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SUBJECT: Irving Oil announces $500,000 gift to Marine Institute

DATE: May 20

The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland announced today that Irving Oil has made a significant contribution to marine and offshore training in Newfoundland and Labrador. Irving Oil will donate $500,000 to the university, in support of the Marine Institute’s ongoing commitment to industry’s growing needs for safety, emergency response and marine environmental training.

“The Marine Institute continues to expand the field of marine knowledge and show great leadership through its high calibre training and research programs,” said Arthur Irving, Jr., of Irving Oil. “This gift recognizes and furthers that leadership position, and fits perfectly with our company’s commitment to safe and environmentally-responsible shipping practices through education right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.” 

Dr. Axel Meisen, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University, thanked Irving Oil for its investment in the Marine Institute. “Industry partnership is key to ensuring that those working in today’s economy receive the best training and experience that Memorial can provide,” Dr. Meisen said to the audience gathered in Hampton Hall at the Marine Institute. “By making this significant cash contribution to the Marine Institute, Irving Oil has demonstrated its continued commitment to ensure we maintain our leading edge expertise in training for the offshore sector and recognizes the important role Memorial plays in development of the industry in this region.”  He noted that Irving Oil donated $255,000 to Memorial for scholarships in 1999 during the university’s fund raising campaign, the Opportunity Fund.

The Marine Institute will earmark the contribution for a proposed new marine base in Holyrood. “Our goal is to construct a facility that will broaden our capability to offer new training in the areas of environmental response and small craft operations,” said Leslie O’Reilly, executive director of the Marine Institute.  “Irving’s support of this initiative is the first major step in our efforts to make this base a reality.”  Mr. O’Reilly added that the sheltered waters and open access to the ocean makes Holyrood an ideal location for practical training exercises.  He also noted that additional funding will be sought to take this facility concept from the drawing board to the shoreline.

Irving Oil Ltd.

Founded in 1924, Irving Oil is the regional energy processing, transporting, and marketing company focusing on customer service and supply chain management. Irving Oil serves customers in Eastern Canada, Quebec, and New England with a range of finished energy products, including gasoline, diesel, home heating fuel, jet fuel and complementary products and services. The company's network of Mainway convenience stores throughout Eastern Canada and New England offers customers a wide variety of products and services, including grocery and snack items, bakeries, and convenience items, in addition to fuel.  In 2003, Irving Oil became the first oil company to win a USEPA Clean Air Excellence award, which it won for its low sulphur gasoline.

Memorial University of Newfoundland

With forty years of education and training experience, the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland is Canada’s most comprehensive education, training, applied research and technology transfer resource in support of the international marine industries. Memorial, through its Oil and Gas Development Partnership which was formed in 2000, is positioning the university and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as a leading centre of oil and gas expertise, with a special focus on operation in harsh environments. In partnership with private and public organizations in Canada and abroad, Memorial is building upon its internationally acclaimed work in earth sciences, geophysics and ocean engineering to expand its education and research offerings for the petroleum industry.

The university has created new programs – such as the executive-level master's program in oil and gas studies – recruited new faculty with diverse industrial and academic experience and secured substantial targeted research funds for this centre of excellence. The largest university in Atlantic Canada with over 17,000 students, Memorial operates from five locations, including St. Johns, Corner Brook and Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the French island of Saint-Pierre, and Harlow, England. Students experience a wide variety of learning environments that emphasize experiential learning and research with internationally recognized strengths in such diverse areas as marine biology, cold ocean studies, native and northern education, community medicine, folklore, genetics and music.

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