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REF NO.: 21
SUBJECT: Inco Innovation Centre boardroom named in honour of Labrador scholar and community leader
DATE: Sept. 20
MemorialUniversityhas announced that the boardroom of the Inco Innovation Centre, located on the St. John’scampus, will be formally named the Beatrice Watts Boardroom.
The university’s Board of Regents approved the new name at its Sept. 7 meeting which was held in Labrador.
Dr. Watts passed away in April 2004. “Dr. Watts was a distinguished Labradorian and naming a room in the new Inco Innovation Centre would symbolize the close tie between the Inco innovation Centre and Labrador,“ said Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president.
Dr. Beatrice Watts was a scholar, teacher, educational administrator and community leader in Labrador. She worked all her professional life to preserve and restore the Inuktitut language of the Inuit.
After confederation in 1949, the school system taught English as the language of education. The fluency of the Inuit ancestral language was at risk, creating a loss of communication and connections amongst generations. Dr. Watts, who earned her initial teaching qualifications from Memorial, dedicated herself to gathering materials, remaking stories, songs and games in the Labradordialects and reinstituted native language in the school curriculum.
“A new source of pride and participation in communities and connectivity amongst speakers of the various dialects of Inuktitut was generated,” Dr. Meisen said. “Her work continues to contribute to teaching and research of students and staff at MemorialUniversity.”
Dr. Watts was also involved in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Teacher Education Program in Labrador, as field co-ordinator and advisory committee member, since 1977. In recognition of her many accomplishments, she was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by MemorialUniversityin 1992.
The university’s naming opportunities policy states “a facility may be named in honour of distinguished persons who have had an important association with Memorial University or Memorial University College.”
About the Inco Innovation Centre
The Inco Innovation Centre is Memorial University’s new research and innovation facility. With a construction cost of $17.3 million, the Inco Innovation Centre represents a significant investment in innovation in this province by Inco Ltd., the Government of Canada and Memorial University. Inco has committed $13 million towards the capital cost of the facility and $1 million annually for seven years for operations and maintenance. The federal government – through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program and the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) -- has invested over $23 million in support of ongoing research and development in the facility.
Containing some 9,000 square metres, the Inco Innovation Centre houses a wide range of research, business support and educational facilities on three floors. Research related to geosciences, hydrometallurgy and the Voisey’s Bay mineral deposit will be concentrated on the first floor of the building. Also on the first level are labs for health, safety and risk engineering, and process engineering and corrosion reduction. The building is also designed to house a small scale model of a hydrometallurgical plant.
Operations at the new facility will not be restricted to the mining industry. The Inco Innovation Centre will also play a role in social science research and knowledge transfer. For example, the facility houses the offices of the Canada Research Chair in
Aboriginal Studies and the Centre for Aboriginal Research. Some of the other units located in the Inco Innovation Centre include:
- Offices of the Major Research Partnerships and the Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training Network (CREAIT)
- Genesis Innovation Works, a development space for new enterprises; other units of the Genesis Group will also move to the building’s third floor in 2006.
- Schoolof GraduateStudies
- Office of Research
The building’s large lecture theatre can seat more than 300 people for learning, business and community development initiatives. The room is fully equipped for videoconferencing and multimedia presentations. In addition to regularly scheduled classes, the theatre will be the site of seminars and colloquia on research ranging from the arts, humanities and social sciences to business and engineering.
The Inco Innovation Centre was designed by John Hearn Architect Ltd. and built by Marco Services Ltd. over the structure of the former Thomson Student Centre.
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For further information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, News Service, Memorial University, 709-737-8665 or 709-687-9433.