Memorial University’s genesis as a living memorial to the sacrifices of those who fought in the First World War was highlighted this year as Memorial began its five-year WW100 commemoration program.
”After the dark days of the First World War, Memorial University College was founded as a living memorial so that in the freedom of learning, the sacrifice of those who fought might not be forgotten by future generations,” said President Kachanoski at the launch ceremony in June. ”From this unique origin the university has inherited a responsibility to remember and commemorate those who lost their lives in active service.
”Thus, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the events that sparked the First World War, we come together to launch WW100.”
The university is undertaking commemorative activities in three broad areas: academic programs; physical commemorations; and library, archives and other resources.
To support the commemorations, Memorial has established the Living Memorial Commemoration Fund. This program has a special focus on students, as exemplified by two of the earliest grants awarded that will enable 46 students to travel to Beaumont Hamel from Harlow Campus over the next year.
Other projects include the creation of an original vocal composition by School of Music based on letters from Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) volunteers and a study on the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq in the First World War, a project based at Grenfell Campus.
Dr. Kachanoski pointed out that while the St. John’s campus has many physical monuments to the men and women who served, other university sites do not. The president announced that by 2019, suitable memorials will have been erected at other major university locations, including Harlow Campus in England and the recently acquired Battery property.
Dr. Kachanoski also said that heritage preservation is a priority at Memorial. The university is home to a number of unique collections, and there is an ongoing need for archival space to steward donations of rare or original content. The university, therefore, is in the early planning stages to design a new facility to house the diverse archives in Memorial’s possession.
”Our WW100 commemoration program is all about creating a legacy,” said Dr. Kachanoski. ”The events, programs and initiatives undertaken over the next five years will ensure that the university continues to reflect on the sacrifices of the First World War. At the same time we look forward, thereby embodying an important aspiration of those who founded the university — advancement though education. As we remember, so too do we work to make our province, our country and our world a better place.”
For more information on WW100, please visit www.mun.ca/WW100.