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Unique events drum up support for Memorial

By Jeff Green | Nov. 3, 2006

Two of Memorial’s – and this province’s – biggest ambassadors are playing key roles in a pair of unique events this month aimed at promoting the university and raising money for worthwhile scholarships.

Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, who graduated from Memorial in 1975, will be the keynote speaker at the sixth annual Ottawa Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador Dinner taking place on Monday, Nov. 6.

He’ll deliver a keynote speech entitled the Canadian Forces: Our Past, Our Pride, Our Future. This year’s event will be held in the Drawing Room at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel.

In 2003, Gen. Hillier received the Memorial University Alumni Association Tribute Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.

Developed in association with the Alumni Association of Memorial University, Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador brings together all of Ottawa’s business, technology and industry, government, research and science, educational, social and arts communities, connected to Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial. 

  • Listen to Dr. Penny Blackwood, director of the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development at Memorial explain the importance of the Ottawa dinner.

Meanwhile, Lt.-Gov. Edward Roberts, a respected Canadian politician, lawyer and historian, will be the keynote speaker at a similar event in Toronto later this month. The 2nd annual Toronto Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador Dinner is set to take place on Nov. 15 at the Marriott Yorkville in Toronto.

This dinner is presented by the Toronto Chapter of the Memorial University Alumni Association together with other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living in Toronto.

Lt.-Gov. Roberts, a former chair of Memorial’s Board of Regents and an honorary degree recipient of the university, has served as the Queen’s representative in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2002.

He made history earlier this year when he received his master of arts degree in history from Memorial – the first time a lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador earned a degree while in office. That achievement is highlighted in the 2006 President's Report.

  • Listen to Dr. Blackwood explain the importance of the Toronto dinner. 

Lt.-Gov. Roberts’ talk is entitled Beaumont Hamel: The 90th Anniversary. On July 1, 1916, at the height of First World War, the Newfoundland Regiment, later renamed Royal Newfoundland Regiment, valiantly went into battle. Despite its efforts, more than 700 members were killed or wounded and only 68 answered roll call the next day. That tragedy holds special significance for Memorial University, an institution that was founded as a living memorial to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who died during the First World War.

Ever since, Memorial has marked sombre occasions such as July 1 and Nov. 11 with particular reverence, paying tribute to veterans and commemorating their actions, and ensuring younger generations of university graduates realize why the university’s name is so important.

The 2nd annual Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador Dinner will take place in the High Park Ballroom in the Marriott Yorkville, 90 Bloor St. East. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., with dinner commencing at 7:30 p.m.

Actor, writer and comedian Jonny Harris (Hatching, Matching and Dispatching) will be this year’s emcee. Mr. Harris holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial’s campus in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador.