The Dhillon School of Business celebrated its annual scholarship dinner by honouring Ralph A. Thrall III and the McIntyre Ranch – and raised $30,000.

The event, held last Friday, brought in $30,000 for the Ralph Thrall McIntyre Ranch Scholarship Fund and a scholarship from this fund will be given out to a Dhillon School of Business student each year at the University of Lethbridge.

As president, CEO and COO of the McIntyre Ranch, Thrall is part of the third generation of Thralls to run a successful beef cattle business on the ranch, which was established in 1894 by William H. McIntyre. Since the inception of the McIntyre Ranch, both the McIntyre and Thrall families committed to stewarding the land by leaving native grasslands undisturbed and refusing to overgraze them.

The commitment to sustaining native grasslands on the property has allowed rough fescue, Alberta’s provincial grass, to grow abundantly on the land. The fescue, which feeds the ranch’s approximately 3,000 cattle throughout the winter, supports biodiversity on the land including more than 130 species of birds and 366 different plant species.

Only 35 per cent of southern Alberta’s original grasslands remain and a number of years ago Nature Alberta declared the McIntyre Ranch nationally significant.

Kerry Godfrey, Dean of the Dhillon School of Business, says that when choosing a recipient for this year’s honour, they looked for someone whose values aligned with the Dhillon School of Business’ nearly 40-year history of responsible and sustainable value creation, both in business and society at large.

“For us, Ralph Thrall III was a great choice,” Godfrey said in a news release from the U of L. “His commitment to sustainability has allowed him to effectively manage a successful ranching business, it has contributed to environmental conservation and it has benefited our local community and beyond.”

During the evening, Thrall was presented with an original work of art depicting the McIntyre Ranch by award-winning local artist Don McIntyre, an Ojibway of the Wolf Clan from Timiskaming First Nation. During its 32 years, the scholarship dinner has raised more than $1.6 million for student scholarships.

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