Address to Convocation
May 23-25, 2007
This is the consolidated text of the Reports to Convocations delivered in St. John’s by Dr. Axel Meisen, President and Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Eddy Campbell, Vice-President (Academic) and Pro Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Chris Loomis, Vice-President (Research); and Mr. Kent Decker, Vice-President (Administration and Finance)
Welcome to convocation.
This is a special time in your lives. Convocation is also a special time in the life of the university, our faculty and staff.
Students are our reason for being here. Seeing you grow from your first days entering university to the success you enjoy today is a rich reward.
You, our graduating class, are the embodiment of all the successes we enjoy as an institution and as a province. This is truly a time for celebration.
It is also a time for reflection as it signals a transition in your lives. Many of you will now move to develop careers and, in the years to come, you will become the leaders in this province and abroad. Those of you who choose to further your education in graduate school or elsewhere, you move from a time when knowledge comes from books to creating knowledge that goes into the books.
No matter which path you choose, your experience and Memorial University degree will serve you well.
Joining us in celebration today are our honorary graduands:
• Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire
Romeo Dallaire had a distinguished 35-year career in the military. His dedication to world peace, self-sacrifice and courage saved the lives of thousands of people in 1994, when he led the United Nations mission in Rwanda. We recognize Lt.-Gen. Dallaire for his leadership of Canada’s peace-keeping efforts.
• Wayne Johnson
Wayne Johnson is one of this province’s most prolific and admired authors. A native of the Goulds and an alumnus of Memorial University, Mr. Johnson is internationally-acclaimed as both a novelist and memoirist. His writing has been recognized with a number of national and international awards and prestigious nominations.
• Moyra Buchan
Moyra Buchan will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree in acknowledgment of her contributions to the recognition and solution of mental health problems in this province. A native of Scotland, Ms. Buchan has lived in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1979 where she has worked tirelessly as a key advocate on mental health and social justice issues. Her major work has been in public education, advocacy and community development in the areas of mental health and mental illness.
• Dr. Jack Clark
Jack Clark is being recognized today for his contribution to Memorial University, to the community at large and to the engineering profession. Dr. Clark served as president of Memorial’s research entity, C-CORE, from 1984 to 1997 and as its principal consultant from 1997 to 2005. Under his leadership, C-CORE became an internationally renowned engineering research and development organization.
• Barbara Hopkins
Barbara Hopkins is being recognized for her work in contributing to the understanding and treatment of autism. Ms. Hopkins is a native of Toronto who moved to Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1970s and eventually started a lengthy association with Memorial University, particularly in the Faculty of Education. She is perhaps best known for her volunteer work, particularly with the Autism Society of Canada and the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, of which she is a co-founder.
• Miller Ayre
Miller Ayre is recognized for his contributions to Memorial and the community-at-large in Newfoundland and Labrador. A prominent business leader, Mr. Ayre is perhaps best known as the publisher of The Telegram, the daily newspaper in St. John’s. Mr. Ayre has a strong connection with Memorial and particularly our Faculty of Business Administration.
• Bruce Cockburn
We honour Bruce Cockburn for his music and his commitment to the betterment of the world. An artist, musician and poet, his music career has spanned four decades. But Mr. Cockburn is more than a world-class musician and songwriter. He is a man with a strong social conscience and an abiding dedication to the principles of social justice.
• Hayley Wickenheiser
We recognize Hayley Wickenheiser for her athletic achievements, her dedication to advancing the cause of women in sport and her perseverance. A native of Saskatchewan, Ms. Wickenheiser was the most valuable player on Canada’s gold medal-winning women’s hockey teams at the Winter Olympics in 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2006 in Torino, Italy. Ms. Wickenheiser has been described as the greatest female hockey player to ever play the game. Aside from a phenomenal on-ice career, Ms. Wickenheiser is also an elite softball player, and was a member of Team Canada at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
All the honorary graduands are extraordinary people and we are honoured that they share this convocation with us.
We are also pleased to be joined during convocation by His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Edward Roberts. His Honour regularly attends convocation and other functions in his role as Visitor of Memorial University.
