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Calgary celebrates an affinity for Memorial

By Jennifer Batten

Memorial University alumni and friends in the city of Calgary have once again proven their pride and support for their university and for Newfoundland and Labrador.

On June 13, almost 300 alumni and friends, including many of Canada's top energy executives, celebrated with Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial's president and vice-chancellor, and keynote speaker Premier Kathy Dunderdale, at the sold out annual Calgary Affinity Dinner at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in downtown Calgary. As the evening's emcee, Newfoundland native and well-known Canadian actor and comedian Jonny Harris kept guests on the edge of their seats with his entertaining banter.

Premier Dunderdale delivered a thought-provoking keynote address titled Bold and Tenacious: Driving Growth and Prosperity in the New Newfoundland and Labrador. She talked about the remarkable progress of Newfoundland and Labrador over the past several years, the province's strong connection to Alberta and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's commitment to Memorial University and its continued success.

"I want to commend the Memorial University graduates among us tonight who are doing so much to fuel Calgary's extraordinary growth," she said. "You are fine ambassadors for Newfoundland and Labrador but I am hoping that some of you – as well as others both here and abroad – having seen the new dawn rising on the country's easternmost coast, will consider the opportunities that await you in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Dr. Kachanoski thanked Premier Dunderdale for the support of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, credited the dedicated volunteer-based organizing committee for the event's success and lauded the outstanding support of Memorial alumni and friends in Calgary.

"Since the inaugural Calgary Affinity Dinner in 2005, individual and corporate donations from the dinners have resulted in almost $300,000 for scholarships at Memorial," said Dr. Kachanoski. "You all should be very proud of this."

The evening concluded with remarks from Karl Smith, chair of the Calgary Affinity Dinner organizing committee and president and CEO of Fortis Alberta. He noted that the Calgary Affinity Dinner gains momentum year after year, reflecting the hard work and dedication of the organizing committee and of Memorial alumni and friends in the Calgary area.

The Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador dinners are Memorial University's premier alumni events. Since their inception, thousands of alumni have attended the dinners across the country demonstrating their support for Memorial students and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.