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REF NO.: 146

SUBJECT: Memorial University of Newfoundland president to serve a second term

DATE: Jan. 11

Lorne Wheeler, chair of Memorial University’s Board of Regents, has announced that Dr. Axel Meisen’s appointment as the university’s president and vice-chancellor has been extended for a three-year term, effective Sept. 1, 2005. The university’s governing body approved the extension at its Dec. 9, 2004, meeting. Dr. Meisen was appointed in September 1999 for a six-year term, renewable for a further three years.

Mr. Wheeler said members of the Board of Regents were impressed with Dr. Meisen’s strong leadership and communications skills during the past five years. “Dr. Meisen’s first term has been marked by positive change and growth for Memorial,” Mr. Wheeler said. “The university continues to serve the needs of the people of this province and under Dr. Meisen’s leadership it has also responded to new opportunities for growth and expansion. The university continues to increase its student enrolment; enhance its services to students and infrastructure for teaching and research; expand its research and teaching; and has doubled its external research funding from $37 million in 1999-2000 to $74 million in 2003-2004.”

Mr. Wheeler noted that Dr. Meisen has also worked effectively to broaden the university’s horizons. In addition to the Oil and Gas Development Partnership, an initiative aimed at making Memorial an international centre of research and teaching related to oil and gas, the university has embarked on a concerted international student recruitment campaign and has completely revamped its European campus in Harlow, England. Internally, the university has seen the renewal of several collective agreements, including two contracts with its faculty union which have helped Memorial University position its faculty salaries at much more competitive levels with universities across Canada.

Since Dr. Meisen was appointed in 1999, the university has opened a multi-million dollar University Centre for students and a Field House sports facility in St. John’s, and a new student residence complex at its Corner Brook campus, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. In 2005 the university will open the Inco Innovation Centre, a state-of-the-art research, teaching and innovation facility, and Petro-Canada Hall, a new high-tech rehearsal and performance space in the Music Building.

“I am pleased to see Memorial University grow and to make even greater contributions to the intellectual, cultural and economic development of the Provinceof Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and beyond,” Dr. Meisen said. “The people of this province can be proud of our service to students, our research and our teaching. We are a high-quality university, characterized by innovative programs and approaches. It is clear that the university will continue to play a key role in creating a bright future for Newfoundland and Labrador and for all of Canada. I am delighted to be part of that future.”

Dr. Axel Meisen - Biographical Notes

Axel Meisen was appointed as president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University in September 1999. A chemical engineer with a varied career in academia and the private sector, Dr. Meisen came to Memorial University from the University of British Columbia where he was a professor of chemical engineering and dean of the Faculty of Applied Science. Dr. Meisen has worked as a special adviser to Methanex Corporation in Vancouver, an engineer with Imperial Oil Ltd. and as a consultant to national and international petroleum and chemical companies.

Dr. Meisen holds a PhD in chemical engineering from McGill University in Montreal(1970), and an M.Sc. from the California Institute of Technology (1966). He completed his B.Sc. degree at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England (1965).

Dr. Meisen is a professional engineer (P.Eng.) and European engineer (EurIng). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Chemical Institute of Canada and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; he is also a member of the Peruvian Academy of Engineering. He has received best paper awards from the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, the Professional Service Award from the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia, the ERCO Award for outstanding contributions to the field of chemical engineering and the Medal of Distinction from the Government of Peru.

About Memorial University

The only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial is Atlantic Canada's largest university, with a student enrolment of approximately 17,700 as well as 900 permanent faculty and 1,400 permanent staff. It has campuses in St. John's and Corner Brookand Harlow (England). The Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bayprovides university services in Labrador. Memorial has several specialized teaching and research facilities, including the Ocean Sciences Centre near St. John’s, the Bonne Bay Marine Station on the west coast of Newfoundland and a language institute on the French island, Saint-Pierre. A comprehensive university, Memorial University provides its students with a wide range of programs, including many professional programs. Its more than 55,000 graduates are highly valued nationally and internationally. Research and scholarly activities are broad-based, while focusing on Newfoundland and Labrador's human and natural resources, unique culture and geographical location in the North Atlantic.

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For further information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, 737-8665, cell 687-9433 or


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