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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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February 19, 2004
 In Brief


In Brief

MUN swimmer tops the country
Swimmer George Colbert of Memorial University was named Canadian university athlete of the week earlier this month.

Mr. Colbert collected seven medals en route to being named swimmer of the meet at the Atlantic University Sport swimming championships. The native of Mount Pearl won gold in the 100-metre backstroke, 50 backstroke, and 100 butterfly, took silver in the 50 butterfly, and helped the Seahawks to bronze medals in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays, and 400 medley relay.

Gander alumni get look at doc
The Memorial University Alumni Association is hosting a special event to screen the documentary Letters From Eliza, in Gander on Monday, Feb. 26. The doors open at 7:30 for an 8 p.m. screening at the College of the North Atlantic, room 201. Admission is free and there will be complimentary snacks afterwards.

This moving story of exile and family reclaimed was filmed in Patagonia, Argentina, and in Newfoundland. Principals from the film development and production will be on hand to give a short overview and to answer questions.

The made-for-television film documents the life of Eliza (Elliott) Lewis of Fogo, Newfoundland. As a young girl in 1914 she left with her newly married mother and her stepfather Bill Downer to move to Patagonia, Argentina. Though she lived to be 103 she never again returned to Newfoundland. But through her letters she stayed in touch with various members of the family back home. The most prolific and prolonged letter writing took place between Eliza and Mary (Payne) Scammel. These two best friends corresponded for almost 90 years until Mary died in the 1980s.

Filmmakers Dave Quinton and Don Downer traveled with a camera crew to begin this film in the spring of 2000. In Patagonia, they tracked down and interviewed relatives, and visited hometowns, grave sites and ranches. Eliza Lewis celebrated her 100th birthday with cameras rolling and the governor of Santa Cruz (now president of Argentina) present. Two of her offspring returned to Newfoundland in 2001 and were filmed at Fogo and at Eastern Tickle visiting the former dwelling sites of relatives.

Eliza Lewis died in October of 2002, one month short of her 103rd birthday. She had viewed a rough cut of the film, however, before her death.

For more information please call 709-737-4354, toll free 1-877-700-4081 or email

Irish and Canadian travel scholarships

The Ireland Canada University Foundation, which is chaired by former president Dr. Patrick Hillery and Dr. Craig Dobbin from Newfoundland, is offering short visit travel scholarships both ways this year, for Irish scholars to visit Canada and Canadian scholars to visit Ireland.

The ICUF scholarship program has been operating since the establishment of the foundation some 10 years ago, but this is the first year that scholarships are being offered for Canadian scholars to visit Ireland.

These scholarships are sponsored by commercial companies in both Ireland and Canada, and are targeted at young emerging scholars to support their research in topics which relate to both Ireland and Canada.

Details of the foundation and of the scholarships is available at

Craig Dobbin sponsored the chair of Canadian Studies in UCD in 1993 and the foundation was established shortly after. He is the chairman and CEO of the CHC Helicopter Corporation which is the leading helicopter leasing company in the world. He also acts as the honorary Consul General for Ireland in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Dobbin received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Memorial University in 2000.

Peer recognition
Engineering alumni and MBA student Mark Gillingham has been chosen one of three semifinalists for the CIBC student entrepreneur of the year award. The competition started with 120 applicants from across the country and last weekend, Mr. Gillingham travelled to Halifax where he beat out two other competitors to become the Atlantic Canada and Quebec finalist. Now, he's up against three other entrepreneurs for the $2,000 prize.

Mr. Gillingham, a 27-year-old from Gander, is one of the owners of Cathexis Innovations Inc. which provides wireless asset management solutions that allow for rapid and efficient deployment of barcode, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). The founders of Cathexis, Mark Simms, Colin Power, Steve Taylor and Mark Gillingham, are all graduates of Memorial's undergraduate engineering program in electrical and computer engineering.

The idea to start a company grew out of the term six robotics project and the four then formed the company in 2001, a year before graduating. Cathexis now has about 14 people on staff and they have just signed an international contract to grow their business. In addition to the cash prize, Mr. Gillingham says the media recognition for the company and being recognized by his peers as having succeeded in his entrepreneurial goals is worth just as much. Mr. Gillingham is currently working on an MBA at Memorial University. The winner will be chosen on May 11 at the CIBC Student Entrepreneur of the Year gala dinner in Toronto.


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Next issue: March 4, 2004

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