“What is more to the point, as we take command of our own economic and
social destiny, we must also ensure the survival of civility and of strong cultural
traditions...the survival of shared community values of hardihood...and,
the survival of what is a very special Newfoundland characteristic,
the ability, even in the hardest of times, to see the funny side of life....”
Dr. Leslie Harris, Memorial’s fifth president, passed away on Aug. 26, 2008. Born in St. Joseph’s, Placentia Bay, he received a BA and MA from Memorial and a PhD from the University of London. He joined Memorial’s History Department in 1963, was named department head in 1964, acting dean of Arts and Science in 1966, dean in 1967, and vice-president (academic) and pro vice-chancellor in 1973. He became the first graduate of Memorial to be named president and vice-chancellor, taking up the post on Sept. 1, 1981. Dr. Harris presided over an era of unprecedented growth on the St. John’s and Corner Brook campuses. While Dr. Harris was president, Memorial established a fine arts program at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and the Fine Arts Building was constructed. On the St. John’s campus, the School of Music building opened, and government announced funding of over $25 million for the construction of a new building to house the Centre for Earth Resources Research. Dr. Harris retired Aug. 31, 1990. He was an Officer of the Order of Canada.