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Memorial at 100

Looking back and launching forth: celebrating Memorial University’s centennial anniversary

By Lisa Browne

I love looking at archival photos of Memorial University students.

As we began talking about celebrating the 100th anniversary of Memorial as an institution, I had the opportunity to see some wonderful ones.

Among them was a photo of Dr. Helena Frecker (nee McGrath), Memorial’s first graduate.

Black and white photo of woman in graduation gown looking at camera
Dr. Helena Frecker
Photo: Memorial University Libraries

When I look at Dr. Frecker’s photo, I wonder about her experience at our university.

What was it like as a woman in 1925 to be a student here? What prompted her to enrol? What was her experience like?

I can also look at my own family photos.

My mother, Mary Hepditch, has a photo of her and her sister, Blanche, at the opening of the Elizabeth Avenue campus on Oct. 9 in 1961.

It was an event so significant that schoolchildren paraded from the university’s original Parade Street campus to the new Elizabeth Avenue campus.

Black and white photo of two young women in uniforms with floral couch and window in background
From left are Blanche and Mary Hepditch, ready for the opening of the Elizabeth Avenue campus on Oct. 9, 1961.
Photo: Submitted

The impact of the university, Newfoundland and Labrador’s only university, has been immense.

Your university, your anniversary

More than 100,000 alumni later, with six campuses and nearly 19,000 students from 127 countries around the world, Memorial University is preparing to mark another incredible milestone.

In 2025, Memorial University will celebrate 100 years of transforming the lives of individuals and their communities through higher education, cultivating generations of exceptional talent whose innovations fueled our present – and will continue to do so into the future.

During the next couple of years, we will reflect on our past and look to our bright future through stories, celebrations, events and special programming.

100th Anniversary Fund and video

To mark this momentous milestone, Memorial established a 100th Anniversary Fund for units and individuals across the university to mark the anniversary in ways that share the incredible breadth and remarkable range of our institution with the province and the world.

The anniversary website provides more details.

I look forward to creative and memorable ways to reflect on Memorial’s past and celebrate its future.

As we lead up to the official anniversary next year, we have begun planning programming that will reflect how we are looking back and launching forth, including a video that we’re proud to share.

We look forward to working with the Memorial community to show the impact Memorial has had on Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond.

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