I draw your attention to the fine, new suite of convocation furniture on stage today, consisting of the convocation mace table, five chairs, a signing table and bench, and two lecterns. These are gifts in honour of Dr. Harry Roberts, who was an outstanding leader in our community and who passed away not long ago. On behalf of the entire Memorial University community, I want to thank you, Your Honour, and your brother Douglas for your generosity to our University.
Chancellor’s Awards and Fry Family Foundation Awards
I also want to acknowledge some new awards that we present as part of Spring convocation. They are called the Chancellor’s Award and the Fry Family Foundation Award.
The awards are presented to a graduating student, at the graduate and undergraduate level, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in student affairs during his or her university years.
Joshua Quinton, who will graduate with a bachelor of commerce degree is the inaugural winner of the awards in the undergraduate student category.
Darcy McMeekin, who will graduate with a masters degree in education is the inaugural winner of the awards in the graduate student category.
Congratulations Joshua and Darcy and, on behalf of our students, I thank you for your extraordinary involvement in Memorial University life.
Last year, we introduced the university’s new logo and brand. Under the slogan “Become” we launched a marketing strategy designed to attract adventurous students to this wonderful university. The slogan was meant to inspire and inspire it did.
Two of our students, Andrew Mercer and Olivia Heaney wrote a song called “Become” that reflects on the impact Memorial University can have on a student’s life.
Andrew will receive a bachelor of commerce. And we are delighted that during convocation he will be performing the song.
As you know, Memorial University holds a special place in Newfoundland and Labrador. As the province’s only university, it has a special mandate to support our social, economic and cultural development.
Your university is now set to embark on an era of considerable change.
We have just concluded the development of a new strategic plan that envisions growth in our student population, in facilities, in programs and in services.
The people of this province have great faith in the ability of Memorial University to help them reach their aspirations. During our strategic planning consultations we heard time and again that they believe that a strong, provincial university is key to their individual development and the development of their communities. We took those thoughts and words and we’ve woven them throughout our new strategic plan. They become the basis on which we will grow this university in the years to come.
The people of the province and of Memorial University have helped us shape the core values and principles to which the university is dedicated. Those values are articulated in the strategic plan and include:
• Quality and excellence
• Creativity, ingenuity and innovation
• Equity, equality and diversity
• Collegiality and co-operation
• Responsiveness and flexibility
• High ethical standards
• Accountability and Transparency
Growth Agenda: Enrolment
The central element of the strategic plan is growth. We plan to increase our student population from the current number of 17,400 to 20,500. This will, of course, involve continuing to attract graduates from high schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.
However, the provincial school-age population is declining and we will therefore also look for other students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
We intend to attract more mature students, i.e., students who are in their 20s, 30s and older and who did not go to university upon leaving high school. Amongst them will be many aboriginals, homemakers and persons wishing to leave relatively low-skill, temporary jobs.
We are also looking for students elsewhere in Canada and abroad. Our enrolment from other provinces has increased significantly in recent years and we expect to be able to grow those numbers even more. The high quality of our educational experience combined with our low tuition fees, our enhanced recruitment efforts and our new marketing initiatives are all contributing to the growth of these numbers.
We also intend to increase our graduate student enrolment in a major way.
The graduate students can participate in our growing research activities. Our research income has increased rapidly and now stands at approximately $90 million per year. Under the strategic plan we will grow that to $100 million per year.
Research features prominently in the Strategic Plan and we use the occasion of Spring Convocation to release our annual Research Report.
This year’s report highlights the spirit of discovery, the diversity, creativity and vibrant culture of research at Memorial.
The Report is available on the web and copies are in hard copy. I invite you to read it and learn more about our research activity.
Research is about more than just dollar figures. It’s about findings and discoveries and expanding the base of our knowledge. That is why in our strategic plan we emphasize the needs of the province as a driving force in the future of Memorial University.
The success of Memorial University in achieving its goals requires a renewed commitment from the university community and the community at large to new and modernized infrastructure. While the university’s physical plant is impressive, much of it is in need of upgrading.
We plan to develop new space, and in fact the recent provincial budget will help to create new residences in St. John’s and Corner Brook and a new academic building in Corner Brook as starting points.
