The college was established as a memorial to the Newfoundlanders who had lost their lives on active service during the First World War; it was later rededicated to also encompass those lost in the Second World War.
The first post-Confederation Government made the elevation of the college to the full status of a university one of its main priorities. On August 13, 1949, the Bill creating The Memorial University of Newfoundland received Royal Assent, exactly one month from the opening of the House.
The university's governing bodies, the Board of Regents and the Senate, were inaugurated in May 1950, and the first Convocation of the University was held on June 3, 1950, when the first degrees were awarded.
The university's motto, Provehito in Altum (Launch forth into the deep), captures the spirit of the adventure of learning and urges students to extend the frontiers of knowledge.
Coat of Arms
The Arms of Memorial University have as their central element a cross, a symbol of sacrifice. Its anchor-shaped ends signify the hope that springs from devotion to a good cause. The wavy bars allude to our maritime setting, and the three books signify our educational role.
White and claret, derived from the Cross of St. George, are the colours of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment: red for courage and sacrifice, and white for purity. Gold is associated with nobility and generosity. The colours remind us that courage tempered with mercy may be enlisted in the service of noble causes.
Celebrate Memorial! a pictorial history of Memorial University of Newfoundland is now available in the Digital Archives and has page-turning technology. (Note: you may need to install Flash to view the pages.)