Memorial names new 500-bed residence Macpherson College

By Laura Barron | Oct. 8, 2014

Memorial University has officially named the new residence complex on its St. John’s campus. The 500-bed facility has been named Macpherson College and its two wings are Cluett Hall and Shiwak Hall.

The names chosen for the new complex commemorate the efforts of two Newfoundlanders and one Labradorian who served during the First World War. The complex, Macpherson College, was named for Dr. Cluny Macpherson, who invented the gas mask used by British/Newfoundland troops, and whose family farm once occupied the land on which Memorial’s St. John’s campus sits today.

Cluett and Shiwak Halls are named for Frances Cluett, one of Memorial’s earliest alumnae who served with the Voluntary Aid Detachment, and John Shiwak, an Inuit hunter who came to be known as one of the best snipers in the British forces. The names were chosen after extensive consultation and align with the broader commemoration activities within Memorial’s WW100 program.

The state-of-the-art residence was developed with students’ comfort, convenience, accessibility, safety and security in mind. Each suite consists of two private bedrooms with a shared washroom, and each floor includes a community lounge and meeting/study space.

Some of the residence’s features include: study rooms, kitchen areas and storage rooms on each floor; laundry and lounge areas in each wing; wireless internet access; flat-screen TV mounts in every bedroom; an after-hours check-in counter; eight single bedroom, barrier-free suites, complete with barrier-free washrooms; energy-saving lighting system; large, green courtyard space; security card access; security cameras and more.

Construction of the new residence began in September 2010. Macpherson College was designed by John Hearn Architect Inc. and was constructed by Ellis Don. The complex is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified at the silver level, which reflects a commitment to sustainability and green buildings.

Macpherson College provides students with independent living accommodations along with guidance and support from the in-house Residence Life team in order to encourage a successful transition from life at home. Each wing of the complex has a full complement of Residence Life staff, including a residence co-ordinator, resident assistants, and an academic assistant.

An investment of $65 million was provided by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the construction of the 500-bed complex. This investment is in addition to $45 million for renovation and refurbishment of existing residences on the St. John’s campus, and $23.3 million for a new 200-room residence complex on the Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.

“As the new premier, I am honoured to be here today to take part in the naming ceremony of the new state-of-the art residence complex Macpherson College,” said Paul Davis, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Our government continues to demonstrate its commitment to provide affordable post-secondary education and on-campus housing. More students are pursuing post-secondary education in Newfoundland and Labrador than ever before, and more are coming from other parts of Canada and around the globe. This new residence provides a home away from home for many students as they embark on their academic careers and build memories that will last a lifetime.”

“Whether it’s building new residences or designing new labs, investment in education is all about offering superior teaching and learning opportunities,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University.

“These investments allow us to set the stage for individual success now and for future generations of students, and ultimately for the continued success of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“Every aspect of Macpherson College is designed to foster an environment suitable for learning,” said Hillary Bellows, a student who lives in Shiwak Hall, Macpherson College. “Along with promoting academic success, the residence experience guides students through the transition to independent living, helps us to develop communication and leadership skills, and teaches us how to network socially with like-minded individuals. The proximity to on-campus resources and volunteer opportunities is another huge asset of living in residence.”

More information about Memorial’s student residences can be found here.


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