But there are other needs that must be addressed as well.
We need to develop new research and teaching space for the sciences. Our current Science Building is old and inadequate to the needs of a growing research institution.
We have a plan in place, awaiting funding approval, to re-develop the Science Building from the inside out. We will build onto the current structure a new 21st-century facility.
Our library is one of the best in the country, but it was built in the 1980s and its services and collections have outgrown the current facilities. If we are to continue to be measured as one of the best university libraries in this country and our students and faculty deserve no less then we will have to address the space issue, and soon.
Likewise, our Faculty of Medicine and schools of Nursing and Pharmacy share close quarters in the Health Sciences Centre with the General Hospital.
Our Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy programs are among the best in this country. Our research and our students are top notch. They need improved space, facilities and equipment if we are to maintain this status.
Finally, our Business faculty is the victim of its own success. It operates from a very nice, well-equipped and, for Memorial, relatively new building. However, the problem is that it is not large enough to accommodate anticipated future demand for our Business programs. We are therefore planning on a major expansion with funding assistance from a donor and the Provincial Government.
Our Business students are among the best in this country. They win national and international awards with regularity. They deserve no less than the best facilities and we must find a way to provide that.
An example of alternative funding to maintain our infrastructure is a recently commenced Energy Performance Contract that will see $15 million invested in eight major facilities. This work will produce energy saving sufficient to repay the initial investment and will result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 1,150 automobiles from our highways. Our buildings will be modernized, we will save money and the environment will benefit.
Let me take a few moments, now, to highlight some recent developments at Memorial University.
• Nursing history web site
Our School of Nursing celebrated its 40th anniversary this past year. As part of the activities to mark the anniversary, the School unveiled a new web site that provides a fascinating look back into the early years of nursing education at Memorial.
The site, which was a collaborative effort between the School and our library, includes a virtual exhibit of the papers of Joyce Nevitt, who was the first director of our Nursing school. It also includes archival documents on the establishment and development of the school, lists of directors of the school, faculty members, and early classes and a variety of photos from the school’s early years.
To capture the essence of four decades of university nursing education, a number of videos have also been produced that include interviews with past directors and former and current faculty members.
The School expects that the archival website will expand in future to include more materials representing the 40 years of successful nursing history at Memorial.
As always, we learn from our history to help chart our future.
• Nursing International work
The School of Nursing has had a long history of international work as part of the university’s commitment to promoting global health.
Our Nursing faculty and students have been involved in projects in Belize Vietnam, Nigeria, Ghana, Berkino Fasso, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti, among other countries.
In Indonesia, our faculty and students are working with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Jakarta to improve the health of women and children in rural regions of the country. They are introducing a new model of community health nursing which will help towns and villages in developing and developed countries alike.
In fact, just last week our video on the Indonesian project won a national award at the Association for Media and Technology in Education in Canada.
• Rhodes Scholar Luke Pike
Our students continue to bring acclaim to the university for their accomplishments. I want to tell you about one of them.
Luke Pike is the province’s newest Rhodes Scholar. As a Rhodes Scholar, he follows in the footsteps of other high-profile Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and Memorial University alumni, including CBC broadcaster Rex Murphy and Premier Danny Williams, to mention just two.
Mr. Pike, a joint honours major in Biochemistry and Chemistry, is not only an outstanding student but he’s also an exceptional athlete and one of the top power lifters in the country. In fact, he is the 100 kilogram junior national champion after competing in the 2007 Canadian National Powerlifting Championships in Dartmouth last month.
Mr. Pike will enrol at Oxford University this October to complete a graduate degree in medical oncology.
Mr. Pike is an exceptional student and a credit to both our university and our province and we wish him well in his further studies.
• Gateway project
Memorial’s medical students are improving access to health care for the refugee population of St. John’s. They call the initiative “The Gateway Project”.
With the help of faculty advisors, volunteer students are working with the Association of New Canadians to help newly-arrived refugee clients as patient advocates.
The students take medical histories and develop patient reports. The students also make doctors’ appointments and follow up with clients to ensure that their introductions to new family doctors are successful.
• Collaborative health research
The university is collaborating with private research companies to advance knowledge on a number of important health issues.
