Eva Francess Richards just knocked a big item off her bucket list.
As a graduate student from Sierra Leone who attended Memorial from 1963-65 on a Commonwealth scholarship, Ms. Richards was one of the university’s first African students.
During her two years at Memorial, she completed a master’s degree in economics, lived in Bowater House with other international students and bonded with local students.
After graduating, she went on to a career in the civil service and with UNICEF. But her years at Memorial always stood out in her memory. So, her adult children hatched a plan for a visit.
1/ Gold pin
2/ Group shot
3/ Meeting the dean
4/ At the gym
5/ Outside Bowater House
6/ Interviewed by CBC
Chris Hounsell of the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development took the lead on planning a special campus tour for Ms. Richards.
“When Tania, her daughter, reached out to me last December and shared her mother’s story and what her siblings wanted to do for her, I definitely felt a desire to make it happen,” he said.
“I was intrigued as to how a young woman from Sierra Leone found her way to Memorial University in 1963, and what she would think of Memorial given that 50-plus years had passed since she last stepped foot on campus. And everyone else I reached out to across campus with the story wanted to help however they could, as they were just as intrigued by the story as I was.”
In addition to Ms. Richards and three of her children, current student Alyona Lewis, also from Sierra Leone, and a master’s of science candidate in the Faculty of Medicine’s department of clinical epidemiology, joined the tour.
Among the highlights of Ms. Richards’ visit were receiving a gold alumni pin from Chancellor Dr. Susan Dyer Knight and touring Bowater House.
Of her return Ms. Richards commented: “Emotionally, extremely satisfying, because it’s been quite a long ambition of mine to come back.”