To Prof With Love

Wednesday Social

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Sybil Waller Friday, last, hosted a celebratory dinner in honour of her son Professor Lloyd Waller's promotion to Professor of Digital Transformation Policy and Governance, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus.

Family, friends and colleagues gathered inside the Pavillion at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel and awaited the man of the hour who arrived dressed in a green and white Bill Edwards shirt. The light blush-fabric, which draped the suite, added easy charm to the décor and mimicked the cool atmosphere on the outside.

Waller's BFF, Professor Donna Hope, officially started the evening's proceedings with a playful game of tattletale. Shortly after, Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica, along with a few members of his Cabinet, joined the evening's festivities.

PM Holness — who was first introduced to Waller's work when he used one of his texts as a reference whilst completing a master's programme and later used said text as part of a presentation to Parliament — described Waller as “representative of the new breed of academics”. “Academics should not be kept in the university, it is very important that the new breed of academics take their knowledge and use it to support the development of the country,” said Holness. “I think what Lloyd has done is worthy of praise and commendation,” He also took the opportunity to thank Waller for assisting the Government with its review and subsequent reimaging in 2012 after taking a loss at the polls a year prior, a courtesy he admited was seven years late but right on time. Holness dubbed Waller “our leading academic mind on issues to do with e-governance” and said Waller's work will be very important in guiding Jamaica in the decades to come.

Prayer from Waller's cousin, Yolande Whitely, preceded an emotional tribute from his mother, Sybil, who spoke to his early struggles with education and highlighted his many achievements over the years.

Tributes continued, with heartfelt expressions from Professor Anthony Harriot and Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett. Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Fayval Williams spoke on behalf of the eGov family, where Prof Waller is board chairman.

Recording artiste Nadine Sutherland — who met Professor Waller while earning her Master's degree in cultural studies at UWI — serenaded guests with her rendition of Etta James' At Last prior to delivering her Billboard hit, Action.

More tributes followed from Professor Ian Boxill; Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague and Professor Densil Williams, as guests enjoyed dinner in-between sips of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

In his own remarks, Waller spotlighted his struggles during his formative years and his 'aha' moment when his mother — in tears said, “I stop being a mother when I stop believing in you and I will never stop being that.” He's not looked back! “Every dollar I get, I give back 50 per cent to the universe because someone always needs some help,” he said.


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