Please maintain the current name and logo for Memorial University of Newfoundland. I have obtained three advanced degrees at this intstitution, and I am also familiar with its history. To remove the name Newfoundland dishonours the young people who died for their country in the First World War, and for whom the College that became my University was named. In addition, it does not properly reflect one of the main missions of the intstitution.
This mission was to promote the education and professional development of Newfoundlanders, and to take us out of the age where only the privileged were able to get an education. When it was a College it was for those (mostly middle class) individuals who couldn't afford an education England ot Canada. In the 1960's, when it grew and developed towards what it is now, it was a priority to give everyone around Newfoundland and Labrador a chance at higher education (but they had to work to stay in). That was why it was easy to gain admittance, and why the distance education initiatives were such a priority that became a great success. It was also why Education was such a large department, to bring primary and secondary education to everyone, everywhere.
Also, many of the most succesful and world-renowned departments had and have a focus on Newfoundland and Labrador. Here are a few that were well recognised when I was a student:
- C-CORE: Both the academic and commercial successes here are well known around the world, from mechanisms to keep whales away from fishing nets to iceberg tracking and control to research on oil platforms able to withstand our ocean conditions
- Folklore: This is one of the best such departments in the world, and has been extremely active in preserving and spreading our heritage. For example, the musical group Figgy Duff was the main impetus to the renaiissance in traditional music, and also brought such people as Emile Benoit to the general attention of all Newfoundlanders
- Earth Sciences: This is an internationally recognised program, especially the geology component
- Ocean Sciences Centre: Marine Biology and Behaviour. Of particular interest is the lifelong work of Dr. Jon Lien, who developed whale identification techniques so volunteers could track Humpback Whales, and who worked with C-CORE to develop acoustic alarms to warn whales of the proximity of nets. He chairs the Minister's Advisory Council on Oceans
- Distance Education: Our distance learning system has been recognised internationally. It has also facilitated learning opportunities from Nain to Ramea.
- Faculty of Medicine: This was developed so we could train our own doctors, and also try to encourage them to work in their home province. It is usually ranked fairly highly across Canada.
Finally, Memorial University of Newfoundland has been ranked 5th last year in the Macleans survey. We have much to be proud of, and a lot of our success is because of our focus on our home, both in our past and in our future. Why should we hide it, and what is wrong with our name and University Crest?
Douglas G. Mercer,
Doctoral Student and Meteorologist
From Memorial University of Newfoundland:
- B.Sc(Hons) in Math/Physics (1984)
- M.Sc. (Physics) (1988)
- B.Ed. (Secondary Math and Physics) (1996)