October 9th, 1961
On October 9th, 1961, the Elizabeth Avenue campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s was formally opened. Attending the opening were a number of well-known dignitaries including Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Premier Joseph Smallwood, Lord Thomson of Fleet and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Mrs. Roosevelt, the widow of the President of theUnited States of America, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was the official emissary of the President of theUnited States, John F. Kennedy. Mrs. Roosevelt formerly passed over to the Board of Regents and the Senate, the new campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Thousands of school children from all parts of the province took part in the parade up Elizabeth Avenue.
Memorial Universitybegan as Memorial University College (MUC), which opened in September 1925 at a campus onParade StreetinSt. John’s.
Upon opening MUC offered the first two years of university studies, the initial enrollment was 57 students, rising to a peak of over 400 in the 1940s.
The college was established as a memorial to the Newfoundlanders who had lost their lives on active service during the First World War. It was later rededicated to also encompass the province’s war dead of the Second World War.
The post-Confederation government elevated the status of Memorial University College to full university status in August 1949, renaming the institution to Memorial University of Newfoundland. The enrollment in MUN’s first year was 307 students. In 1961, enrollment increased to 1400.
Recommended Reading: Dr. Mel Baker, ‘Celebrate Memorial: A Pictorial History of Memorial University of Newfoundland’ (St. John’s Newfoundland: Memorial University Press © 1999)
Malcolm MacLeod. ‘A Bridge Built Halfway: A History of Memorial University College, 1925-1950.’MontrealandKingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990.
Recommended Website: http://www.mun.ca/