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President highlights past year's success at Rotary

By Mandy Cook

Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University, delivered the university's annual report to the community in an address to the Rotary Club of St. John's at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland on Thursday, April 12.

Dr. Kachanoski highlighted an extensive list of the major activities and achievements by the university to the assembled group of Rotarians.

The list included investment in Memorial's Labrador Institute facilities in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador West and North West River and the faculty and staff working and researching there; claiming the title of "Canada's Oceans University" thanks to the university's global reputation for fisheries science, simulation, ocean safety and aquaculture; the appointment of Dr. Lesley James as the inaugural Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering; and the completion of Dr. Kachanoski's leadership team through the appointment of an associate vice-president (Grenfell Campus) research, an associate vice-president (Grenfell Campus) academic and an associate vice-president (Grenfell Campus) administration and finance in Corner Brook.

"Great things are happening at Memorial and we have our remarkable faculty, students and staff to thank for that," said Dr. Kachanoski. "I am pleased to highlight just some of our successes to the Rotary Club. It is important Rotarians – and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians – know what is happening at their university, and how Memorial continues to contribute to the province's bright future."

Dr. Kachanoski also pointed out the national awards and titles in competitions garnered by students in the fields of co-operative education, mathematics and business; the prominence of Memorial faculty and staff from the Marine Institute's Centre for Marine Simulation, the Faculty of Business Administration and the School of Social Work in international media reports; Memorial's Genesis Centre being named Canadian Business Incubator of the Year; the Memorial curling team taking the silver medal at the Karuizawa International Curling event in Japan; and Dr. Clark Ross, a faculty member in the School of Music, nabbing a Juno award nomination.

As well, Dr. Kachanoski outlined the main challenge for the university during the past year. Statistical reports indicate that Memorial continues to experience significant enrolment growth – including a six per cent increase in graduate studies, a 5.3 per cent increase at Grenfell Campus and a 1.1 per cent general increase, bumping overall enrolment to just under 19,000 students.

"All of this is great news for the university and for the province, but success does come with challenges," he said. "Space at our Elizabeth Avenue campus and Marine Institute is at a premium, and in programs such as kinesiology and engineering, we are receiving two to three times the number of applications for the available seats. Infrastructure renewal, particularly core science facilities, has become the No. 1 priority at Memorial."

However, the president stated a vision for future anchor facilities has been developed. An exploration of how to optimize existing space, an investigation into appropriate and affordable off-campus space and an internal assessment of space needs have all begun, he said.

Dr. Kachanoski also highlighted the release of Memorial's latest annual report, Great Minds Think Differently, President's Report Highlights 2011. Like the other twists on well-known axioms found inside the brochure, the report acknowledges that innovation — exploring the world, its people and their ideas from different perspectives — is a critical part of what Memorial does as an institution of higher learning.

A complete copy of Dr. Kachanoski's speech is posted at www.mun.ca/president.

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