News Release

REF NO.: 31

SUBJECT: Memorial's St. John's campus remembers

DATE: November 5, 2015

The formal planning that would lead to the founding of Memorial University College, and ultimately Memorial University, began after the end of the First World War.  

On the evening of Jan. 22, 1919, the Newfoundland Patriotic Association decided, “to take into consideration the advisability of erecting in St. John’s a memorial for our sailors and soldiers, in the form of an education building which shall raise to a higher level the whole status of education in Newfoundland, and materially assist its young people to achieve success in life.”

In 1925, Memorial University College opened. As a cornerstone for future economic and social prosperity, the university began its operation with a simple purpose – to provide university education and its benefits to the province and its people.

“As Remembrance Day approaches, we renew our responsibility to be a living memorial, to carry that responsibility every day as we work to make a difference in our world,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University.

Dr. Kachanoski noted a number of events on the St. John’s campus that underscore the university’s responsibility to remember.


Book of Remembrance

The Book of Remembrance, which commemorates the lives of men and women who died while serving their country and was donated by the late Dr. G. Campbell Eaton, is located in the Founders Gallery lobby of the Arts and Administration building on the St. John’s campus. The Division of Marketing and Communications has taken on the responsibility to turn the pages of the book daily, so that all names inscribed in the book can be read. A second Book of Remembrance was donated to the university by Senator C.W. Carter and resides with the J.R. Smallwood Collection at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies in the Queen Elizabeth II Library.


The World Remembers initiative

Running until Thursday, Nov. 12, the screen in the atrium of the new Medical Education Centre will display a list of soldiers who died in the First World War, as part of The World Remembers initiative. The World Remembers is a Canadian non-profit organization that has brought together the names of First World War dead from all countries who fought, with the aim of remembrance, education and mutual understanding.


Ceremony of Remembrance

This year, the annual Ceremony of Remembrance on the St. John’s campus is focused on the Gallipoli campaign which began 100 years ago. In honour of Newfoundland and Turkey’s shared experience on that peninsula, His Excellency Selcuk Unal, Turkish ambassador to Canada, will attend and join Dr. Kachanoski and other university groups in laying wreathes. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 10 in the D.F. Cook Recital Hall in the M.O. Morgan (Music) Building. All are welcome.


Gallipoli Symposium

Memorial University is hosting a symposium with Turkish partners that will explore the significance of the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War. The one-day symposium will examine the conditions experienced by Newfoundland and Turkish troops on that strategically important peninsula 100 years ago. The sessions run from 10 a.m.-4:15 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Bruneau Centre, IIC-2001. There is no cost to attend the symposium which is open to the public, but registration is required. E-mail dballam@mun.ca to register.

Exhibition at City Hall

Memorial University and St. John’s City Hall are sponsoring a photographic exhibition supplied by the Turkish Embassy titled Canakkale – Road to peace out of war. The photos will be on display at St. John’s City Hall from Nov. 10-13 in the open gallery space on the second floor. The exhibition is a series of 45 posters displaying day-to-day life of the Turkish army during the Gallipoli campaign.

“We are a living legacy,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “Memorial’s founders had the idea to create a living memorial to those who fought and died in the Great War, so that, in the words on a dedication plaque in the university’s St. John’s campus, ‘… in freedom of learning their cause and sacrifice might not be forgotten.’ It’s a tremendous heritage.

“We are the rightful heirs of the bold young people who stepped forward to preserve our freedom, generation after generation. The torch now burns brightly in our hands. We must forever hold it high – and never forget.”


About Memorial University

Memorial University College was established in 1925 as a living memorial to those who lost their lives on active service during the First World War. Through its WW100 Commemoration Program, the university is undertaking a wide range of initiatives and activities that recognize its origin as a living memorial and contribute to a greater understanding of the 1914-19 period.

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