The Memorial University of Newfoundland community is offering its condolences to the family of former Sir Wilfred Grenfell principal Dr. John Ashton, who passed away on Sept. 20.
“Dr. Ashton was a passionate and dedicated educator and administrator,” said Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University. “His legacy will be one of conviction and belief in the transformative power of education. He will be missed at Memorial University.”
Dr. Ashton, who passed away after a lengthy illness, spent 26 years at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, the Corner Brook campus of Memorial.
Several senior administrators and university officials from Memorial’s St. John’s campus, including Dr. Campbell, will be travelling to Corner Brook on Wednesday, Sept. 24, for the funeral service, to be held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer. There will be a university procession at the funeral, by request of the family. In St. John’s, Memorial University’s flags will be lowered from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., on Wednesday to mark Dr. Ashton’s passing, while the flags at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College will be lowered until sunset.
Dr. Ashton was appointed principal of Grenfell College on July 1, 2004. Throughout his tenure, he made significant progress in fostering international partnerships, developing undergraduate programming, building Grenfell’s research agenda, and perhaps most notably, providing leadership and guidance in the pursuit of greater autonomy and new governance structure for Memorial’s west coast campus.
Since 1982, Dr. Ashton has been a longtime member and professor of folklore at Grenfell and served as head of its Division of Social Sciences. He held a BA (honors) from the London School of Economics (1974), an MA (folklore studies) from the University of Leeds (1975) and a PhD (folklore) from Memorial University (1985). Dr. Ashton was a recognized folklore scholar and prize-winning writer. His work has appeared in books and scholarly journals across Canada, the United States and Great Britain.
A reception to remember Dr. Ashton will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 1:45 p.m., in the Atrium of the Fine Arts Building at Grenfell College.