Dr. Valerie Booth, in our Department of Biochemistry, is collaborating with Dr. Wayne Gulliver, a Memorial alumnus, and his company, NewLab Clinical Research Inc., to look at drug developments for the treatment of psoriasis, a disease that affects many people in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. Booth and her group are investigating the three-dimensional structure of proteins that have shown promise in treating psoriasis and related illnesses.
The researchers have completed the structure of Peptide T, a potential therapeutic molecule and have applied for a patent.
The Atlantic Innovation Fund is providing over $2 million in grants to support the research.
• Wade Locke, Economics, on Equalization
Memorial University and its faculty have an important role to play in analyzing important public policy issues.
For example, earlier this spring, Dr. Wade Locke of the Economics department in our Faculty of Arts provided some important insight and clarity into the complicated issue of Canada’s equalization system.
His found that when it comes to Newfoundland and Labrador’s current equalization options, some choices are better than others. He also found that explaining this is no simple feat.
In the absence of any government or other independent analysis, Dr. Locke attached hard numbers to the issue. He laid out intricate details of three equalization scenarios, and their financial implications for the province. He also explained how equalization is calculated, how the Atlantic Accord functions and when it won’t and presented a variety of data to help his audience understand the complex material.
Dr. Locke’s work was widely reported locally and nationally and I think it is fair to say that it has had a real and positive impact on our understanding of the issues involved in equalization.
• Student Success, Rothermere Fellow, Ray Critch
Our students continue to bring acclaim to the university for their accomplishments.
The recipient of one of Memorial’s most prestigious awards, the Rothermere Fellowship is philosophy master’s student, Raymond Critch.
Established by Memorial University's first chancellor, Lord Rothermere, this generous fellowship will fund the full cost of Mr. Critch’s doctoral studies as well as living and travel expenses in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Critch plans to pursue studies involving the philosophy of communications and language, and how this relates to whether people are inherently good and positively oriented toward one another.
Mr. Critch’s approach to philosophy and ethics derives from his experiences of neighborliness in Newfoundland and Labrador, and he hopes that through his ongoing scholarly pursuits that he will be able export one of our most valuable resources our sense of community.
• Religious Studies Dr. Patricia Dold
Memorial University has many faculty who are outstanding in their fields of study and research.
Dr. Patricia Dold is a Religious Studies professor who specializes in Sanskrit and Hinduism.
She has been awarded a prestigious Shastri Fellowship that will fund her research travels to India so that she can learn more about the meaning and the origins of an obscure text that she’s translating, and how its stories have survived because of India’s strong oral tradition, even though the written text seems to have become unknown.
Dr. Dold has also been instrumental in helping Memorial re-establish its ties to Shastri, which offers many collaborative opportunities for Indo-Canadian research for students and researchers. One only has to consider the growing cultural and economic influence of India worldwide to understand how important this relationship is.
• Geography -- Research for the province Norm Catto
This year, a team of Memorial geographers led by Dr. Norm Catto of our Geography department is being supported by the provincial government to conduct detailed research, including mapping and investigation of natural hazards related to terrain, extreme weather events and climate in selected communities.
You can really appreciate the importance of this research when you think for a moment about the recent landslides in Daniel’s Harbour, with images of houses seemingly falling off the edge of the earth and into the sea. In this province, we are subject to a variety of natural hazards including floods, storm surges, severe ice and snow storms, droughts, tornadoes, forest fires and slope failures
The research of Dr. Catto and his colleagues will be of great benefit to ongoing emergency preparedness and response efforts throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
• Music Chamber Choir hits Toronto
It’s been an air miles year for Memorial’s School of Music as the young musicians from our remarkable school have brought their performances to the four corners of the province and nearly as many corners of the globe.
Memorial’s Chamber Choir, under the direction of Professor Doug Dunsmore, and which features many Music students as well as faculty and staff gave several special performances in Toronto this past semester. This was on the heels of winning the top prize in the University Choir category during the CBC National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs
The highlight of the experience was the choir’s performance at a special gala concert at the prestigious Glenn Gould Studio in the CBC Broadcasting Centre That was attended by many Memorial University alumni who are living in the Southern Ontario region. They were joined for that performance by tenor David Pomeroy, an alumnus of Memorial’s School of Music and a rising force in the opera world.
