in 1907 with the newly formed Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, which he held until 1925. On leaving NSAC in 1927, he moved to Halifax as the director of marketing for Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, where in 1933 he became the head of provincial agricultural statistics. He retired in 1947.

Cumming was active in the wider community, serving as an elder in Halifax's Fort Masse United Church, president of the Men’s Club and superintendent of the Sunday School. He was president of the Truro Canadian Club, vice-president of the Nova Scotia Association, chairman for Colchester County of the Canadian Patriotic Club, president of the Truro Golf Club and of the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children. He was a chairman of the Farm and Finance Committees at the Maritime Home for Girls and honorary vice-president of the Nova Scotia Tuberculosis Association, of which he was a charter member. He was also a charter member of the Canadian Society of Technical Agriculturalists (now the Agricultural Institute of Canada) and a member of the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists. In 1905 and again in 1907, he travelled to Scotland to purchase Clydesdale, Hackney and Thoroughbred horses. The administration building (Cumming Hall) at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College was named in his honour.

Melville Cumming was married to Mary Alice Archibald in 1905, with whom he had two sons and three daughters. He died on 16 April 1969.

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Nova Scotia Agricultural College (1905-2012)

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Dates of the relationship

1905 - 1927

Description of relationship

Melville Cumming was the first principal of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

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