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Going further than today

Memorial University was founded in 1925 by a group of visionaries who saw a need to expand Newfoundland and Labrador's educational opportunities beyond what was available in the post-First World War era. Envisioned initially as a teacher-training college, the founders created the basis for a university that today has more than 17,000 students in six faculties and six schools. This past year, the university's leaders continued to build for Memorial's future with steadily increasing enrolments, new services and facilities that create an environment of innovation and learning for students, faculty and staff.

Enrolment numbers on the rise

Since 1999, Memorial University has seen an almost nine per cent increase in enrolment overall, and the numbers continue to climb. This past year total student enrolment increased by almost four per cent to a total of 17,222 students, compared to 16,561 in 2002. This increase resulted from the fact that over 60 per cent of eligible high school graduates in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador enrolled in Memorial University. Memorial is also attracting more international students, with recruiting efforts focused on the Gulf States in the Middle East and in Far East and South Asia where many students are seeking a modern, North American university education. On the graduate student front, the university increased its enrolment by 9.3 per cent to 2,015 in 2003. The university's goal is to double the number of graduate students over the next three years.

Landmark donation has vision

(L-R) Premier Danny Williams, Dr. Axel Meisen and Doug Meikle, executive vice-president of operations, Landmark Graphics Corporation.

Memorial University is now home to some of the most advanced visualization software in the oil and gas sector, thanks to a $19-million donation from Landmark Graphics of Houston, Texas. This software will greatly improve the ability of researchers to visualize offshore oil and gas reservoirs and to make decisions about reservoir management and development. As part of the donation, Memorial University will create a Visualization Centre, a specialized facility that will be unique among North American universities. The immersive, active-stereo simulation facility will use Landmark software to view seismic, geological and drilling data. Memorial will be the only university in Canada to offer this kind of educational and research facility. This is the second major contribution to Memorial by the software company. Landmark's first software grant, in 2000, helped Memorial garner $2 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the federally-funded Atlantic Innovation Fund.

Petro-Canada Hall

Petro-Canada, the lead operator of the Terra Nova offshore oil development and participant in the White Rose project, donated $1.2 million to fund the construction of a new music rehearsal and performance hall on the St. John's campus. The Petro-Canada Hall, set to open in early 2005, will complement the highly utilized M.O. Morgan Music Building. The extension will be an outstanding resource for the entire music community, with more than 195 m2 of additional space. The new Petro-Canada Hall will also position the School of Music to expand its performance and conference capabilities to meet the needs of the local community. Equipped for both recording and Web-casting, the facility will enable the School of Music to participate in real-time distance instruction and multi-site rehearsal activities.

INCO Innovation Centre

Work to turn Memorial's former Thomson Student Centre into the Inco Innovation Centre, a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility, continued this past year. Inco Ltd. has committed $13 million towards the capital cost of the facility and $1 million annually for seven years for operations and maintenance. The federal government has invested over $13.1 million (including $4.4 million for capital) over a five-year period through the Atlantic Innovation Fund. Approximately 50 per cent of the 8,400 m2 of space will be home to a wide range of research and educational facilities including the Early Incubation Space, a dynamic space for entrepreneurs and inventors to work together on innovative ideas related to industry, the School of Graduate Studies, the Office of Research, and the office of the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies. To serve the general needs of the university and the community, there will be a 300-seat lecture theatre, as well as space for community research initiatives such as SafetyNet, an alliance of health researchers concentrating on safety issues. The remaining 50 per cent of the building will be dedicated to research on mining and processing for the exploration of Voisey's Bay deposit.

New and improved dining hall

During the summer of 2004, R. Gushue Hall in Paton College underwent a major renovation. The project was a result of the new partnership between Memorial University and the university caterer, Chartwells. As a result of the renovations, Chartwells is now offering students its innovative Profiles in Good Taste residential meal plan. The traditional steam lines and 1960s equipment have been replaced with several stations featuring state-of-the-art equipment such as an oversize propane-fired pizza oven in an air-conditioned dining area. The hallmarks of the new food program are greater variety, individual portions, vegan and vegetarian approved menus, and made-to-order service, including boxed lunches.

The Commons

Memorial University now has a research support facility in the Queen Elizabeth II Library - widely recognized as one of Canada's largest and best academic libraries - that will make it even more useful and convenient for students and researchers alike. In addition to the existing services and facilities, the library now contains a sophisticated networked computing work area - dubbed the Commons - that helps students and other users craft and polish their research projects using word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software. The Commons also has the capability of assisting students who wish to incorporate multimedia materials, such as video and photographic elements, into reports and papers. A collaborative effort of three units of the university - Computing and Communications, the Queen Elizabeth II Library and the Writing Centre - the Commons draws on the technical, research, and writing expertise of these units to offer students improved access to the library's extensive resources.

Residences get top ranking

This year Memorial University's residences ranked amongst the very best in an international survey of 233 institutions, with a ranking in the top 10 per cent on six of the 15 analysis factors. Memorial University scored highest on the following factors: overall resident satisfaction; understanding self and development of leadership skills; opportunities to participate in hall; fellow residents; and roommate(s). Memorial University residences received their highest score ever on what the survey says is the top predictor of overall residence satisfaction, interaction with others in the hall. This past year, Memorial also introduced RESnet, a wireless Internet service, which enables students to access the Internet from the comfort of their own rooms. This service became available in the fall of 2004 to all of Memorial's on-campus housing students in St. John's. Wireless access will also be installed at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and at the Marine Institute.

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