• Chamber Orchestra
Not to be outdone, the 36-member MUN Chamber Orchestra returned just last week from being the first Canadian ensemble to participate in the prestigious Peterhof International Ensembles Festival in St. Petersburg Russia.
During its ten days in Russia, the orchestra took in one of the richest musical cultures in the world, culminating in their performance of a concert in the sumptuous summer palace of Peter the Great.
• Music Opera Road Show
Atlantic Canada has also been on the itinerary for the School of Music this year for our renowned Opera Roadshow.
The Opera Roadshow involves our students and faculty traveling throughout the province bringing opera performance to rural schools and communities.
This year’s production is Cinderella. It ends its Avalon Peninsula tour next week and then, for the first time we will bring it to schools across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI.
• Arts -- Memorial in the Community
Finally, a glance at an events calendar for what’s happening in St. John’s last week, this week and next really demonstrates the role Memorial University plays in drawing people to our city and our province, showcasing what we have to offer here and helping foster a vibrant intellectual community. Our Faculty of Arts is particularly busy.
This month, for example, Arts faculty hosted both the Canadian Archaeology Association conference and the Classical Association of Canada’s annual general meetings. Both these gatherings are bringing hundreds of scholars from across Canada and a large contingent of international scholars to our city and our campus.
Next month, the Canadian Association for Irish Studies will hold its annual international gathering here, hosted by Dr. Danine Farquharson of our English department, who is also the association’s current president.
• Archaeology Trevor Bell and Priscilla Renouf
When people think of archaeology in this province, they usually think of digging in the dirt, but a Memorial University team is doing an innovative underwater project.
Archaeologist Dr. Priscilla Renouf and geographer Dr. Trevor Bell are exploring the submerged archaeology around Newfoundland’s coastline. They are looking to find evidence of the earliest prehistoric human inhabitants of the island in areas that became submerged when the last ice age ended.
Dr. Bell received one of the inaugural Coracle Fellowships from Memorial University. The Coracle Fellowships foster the sharing of knowledge and skills with Ireland.
Dr. Bell was able to use the Fellowship to meet with colleagues in Ireland who are doing similar work, and establish the Submerged Landscapes Archaeological Network, a consortium of researchers who are working on techniques in seabed mapping.
• MI Launching the School of Ocean Technology
During this session of Convocation, Bachelor of Technology students will graduate. The B.Tech is a program led by the Marine Institute and involving several of our other faculties.
Unfortunately, many of the B.Tech. graduates could not be with us tonight because they are international students from China and they have returned home since completing their studies.
The Bachelor of Technology is one of the program areas we expect to grow within the university. To facilitate this growth, in its recent budget the provincial government announced it is investing $1 million to establish a School of Ocean Technology at the Marine Institute.
This will strengthen our leadership in education and applied research for the ocean technology and marine safety sectors. It also increases our capacity in areas such as seabed mapping, acoustics, ocean observation and marine communications.
In addition to the Bachelor of Technology program the Marine Institute is developing new diploma and degree programs, including a Diploma of Technology in Ocean Instrumentation and a Technical Certificate in Remotely Operated Vehicles.
• Folklore -- Reflecting our Community
You can find examples of the work of Memorial University everywhere in our community.
For example, currently and throughout the summer, a public exhibit is running at The Rooms that is showcasing the work of Memorial University students. It is called The Battery.
Students involved in the exhibit undertook a Public Sector Folklore project to explore The Battery, that unique St. John’s neighborhood. They looked at the cultural and economic changes that it has undergone which are very similar to those experienced in many areas of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
The innovative course was done in collaboration with The Rooms Provincial Museum, and it provided our students with hands-on experience working in the public sector, in the community, and in museums. The students themselves helped design and curate the exhibit.
• Social Work Coats for Kids
Our School of Social Work is active in the greater community and that involvement provides a practical learning opportunity for our students.
This year the School partnered with the VOCM Cares Foundation and the Canadian Red Cross to co-ordinate the 10th annual Coats for Kids project.
