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March 4, 2004
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Promoting university in presentations, meetings
President carries message to province

Craig Harnum (L) with Dr. Axel Meisen

Photo by Pamela Gill
Craig Harnum (L), program co-ordinator and instructor with the Safety and Emergency Response Training (SERT) Centre in Stephenville, demonstrated the abilities of one of the large fire trucks on site to President Axel Meisen during a recent visit. Dr. Meisen toured the centre Feb. 18. While in Stephenville, Dr. Meisen also made a presentation to the Stephenville Rotary Club and met with partners at the College of the North Atlantic.

By Peter Morris
Memorial’s president, Dr. Axel Meisen, has been on a bit of a whirlwind recently with speaking engagements to community groups, television appearances and meetings with municipal, provincial and federal officials to outline the successes and challenges facing the university.

In presentations to the Rotary Club of St. John’s – his annual state-of-the-university address – the Rotary Club of Stephenville and, more recently, the St. John’s Board of Trade and on the Out of the Fog television program, Dr. Meisen has sketched a picture of the recent growth of the university and plans for its future development.

He has also brought that message directly to politicians and public officials in meetings with St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells, councillors and senior officials from the City of St. John’s, Premier Danny Williams and the provincial ministers of education and finance, and the federal minister of ACOA. He also met briefly with Paul Martin when the prime minister was in St. John’s for the East Coast Music Awards.

His message has focused on the importance of Memorial to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social development of our province. He has highlighted both generally and specifically the manner in which the university contributes to our communities.

“The university is important to the people of this province,” said Dr. Meisen. “I think it’s important for me and other members of Memorial to take the time to discuss our development, to bring the message of our successes directly to our community leaders and to hear what they have to say about the university.

“A good example of outreach is the research showcase presented in early February by members of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. Memorial has been very successful in recent years, particularly in attracting research funds from outside the province to support our students. This success is the result of the tremendous efforts made by our faculty and staff, as well as the steady support of the Board of Regents and the provincial government.”

The president intends to continue to deliver this message as broadly as possible throughout the province. “When I can talk about, for example, how a university research project is contributing benefit to a community, it connects that audience directly to Memorial,” he said. “Recently, in Stephenville, I was able to use the example of Dr. Trevor Bell’s (Geography) research related to climate change in the Bay St. George region. This research provides a tangible connection between the environment in which the audience lives and our work at Memorial.

“I also spoke about the new Safety and Emergency Response Training (SERT) facility, which our Marine Institute is operating in Stephenville and which greatly adds to the economy of the region. Such specific information is always well received and reinforces our macro message that Memorial University is key to the future and prosperity of our province.”


 


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Next issue: March 18, 2004

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