Members of the Memorial community recently gathered with the Memorial on Parade Committee and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary to unveil a history board that speaks to the university’s early days on Parade Street.
Located outside the main entrance to the Arts and Administration building on the St. John’s campus, the panel includes photos of the building, the founders and some original staff, as well as information about Memorial’s beginnings.
Dr. Sean Cadigan, associate vice-president (academic) and past chair of the WW100 commemorations steering committee, spoke on behalf of the university.
100 years later
He recalled the 1919 meeting where the idea of creating an educational building to remember fallen soldiers was first proposed and spoke of its early development.
“The college quickly became a social and intellectual centre for St. John’s, and evolved to be an institution of scholarship and quality, opportunity and equality,” he said.
“The visionaries who attended that meeting, and those who worked to see Memorial University College become a reality, would be amazed and proud of what has been accomplished nearly 100 years later.”
Dr. Cadigan thanked the Memorial on Parade for its efforts to commemorate Memorial’s origins. Bob LeMessurier, chair of the committee, spoke about the projects, which include a plaque mounted at the front entrance of the old building and a memorial parkette also on the Parade Street campus, which interprets the connections among the organizations that have used the building since 1925 – Memorial, the Marine Institute and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
Mr. LeMessurier thanked the many partners involved in seeing the history board project to fruition, including the volunteers of the Memorial on Parade Committee, university staff, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Grand Concourse Authority, which designed and constructed the parkette and the history board.
He concluded his remarks with a poem he wrote to commemorate the occasion, titled Ode to Memorial:
Memorial has a story that storyboards can tell,
Parading in their glory on grounds that held it well;
Fort Townsend felt its footprint, where marched so many souls,
Who would receive its imprint to achieve their learning goals;
To Elizabeth and Philip, it later made its play,
To spread its wings and fill-up, that space in great array;
It grew like Topsy’s torso, to such a lofty height,
And still is growing more-so, with little end in sight;
This board depicts its history and mission on the run,
Success is not a mystery, for, after all, it’s MUN.