A total of 36 social work and pre-social work students and School staff, faculty, and family members volunteered. They organized the campaign and collected hundreds of bags of coats from local schools, businesses and community organizations.
In addition to valuable volunteer experience, students gained experience in social work practice and in mentoring. Coats for Kids provided an opportunity for the students to be directly involved in a community project, to work in partnership with local non-profit organizations and respond to an identified need. This is the essence of the profession of social worker.
• Engineering Industrial Outreach Group, NuWay
One of the practical ways that Memorial University connects with our broader community is through the Industrial Outreach Group (IOG) in our Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
The IOG was established in 1998 in response to a recognized need for the Faculty of Engineering to enhance the relevance of its academic programs for students and to provide access to technology and technical support not normally available to businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A good example of IOG’s work arose when Mr. Harvey Short, president of NuWay Kitchens in St. John’s, realized he had a problem with wastage at his manufacturing plant.
He turned to Professor Andy Fisher, the co-ordinator of the IOG. Working collaboratively, the teams at NuWay and Memorial University discovered the root of the problem and recommended specific actions. The result is that NuWay Kitchens reduced wastage by 33 per cent.
It is a fine example of how Memorial University’s expertise, including our advanced research expertise, can be of practical benefit.
Another example of IOG work comes from rural Newfoundland.
• Engineering IOG, Hurley
The Hurley Group of companies operates a slate quarry north of Clarenville.
The company had some manufacturing and processing issues and came to the Faculty of Engineering for advice.
The IOG developed a "vision" system that determines the size of the rough slate entering the processing machine. The system retrofitted controllers and motors to automatically adjust the size of tile being cut.
The result was an improved manufacturing process that helped a local firm and an opportunity to work on technological innovation for students and faculty in our Engineering school.
• Medicine Family Medicine Interest Group
Medical students have formed a Family Medicine Interest Group. They meet weekly with family medicine practitioners to discuss topics of interest. The current organizers of the group are medical students David Verilli and Susanne Price.
Among a number of activities, the students invite speakers and experts on topics that are important in the field of family medicine. One of the recent guest visitors to the group was former professional hockey player Sheldon Kennedy, who is an outspoken advocate for abused children and young athletes.
Working with the Family Medicine Interest Group augments our regular curriculum by exposing our students to real medical problems of they type that they will encounter as future practitioners.
• Science Atlantic Cod Genomics & Broodstock Development Project
Our Faculty of Science is involved in an $18 million project in collaboration with industry, non-profit and government partners.
The Atlantic Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development Project has the objective of creating top-quality cod you can think of it as the equivalent of breeding a Kentucky Derby champion using advanced genomics and other advanced scientific tools. The goal is to supply the developing Atlantic cod aquaculture industry in Canada with improved broodstock.
Of the total, some $4.5 million is coming to Memorial for research in cod breeding, aquaculture, physiology and genomics. The work is being undertaken at Memorial’s Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay.
• Dr. Rob Bertolo, Future Leader
We have superb faculty members and researchers at Memorial.
For example, Dr. Rob Bertolo, Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition at Memorial, was recently named the recipient of the Future Leader Award from the North American branch of the International Life Sciences Institute.
The Institute is a public, non-profit scientific foundation that advances the understanding and application of science related to the nutritional quality and safety of the food supply and to health issues related to consumer healthcare products.
Dr. Bertolo has been involved in some fascinating research. He recently submitted an international patent application for an approach to measure the metabolic availability of the amino acid lysine from food crops. The availability of amino acids such as lysine from ingested food is vital to human health and growth but is completely unknown at present.
Dr. Bertolo’s research is breaking new ground in this important field.
• Business Student success, ACE
Our Faculty of Business has an envious record of student accomplishment. In fact, Memorial University’s undergraduate and graduate business students are recognized nationally and internationally as the very best.
One of our student teams is called ACE Memorial. ACE stands for Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship. Last year, our team won the national Students in Free Enterprise championship and then went on to represent Canada at the World Cup for that competition in Paris, France. This year’s team is just back from the 2007 competition where they won the national championship for a second year in a row.
