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Novel Ideas: Presidentís report released

By Ivan Muzychka

Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president of Memorial University of Newfoundland, has officially released Novel Ideas: The 2008 President’s Report.

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, Dr. Campbell met with Education Minister Joan Burke to formally present her with a copy of the document. The report was presented to the university’s Board of Regents on Oct. 16, and elements of the report were presented at the university’s fall convocation ceremonies held a couple of weeks ago.

The 2008 President’s Report is a website and a 48-page brochure that includes highlights of the university’s major accomplishments over the past year. Both the web version and the highlights brochure contain the university’s financial statements and an array of statistics on the province’s only university, the largest post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada.

This year’s report has been issued under the conceptual theme of novel ideas. The report includes a number of stories – covering research, teaching, and community involvement activities – that draw their names from famous novels. Dr. Campbell’s message – titled Life of Pi – evokes his background as a mathematics professor and researcher.

“The stories here tell of our commitment to ingenuity, of people who see things differently and learn by questioning conventional wisdom. Ultimately that’s what a university does,” Dr. Campbell noted in his message. “I’m acting president at this wonderful university where we are adding important new chapters to our story. The work of our students, our professors and our staff benefits the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and beyond. As in any good novel, their stories are engaging and thought provoking. We hope you enjoy them.”

“Memorial University is a dynamic place and is embarking on one of its most exciting periods of its history,” Dr. Campbell noted. “The university will play a crucial role in the development of the province as it moves into a new era of growth and prosperity. The stories told in this year’s report are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of what Memorial offers our province, the country and the world.”

The 2008 President’s Report will also be distributed to community and business groups, educational leaders, as well as to major donors, granting councils and other university supporters. Copies of the report’s highlights brochure can be requested by calling (709) 737-8663 or e-mailing View the full report online at

The report was produced in-house at Memorial by staff in the Division of Marketing and Communications and the Department of Computing and Communications.

Highlights from the past year

• The Telltale Heart – Medical researcher Dr. Terry-Lynn Young’s discovery of the arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) gene is the focus. ARVC occurs in some families in Newfoundland and Labrador and can cause sudden death.

• The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Human Kinetics professor Dr. TA Loeffler led a group of women to summit Mount Kilimanjaro this past year. She also received a major national teaching award. Dr. Loeffler was one of just 10 Canadian university professors to receive this year’s 3M National Teaching Fellowship, the only one of its kind in Canada, which goes to those who exemplify the very best in innovative teaching at the post-secondary level.

• Sense and Sensibility – Engineers at Memorial worked towards creating a form of gasoline that has no harmful inhalants. Opal gasoline was first developed in Australia to combat substance abuse. Drs. Andy Fisher Kelly Hawboldt and Faisal Khan of Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science are preparing to release their work on a similar product that can function in the cold climate of Labrador, where gas sniffing remains a problem.

• On the Road – Remzi Cej is no stranger to the road. Born in Kosovo, he spent the past 10 years in Newfoundland and Labrador. He is now settling into his first year as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, England. As the 100th nominee for the Rhodes Scholarship in Newfoundland, this 2008 Memorial graduate is building on his joint honours degree in French and German.

• The Colony of Unrequited Dreams – In keeping with the book-based creative concept, the report is dedicated to Dr. Leslie Harris, who served as Memorial’s president from 1981-1990, who was himself an author, and a person who appreciated novel ideas and books.

• Student enrolment was steady again this year, with a total of 17,642 students enrolled in degree and diploma programs.