A member of Queen's first class of students, Wardrope is notable for leaving one of the few existing accounts of the days leading up to the university's opening in March of 1842. He and two other original students, Lachlan Macpherson and John MacKinnon, drove to the university in a hay wagon all the way from their homes near Guelph.
They travelled for five and a half days, sitting and shivering on their trunks the whole way. On their arrival in town, they had difficulty finding anyone who had even heard of the new university. Eventually, they found a man with the likely-sounding Scottish name of Donald Christie.
He referred them to another local Scot, Alexander Pringle, who turned out to be one of the university's Trustees. He not only directed them to Queen's first home on Colborne Street, but took them all to board in his "snug cottage" to await the beginning of classes on March 7.
Wardrope became a Presbyterian minister after leaving Queen's and later served on the Board of Trustees.