The team is coached by Professor Lynn Morrissey, who was also named Faculty Advisor of the Year at the national competition.
Our ACE Memorial team will now represent Canada in the World Cup in New York City this fall. These student successes do not happen by accident. Our Business faculty commits considerable time and effort in mentoring and coaching the students.
One of our honorary graduands, Miller Ayre, is one of those mentors who volunteers his time to work with our business students preparing them for these competitions.
• Business Alex Faseruk
Another great mentor is Dr. Alex Faseruk. Dr. Faseruk recently received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Academy of Finance. He is recognized as one of the best university teachers in the country.
With faculty of the quality of professors Faseruk and Morrissey, you can see why our Business programs are so successful.
• Education Doctoral students wins SSHRC award
The success of the new doctoral program in our Faculty of Education is evident in many ways, particularly in the outstanding students that we have been able to attract. Our students have been presenting at conferences and are engaged in academic activities with their supervisors.
One of those students, John Hoben, a first-year doctoral candidate, has been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellowship to support his work. The award is valued at $35,000 a year for up to three years.
• Education: Ursula Kelly , PADT
Memorial University is also blessed with extraordinary professors.
Every year we recognize several of these with the President’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching.
A recent winner, Dr. Ursula Kelly, is a professor in our Faculty of Education. Dr. Kelly’s teaching, research, and writing interests are in the area of cultural studies, literacies and language studies, and social justice education.
Her current research centres on cultural loss, identity and change in times of social and cultural transition, such as that now being experienced in some areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
She is a superb teacher, as many of you graduating today can attest, and we are proud to have her in our Faculty in Education.
• Human Kinetics and Recreation MUN hosts CIAU championships
What a year for our woman’s varsity basketball team. The team won the Atlantic Conference championship and confirmed a reputation they’ve earned over the past decade as the best women’s basketball team in this region of the country.
Memorial University also hosted, for the first time ever, the Canadian university women’s basketball championship tournament in our Field House. This event was covered by the national sports media and the championship game was broadcast live, nationally, from the Field House.
And to top is all off, our women’s team won the bronze medal in that very competitive tournament
These young women and their coaches and supporters worked very hard for their success. Many of the student athletes are also outstanding academically. In fact, it’s important at Memorial that we combine success in athletics with success in academics. We are very proud of their success.
• Human Kinetics, Athletic Therapy Program
To reach the levels of national success in varsity athletics that our women’s basketball team has done requires support from throughout the university.
Our School of Human Kinetics and Recreation operates an athletic therapy program to augment the training program of our various varsity teams.
Memorial’s student athletes are provided with treatment from a professional therapist. This includes emergency care for athletes injured during a game or match and any follow-up treatment. The program operates out of a small clinic in our Phys Ed Building.
The program also has an important experiential learning component. It involves 17 volunteer student trainers. These are all Memorial University students who intend to pursue careers in health professions.
The future of Memorial
As you can see, our faculty, staff and students are making outstanding contributions not only to our Province but also well beyond. I want to thank our supporters, those who are at Convocation and those who are not.
In particular, I want to thank Government for its support on behalf of the people of our Province. Government has provided the means by which Memorial has grown from modest beginnings 85 years ago to the great university that it is today.
In its most recent budget, Government provided the means to make our university even more accessible to students. The new grants program for needy students, constant tuition fees, reduced interest rates on student loans, funds for new student residences and new university infrastructure will enable us to serve our students better.
I thank Government for these very good initiatives and assure you that we will do our part to create maximum benefit for our students and university.
Finally, our new Strategic Plan responds to the demand from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that, as a provincial university, Memorial has to play a role in fostering regional and rural development and rural engagement.
It is our intention to continue to bring the expertise of the university out to communities, actively engaging in dialogue to learn more about the problems communities face, and to raise awareness of the value of a highly educated population.
As graduates, some of you will return to rural areas of the province. You will make a difference. Your university is here to help you make that difference and you must not hesitate to be a bridge between Memorial and your communities.
In conclusion, I welcome you into the family Memorial University alumni.
I congratulate you, our graduates and your families. May the success you celebrate today, follow you through the rest of your lives!