The 12th annual Ottawa Affinity Dinner, Memorial University’s premier alumni event in the nation’s capital, took place on Nov. 1 at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Over 300 alumni and friends gathered at the event to reconnect with old friends and colleagues, network, and celebrate a shared pride in the university and in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor, welcomed guests and reported on Memorial’s progress and recent success in several areas. He spoke of the development of new core science facilities at the university and discussed plans to double the size of the Faculty of Engineering over the next 10 years, describing it as “a game changer for Memorial.”
He also commended the commitment of the alumni community in Ottawa. “It is you, our alumni and friends, who lay the foundation for this success,” he said. Your passion for Memorial and your commitment to our sustained growth and transformation is inspirational and worthy of celebration at events like this one.”
Tim Powers, well-known political commentator and Memorial alumnus, was the evening’s master of ceremonies and The Honourable Peter Penashue, Canada’s minister of intergovernmental affairs and president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, delivered the keynote address on challenges and opportunities in Labrador.
Minister Penashue touched on the vast opportunities for Labrador and the key role Memorial plays in preparing and educating the leaders of tomorrow to ensure those opportunities are realized, noting that the riches of Labrador include not only its natural resources, but also its significant people resources.
Tom Bursey, chair of the Ottawa Affinity organizing committee was thrilled with the success of the event and noted the energy and enthusiasm in the room.
“It is amazing to see so many Memorial alumni supporting their alma mater,” said Bursey. “Every year at this event, I see familiar faces and many new ones. I’ve been part of Ottawa Affinity for the last 12 years and I’m proud of its continued success. I look forward to many more Affinity events in the years to come.”
For the past several years, Memorial University has hosted Affinity celebrations in several locations across Canada and beyond, including Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Calgary and London, England. The events bring together alumni and friends to celebrate a shared affinity for Memorial and for Newfoundland and Labrador. Proceeds from the events support scholarships and bursaries at the university.