The newly formed university placed a heavy emphasis on broad-based undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences. During the mid-1950’s Memorial proudly added its first graduate programs, in English and chemistry, followed soon after by other select disciplines.
Enrolment steadily increased throughout the decade. Despite several temporary measures to accommodate the growing faculty and study body, the Parade Street campus inevitably became over-crowded. Memorial University is an institution dedicated to providing educational opportunity to those who pursue it. Therefore the university deeply regretted implementing a necessary cap of 600 on first year student enrolment that started in 1958. This limitation remained until 1961, when Memorial University proudly opened its new campus on Elizabeth Avenue.
The official opening, held on Monday, Oct. 9 1961, saw a turnout of over 15,000 high school and university students, as well as local schools, businesses and community organizations. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Premier Smallwood, the presidents of 41 of Canada’s 42 universities, and representatives from the United Kingdom, the United States and Portugal were all present to witness the inauguration of this new campus.