The UWI sleeves rolled up for service — Sir Hilary Beckles
THE University of the West Indies (The UWI) has proven to be resilient and relevant over its 75 years of service to the Caribbean, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor, has said.
He was addressing the 26th annual awards gala of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) in New York on April 20 — a day proclaimed “The UWI Day” by New York’s Mayor Eric Adams.
Sir Hilary said that the past two years were particularly significant, demonstrating “The UWI’s finest hour in service to the region, evidenced by how we were able to rise up and survive the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“The university was able to roll up its sleeves and get work done delivering courses virtually and keeping our students on course to their chosen careers,” he expanded. Singling out for special mention The UWI medical graduates worldwide whether in hospitals on health councils and committees, Sir Hilary said, “we saved thousands of lives and I am proud to be leading an organisation such as this”.
Describing The UWI today as a multi-mode university, Professor Beckles said that while the university is still committed to a face-to-face modality, it still also boasts hybrid programmes and is also now multilingual and multinational.
“We continue to be totally committed to helping the people of the Caribbean get access to the university education that would help them to make their contribution to humanity. We are an institution battling against a devastation of history — climate change, rising sea temperature. For 75 years we have been the whistleblower on climate change and we continue to do all we can to preserve our beautiful islands of the Caribbean,” he declared.
The annual awards gala, which raises funds to provide scholarships for students to The UWI, this year honoured Sandra L Richards, managing director, head of global sports and entertainment and segment sales, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management; Mark AG Brantley, premier of Nevis; Dr Farley R Cleghorn, chief medical officer and global head, health practice, The Palladium Group; Busta Rhymes, American rapper; Robert “Don Pooh” Cummins, veteran music industry executive and entrepreneur; Dr Hazel Carter, associate professor and programme director of educational leadership, City College of New York; and Beverley Hunter, administrative officer, institutional advancement division, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies.
“The 2023 awardees illustrate the tremendous depth of talent and accomplishment which exists in the islands of the Caribbean and the diaspora. We are grateful for their contributions to the betterment of their communities and their support to our beloved UWI,” Professor Beckles said.
To date, the AFUWI, having hosted 25 legacy award galas, has contributed US$8.3 million in donated items and an average of 50 tuition scholarships to The UWI.