Mount Allison Memorial Library
At New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University, alumni and community members have been working tirelessly to save one of the university’s most valued heritage buildings and war memorials.
The Mount Allison Memorial Library was constructed after the First World War to honour the sacrifices and memory of the 73 students who fought and died in the war. Over a third of the university’s population fought in the Great War — proportionately more than any other university in the Commonwealth. After the Second World War, another 90 names of fallen soldiers were added to the library’s dedication plaque.
Over time, university growth warranted a larger library and Memorial Library evolved into a center for student activities. Now, however, the building is in immediate danger of being razed to make room for a $30 million Fine Arts building.
The university estimated that it would cost an additional $5 million to incorporate the existing Memorial Library into the planned Fine Arts complex. Joan Carlisle-Irving, former Mount Allison alumni president and former member of the Senate, was prepared to donate the additional amount and even had a draft letter prepared. However, as reported by Mount Allison's student newspaper, The Argosy, Vice President of University Advancement Gloria Jollymore visited Carlisle-Irving at her home, "imploring her not to send the letter." A link to that story can be found here.
A letter to the community posted on the university's website states, "even if an extra $5 million could be raised, this is not where the University would choose to put the money. There are many other high priority campus and program needs that would take precedence."
Memorial Library was designed by renowned architect Andrew Randall Cobb and is listed as one of the Top Ten Most Threatened Heritage Buildings in Canada by the Canada Heritage Foundation. The building is also registered with the National Inventory of War Memorials.
With November now upon us, there is no better time for us to step up and speak on behalf of Canada’s fallen soldiers to ensure their sacrifice is not forgotten.
What you can do
Educate yourself on this topic. Visit eastmarket.com/smash for the alumni's perspective on the matter, including news items, radio spots, historic background and contact information. To learn more about the proposed Fine & Performing Arts Centre, visit Mount Allison's website at mts.ca/fpac.
Although demolition work has begun, there is still time to save Mount Allison’s Memorial Library. You can sign this petition, or express your views on the Mount Allison University Alumni Facebook page.
A letter urging Mount Allison to stop the demolition, to rescue the Memorial Library and to reexamine their many other options for Fine Arts and Performing Arts facilities on campus should be addressed to Mr. Bruce McCubbin, Chair of the Board of Regents (email@example.com) and Dr. Robert Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copied to the Save the Mount Allison Memorial Library Committee (email@example.com).
Story updated November 14, 2011.