100 not out — NCU aims for greater heights

100 not out — NCU aims for greater heights

University says thanks to its partners for their support over the years

Observer writer

Monday, January 27, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — President of Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Dr Lincoln Edwards has highlighted the alignment of the century-old multidisciplinary institution with the practical demands of a modern, developing Jamaican society.

In asserting NCU's position pertaining to national development, Edwards spoke of its involvement in product research and commercialisation, among other accomplishments in national and international spheres.

He was delivering the keynote address at a ceremony during which the university recognised the support of members of Manchester's business, civic and academic communities, as the institution closed its 100th anniversary celebrations in mid-January at its main campus in Mandeville.

Dubbed the NCU Community Partner Recognition Awards, the university's top brass presented 100 commemorative plaques, symbolising the institution's centennial, to some 50 representatives of public and private sector organisations, including the Jamaica Observer.

Edwards, in his wide-ranging address, described a multifaceted learning and research university that offers education and training in diverse vocational and academic disciplines, ranging from a school of nursing to the fine arts.

He championed the Seventh-day Adventist-administered institution's work in scientific research, academia, sports, and in international competitions in digital technology, and declared that “more is yet to come”.

Edwards identified the commercialisation of products which NCU played leading roles in developing.

These include the NCU's own Zon Teasan, a cinnamon-ginger nutri-tea brand launched last year in association with Zon International Holdings, a US-based company.

Zon Teasan, described as a nutraceutical product, was developed by the university's researchers and is an extract from a strain of a cinnamon-ginger plant developed by the Bog Walk, St Catherine, farmer Errol McGhie.

Edwards also lauded the research work of NCU's Professor Paul Gyles in developing the commercial potential of sorrel as a beverage, now on the market. Research has shown that both cinnamon-ginger and sorrel contain anti-cancer agents.

Emphasising the need for mass education at the tertiary level the NCU president argued that, “We have moved from the era in which universities were principally concerned with educating an elite group of young people and conducting research based on the interest of the academics. Society and governments are now expecting more from universities...as governments look increasingly to higher education to help their communities become economically and socially successful in a global economy.”

NCU's achievements locally and internationally over the last decade include being the first and only institution from the Caribbean to win two major international competitions — namely the World Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Competition (2010, Poland) and the International Business Model Competition (Utah, 2018).

The university has also been four-time winners of the National Business Model Competition (2014-2017), two-time winners of the Girls in Information Communication Technology Day Caribbean Hackathon (2017-2018), and first- and second-place winners at the National Science and Technology Fair, put on by Scientific Research Council (2019).

In sport, NCU has excelled in badminton, netball, basketball and football — last year dominating the intercollegiate level of badminton, netball and football to become reigning champions in each.

NCU also copped the Prime Minister's Award for Innovation last year, and have also been National Student Debate champions.

On show at the ceremony, emceed by NCU executives Arnold Kelly and Nadeen Campbell, were other facets of the institution's versatility.

These took the form of performances from the university's music department, with the evening's musical offering ranging from violinist Arieski Garcia's rendition of Bach's Aria, accompanied on piano by Dr Diana Wilson, head of the music department; former student Earlon Cornwall on soprano saxophone with a religious number God and God Alone; and a scintillating delivery by student Erica Lumsden of God Bless NCU, sang to the tune of Whitney Houston's Grammy-Award winning cover version of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You.

The words of God Bless NCU were penned by veteran Adventist pastor Derek Bignall.

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