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Greetings to convocation, Jessica McCormick

Executive director of external affairs, students’ union

Good afternoon Mr. Chancellor, The Honourable Premier, Honourable Minister, Mr. Chair of the Board of Regents, Mr. President, Members of the Board of Regents, Members of the Senate and Faculty, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; my name is Jessica McCormick and I am the Executive Director of External Affairs with the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union – Canadian Federation of Students, Local 35.

I’m honoured today to officially welcome Dr. Kachanoski to the Memorial University community on behalf of all students, including those represented not only by my union, but also by the Graduate Students’ Union, the Marine Institute Students’ Union and the Grenfell Campus Students’ Union.

The province is at an exciting juncture. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador now have the resources to invest in a just and sustainable society.

On the education front, successive provincial governments have listened to students, their families and the university and college communities by investing in post-secondary education and the results are becoming evident.

Not only has student debt decreased but enrolment has gone up, and the province has been attracting a growing number of students from other provinces and countries.

And let’s be clear – these students are coming for the affordable, high quality education.

And I would know; I am one of those students who left Nova Scotia to come to Memorial and now proudly call this province my home.

From Nova Scotia to Australia, from Lab West to St. John’s, and everywhere in between, students have come from across this great province, across the country, and around the world to receive the accessible, high-quality education that Memorial has to offer.

I am proud to be a part of a university community and a province that embraces the idea that regardless of your socio-economic background or where you reside, if you have the ability and the desire, there should be nothing that stands in the way of pursuing your post-secondary education aspirations. I am also happy to report that, after working with Dr. Kachanoski over the past few months, he shares this vision.

The Memorial University mission statement reads: Memorial University is an inclusive community dedicated to creativity, innovation and excellence in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and to public engagement and service. We recognize our special obligation to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Memorial University is more than a group of buildings in St. John’s and Corner Brook, it is more than a place where you simply get your degree and move on, it is more than a place where people work, professors teach and research is conducted in labs, in the libraries, or in the field. Memorial University is an idea – the idea that a better world is possible and that education is the key to transforming possibility into reality. It is a living legacy and memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be here today and we must never forget this.

I am confident after having the opportunity to work with Dr. Kachanoski over the past few months that he is definitely the right person to guide this great institution, this great idea, this living legacy into the bright future that lay ahead.

Dr. Kachanoski, on behalf of the over 18,000 students represented by the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union, the Graduate Students’ Union, Marine Institute Students’ Union and Grenfell Campus Students’ Union, I’d like to welcome you and your family to Memorial University.

We look forward to working with you and wish you the best of luck.