In December 2021, after over 40 years of research, education, and community engagement at the Labrador Institute, and over 60 years of university presence in Labrador, Memorial University’s Senate and Board of Regents officially approved the creation of the Labrador Campus.
For 60 years, Memorial University has maintained a presence in, and connection to, Labrador.
Originally arising from the university's Extension Service, the Labrador Institute had a 42-year presence as a vibrant division of the university, dedicated to meeting the needs and priorities of Labrador and the North, providing high-quality educational opportunities and leading-edge research.
While extension services began in 1959, by 1979 it became clear that there was a need for a permanent and year-round presence of Memorial University in Labrador.
With the development of the Labrador Institute of Northern Studies and a mandate for research and education guided by an emphasis upon community development, the Labrador Institute began its mission and mandate to become the Northern presence of Memorial University, and to bring the resources of the University to Labrador, and the needs, priorities, and cultures of Labrador to the University.
In 2016, and under the new direction of the then-Director of the Labrador Institute, Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, and in response to repeated calls for Indigenous and Northern access to and self-determination over, university education, the Labrador Institute began a multi-year transition and transformation process.
The Labrador Institute began working with members of the Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government, and NunatuKavut Community Council, municipal, provincial, and federal representatives, Labrador communities, organizations, and businesses, and students, staff, faculty, and administrative leaders from all campuses of Memorial University, to vision the future of the Labrador Institute.
This process involved a two-year Task Force, meetings and consultations with hundreds of people and partners, an external review process, three Memorial University Senate votes and two Memorial University Board of Regents votes, which culminated in two historic milestones: 1) the creation of the School of Arctic in Subarctic Studies in July 2020; and 2) the establishment of the Labrador Campus of Memorial University in January 2022.
On January 20, 2022, Memorial University announced the creation of the Labrador Campus, a full Northern-created, Northern-focused, and Northern-inspired campus in the region.
The Labrador Campus will continue to grow its educational programming through the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, strengthen its research activities, continue to expand the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems, transform its governance structures, and develop its infrastructure with a direct mandate to respond to the pressing issues of the region and the North.