Health Sciences Centre Official Opening Photographs, 1978

Early Days of the Medical School at Memorial University: Health Sciences Centre Official Opening Photographs, 1978

The first home of the Medical School was in the General Hospital, which was located on Forest Road in the east end of St. John's, and in Memorial University's Education Building. In the spring of 1968, the provincial government committed over one million dollars for the construction of the Temporary Buildings on the university campus, which would house the Faculty of Medicine (and other university units) until the mid 1970s. In fact, the first medical class had graduated before the move to the new facilities had begun.

Several individuals played major roles in the events leading up to the construction of the Health Sciences Centre. Lord Taylor, Moses Morgan and Dr. Ian Rusted were in contact on a regular basis with the provincial government working towards the goal of financial commitment to build the complex. In November 1968, Mr. Charles M. (Chick) Campbell, a leading authority on electronic data processing and the application of computers to medical purposes, was hired as the project coordinator for the life sciences-health sciences complex. Mr. Campbell effectively juggled architects, construction engineers, hospital administrators, physicians, faculty, staff and students, while also finding time to be a faculty member teaching in Community Medicine. Mr. Campbell left in 1974, and Mr. Wes Drodge took over that position.

Seven provincial ministers of health, James M. McGrath, July 1956 to September 1967, John C. Crosbie, September 1967 to May 1968, T. Alex Hickman, May 1968 to June 1969, Edward M. Roberts, June 1969 to January 1972, A. T. Rowe, January 1972 to May 1975, Robert Wells, June 1975 to October 1975, and Harold A. Collins, October 1975 to March 1979, were involved with the efforts, which eventually led to the opening of the Health Sciences Centre. There were two deputy ministers of health who also played significant roles, Dr. Leonard Miller and Dr. Donald Cant.

In 1969, Mr. Ralph Moore was appointed as administrator of the St. John's General Hospital. He was also heavily involved with many aspects of the creation of the new life sciences-health sciences complex. Mr. Moore would eventually chair the Planning and Development Committee, which had representatives from the hospital, the government, the university, the architects and the project managers, and which oversaw the planning and construction of the Health Sciences Centre.

Finally, in 1971 Mr. Edward Roberts, then provincial minister of health, wrote the official government letter to the university announcing that federal funding, through the Health Resources Fund, had been confirmed. Now the project would proceed. Once funding was official, Scrivener Products Limited (Toronto) was appointed to be project managers to co-ordinate the development of the facility, working closely with the St. John's firm, Project Management and Design, Limited. Toronto architecture firm, John C. Parkin, was hired to design the facility. On Oct. 26, 1978, the Honourable Frank D. Moores, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, officially opened the Health Sciences Centre.

Health Sciences Information and Media Service (HSIMS), Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, kindly agreed to be a partner in the creation of this exhibit.