Encouraged by the local, national and international leadership of Memorial alumni, by increasing international recognition, and spurred by the need to reach beyond our traditional borders, Memorial University is expanding its outreach activities to key centres as diverse as Clarenville, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Ottawa, Toronto, New York, Houston, London (UK) and Hong Kong. We remain steadfastly focused on the strengths and unique needs of this province and its people, but the course we are charting is global in its scope.
On June 3, 2003 Mr. John C.S. Lau, president and CEO of Husky Energy presented a cheque for $2 million on behalf of that company to Memorial University. The gift established the Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research, the first permanently endowed chair in the university's history.
At the event Mr. Lau told the assembled dignitaries, officials and oil executives that the creation of the senior research chair demonstrates Husky's confidence in Memorial University's "ability to conduct research to meet the ever-changing needs of the petroleum industry."
During 2002-03 over 6,000 alumni and friends of Memorial, including individuals, corporations and foundations, donated an additional $3.1 million. Total pledge commitments to the university amount to a further $22.2 million. With these funds the university supported existing scholarships and bursaries, created 23 more, purchased teaching and research equipment and renovated teaching areas. The Inco Innovation Centre, now under construction, will open in 2004.
To foster stronger connections among its 50,000+ alumni, we increased our efforts in Internet-based communications. This includes the launch of a popular monthly e-newsletter Luminus Express and an online community where alumni can contact classmates, give or get advice on careers and travel, share news, access email for life and post their business cards.
Alumni are key players in strengthening Memorial's presence in their home communities. And we are keen to recognize alumni's valuable achievements both professionally and as volunteers. The launch of the Alumni Tribute Awards in November 2002 celebrated 20 years of alumni recognition with a new expanded program. In addition to the traditional alumnus or alumna of the year, awards were added for professional achievement, for community service, for service to Memorial, and for individual achievement under age 35 years.
In Ottawa the second annual Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador event celebrated Memorial University and the Province. Plans are being laid for annual Affinity events in other large Canadian and international centres.