(Oct. 31, 2002, Gazette)
Lt.-Gov. A. M. House
The outgoing lieutenant- governor of Newfoundland and Labrador
has strong ties with Memorial University of Newfoundland that began with
Memorial University College, span his career and have continued throughout
his time in office.
The Hon. A. M. House, as lieutenant-governor, is also the official Visitor
to Memorial University. Although this role is poorly known and responsibilities
are little used, it is a significant position within the overall governance
and function of the university.
Im happy Ive never been required to use some of the
responsibilities of the Visitor because a number involve arbitration of
a significant nature and some of the decisions taken by the Visitor are
not even open to appeal to the courts, said Dr. House. Like
a lot of other similar appointments, the position tends to be primarily
ceremonial and the legal authority is not used but this doesnt
atrophy or die.
The lieutenant governors less formal connections with Memorial include,
not surprisingly, technology. As an international pioneer in the field
of telemedicine, Dr. House is the first lieutenant-governor in Canada
who has a fully documented electronic record of all activities during
his term on the Government House Web Page, which is housed on the university
server. This Web page includes a virtual video tour of Government House,
based on filming done by the universitys media services for an event
at the Labrador Campus of the College of the North Atlantic on Sept. 20,
2001. The university also offered technical assistance to Government House
in setting up video conference capacity with a wireless link to the international
For the first time ever when Premier Roger Grimes and his cabinet
were sworn in, the event was broadcast over StemNet throughout the province.
Dr. House also credits Memorial University with doing a magnificent
job in bringing last years Beaumont-Hamel celebration to the
province and the country, via CBC TV and NTV, by sending a media crew
to France to film the events. The School of Continuing Education broadcast
the opening of the Beaumont-Hamel Visitors Centre live from France
July 1, 2001.
Another legacy of his term in Government House is the annual Honourable
A. M. House Lecture on Literacy, to which he committed funding for five
This office has provided me with an opportunity to support the cause
of literacy in which I was interested for some time before I came in here.
As a neurologist, I was naturally involved in communications and in education
generally. I have been aware that we have an unacceptable low rate of
literacy and, despite the excellent progress made by government and literacy
groups, there is much more to be done. I have been able to champion the
cause of literacy by recognizing activists and events in the field and
attending conferences. In a concrete way, a lectureship at the university
speaks to the important role the university should play, particularly
as it educates and trains our future teachers.
Another cause Dr. House has championed during his term as lieutenant governor
is history. He is a member of the advisory council of Historica,
a recently established national history organization, and he and Mrs.
House hosted a ceremony to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Newfoundland
Quarterly, which first published in July 1901. In conjunction with
that event, the Quarterly Foundation announced the Lieutenant-Governors
History Essay Award for 2001, and Lt.-Gov. House provided a prize of $1,000
for the winner.
The last formal reception at Government House during Lt.-Gov. Houses
term was, serendipitously, a reception earlier this week to celebrate
the 25th anniversary of the Telehealth and Educational Technology Resources
Agency (TETRA) Centre. Pioneered by Dr. House, Memorials expertise
in telemedicine has earned an international reputation as a leader in
the use of information technology and telecommunications to non-urban,
remote and isolated areas. Today TETRAs resources are used by a
province-wide consortium including health, education (secondary and post
secondary), social, government and private agencies. TETRA celebrated
its 25th anniversary with a conference titled The Way Forward: Telemedicine
For Lt.-Gov. A.M. House, his career has, indeed, been the way forward.
From an appointment in 1966 as associate director of postgraduate and
continuing medical education at Memorial, through his years in the medical
school and developing TETRA, he has kept abreast of the latest developments
in technology and helped develop resources to enhance education and health
throughout the province.