While travelling more than 7,500 kilometres through N.L. this summer, President Timmons met students, Indigenous leaders, former teachers, family friends and the people who make decisions every day for our towns, the province and the country – politicians.
Not just a university
Memorial University is not just a post-secondary institution.
It is an economic driver that helps towns and industries grow.
A recurring theme Dr. Timmons heard on the road from mayors and town councils was the desire to strengthen partnerships between the university and municipalities, to the benefit of both.
Dr. Timmons’ video diary of her Tales From the Road summer adventure includes this tweet:
Strong women leaders in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Meet Her Worship Georgina Ollerhead, an amazing advocate for her caommunity of Harbour Breton. @MemorialU @marineinstitute #talesfromtheroadMUN pic.twitter.com/ybS5Wq4xNi
— Vianne Timmons (@vianne_timmons) August 21, 2020
Ms. Ollerhead explained to Dr. Timmons that Memorial can do more in her town, especially with the aquaculture industry being so strong there. Students aren’t afraid to speak up about their needs and Memorial can get these students trained to support the industry.
The Coast of Bays region has been transformed by the aquaculture industry.
The economic revitalization of communities likes Hermitage, St. Albans, Harbour Breton and others are a provincial success story.
Many graduates from the Marine Institute of Memorial University lead the industry and are committed to the region.
On the West Coast, the president had meetings with the majority of regional members of the House of Assembly (MHA) and Gudie Hutchings, member of Parliament (MP) for the District of Long Range Mountains.
In Plum Point, President Timmons met with six mayors and community leaders, and Chris Mitchelmore, then-minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour and MHA for the District of St. Barbe-L’Anse-aux-Meadows:
— Vianne Timmons (@vianne_timmons) July 20, 2020
The municipal leaders expressed their excitement at meeting a Memorial president.
Though Grenfell Campus has worked in the area, they are all thrilled to start a meaningful relationship with the broader Memorial community.
Dr. Timmons had this to say in a tweet about meeting Yvonne Jones, MP for Labrador, in Mary’s Harbour:
With our amazing MP Yvonne Jones @YvonneJJones in Labrador. She credits her political career to @MemorialU @LabInstitute Thank you for all you do for NL #talesfromtheroadMUN pic.twitter.com/yXLMpO31Ug
— Vianne Timmons (@vianne_timmons) July 23, 2020
Ms. Jones noted the tremendous opportunities the university provides to all young people of the province and doesn’t think she’d be where is today without Memorial.
While in Labrador, Dr. Timmons also spent time with Lisa Dempster, now minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation, and met Alison Coffin, third party House leader; and Jordan Brown, MHA for Labrador West.
Part of the community
A stop in Grand Falls-Windsor provided the opportunity to meet with all three levels of government in one productive meeting with Mayor Barry Manual and town councillors; Pleaman Forsey, MHA for the District of Exploits; and Scott Simms, MP for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame.
Dr. Timmons tweeted:
Meeting with Grand Falls-Windsor. We have partnerships and they are excited about working closer with @MemorialU @grenfellcampus Thank you for the frank discussion. #talesfromtheroadMUN pic.twitter.com/SX03oexZeH
— Vianne Timmons (@vianne_timmons) August 5, 2020
While noting the partnerships already existing in such areas as medicine and mining, the mayor wants the community to see that Memorial is part of that community and wants to maximize the potential in further collaboration with the university.
What Dr. Timmons learned on the road is that Memorial is viewed as a critically important partner for the development, not just of this province, but of the towns big and small who see their own home-grown potential.