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Milestone for affinity dinner in Calgary

By David Penney

After five years, it's clear that the Memorial University Calgary Affinity dinner has become a mainstay among Newfoundland and Labrador expats and Memorial alumni in the Calgary area.

Memorial University's President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gary Kachanoski was joined by many of Canada's top energy executives and almost 300 alumni and friends for a dinner at Calgary's Petroleum Club this week. It was a true celebration of Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial University.

General Rick Hillier (ret'd), chancellor of Memorial University, delivered a moving keynote address, and as master of ceremonies, popular Newfoundland actor and comedian Jonny Harris entertained a sold-out room.

Dr. Kachanoski talked about the connection between the affinity dinner's success and the commitment of the volunteer organizing committee, as well as the strong support of alumni and friends in Calgary.

"The success of an event like this one is not automatic. It requires two very important components. The first is an extremely dedicated group of volunteers, and the organizing committee here in Calgary has once again delivered a top-notch event," he noted in his opening remarks.

"The second and most important component of our success is the incredible support demonstrated by our alumni and friends who come out to celebrate our province and our university.

Karl Smith, chair of the Calgary organizing committee, spoke about the importance of giving back, and how the Calgary dinner has blossomed over the last five years.

"This event is all about paying it forward, and the benefit to students in the form of scholarships is extremely important. We have raised more than $250,000, and that is something to be proud of," he said. "After five years, I think we've established a great event here in Calgary. We have a core group who really get behind this dinner and look forward to it every year. Along with that, our corporate support is just fantastic. We have no intention of slowing down."

Dr. Kachanoski spoke about the strong relationships that are fostered at events like the Calgary affinity dinner, noting that direct support for scholarships is one of many gains for Memorial.
"The strength of the relationships between Memorial and our alumni and friends is intimately tied to our progress as a university. They sponsor our co-op students and internships, hire our graduates, pursue further education, promote our university and actively recruit the next generation of Memorial students."

The affinity Newfoundland and Labrador dinners are Memorial University's premier alumni event. The dinners take place annually in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. Over the years, thousands of alumni have attended the dinners across the country demonstrating their support for Memorial students and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.