Friday, September 7, 2018

UWI celebrates 70 Amazing Years

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 30 July 2018

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

The week started on a high note, with a Jamaica House Reception to launch a week of activities in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the University of the West Indies.  It is remarkable, as noted in a documentary by Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, that there are 15 current heads of Government in the Caribbean, who are graduates of the University of the West Indies.  These include Jamaica’s Prime Minister Most. Hon. Andrew Holness; our Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips is also a graduate. 
Professor Merle Collins gives the Reply on behalf of
Pelican Honourees

As for those of my generation, we were able to pay low university fees in the seventies, and I believe that we continue to feel a sense of responsibility to our country because of this precious gift. 

The citations for the seven recipients of UWI Pelican Awards, one for each decade, reflected this gratitude, a passion to give back, and so their distinguished careers have been marked by not only professional excellence, but also by their volunteerism and philanthropy.  The recipients, starting with the first decade were: Dr. Lloyd Stanford, Jamaica; Dr. Karl Massiah, Barbados; Professor Merle Collins, Grenada; Hon. Justice Dr. Irving W. Andre, Dominica; Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, St. Lucia; Dr Andre Haughton, Jamaica; Dr. Nicole Nation, Jamaica.

Legendary philanthropist Valerie Facey with Ryland Campbell
and Peter Williams
Phase Three Chairman Dr Marcia Forbes has sponsored the recording of interviews with the Pelican honourees, and related their emotional moments as they recalled their years at UWI. At the event, it was special to see two of my own amazing professors: Professor Maureen Warner-Lewis and Professor Edward Baugh. How blessed we were to be guided though the literary works of centuries and continents by these masters.

Congratulations to UWI Alumni President Jacqueline Sharp, Director of Alumni Relations Celia Davidson Francis and UWI Alumni Past President Cecile Clayton for pulling together such a meaningful week of activities for us proud Pelicans.

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