When the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies was devastated by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, a small, dedicated team of Jamaican businessmen formed the Jamaica Appeal Committee. In one year they raised enough funds to contribute significantly towards the repair of the buildings necessary to keep classes going and the University's teaching hospital functioning.
After that task had been completed, the then Vice Chancellor, Sir Alister McIntyre, asked the group to reform themselves into the UWI Development and Endowment Fund, Chaired by the Hon. Dennis Lalor, O.J. By then it was acknowledged that financial structural adjustments in the Caribbean territories which traditionally supported the University would result in a much smaller allocation to the region's primary tertiary institution.
The added advantage of a greater involvement of the Private Sector would be created through the Fund, and it was mandated that this body should endeavour to create a bridge between, "town and gown".
It is believed that the future of the West Indies no longer rests with exporting traditional raw materials or exploiting cheap labour. The region's future lies with "brain power". Therefore, significant investment must be made in human resource development to keep pace with the ever changing technological demands of our times.
The Caribbean and the wider region will be transformed only if the University has the means to unlock the enormous potential of our people.
The University of the West Indies Development & Endowment Fund is committed to support the advancement of the University of the West Indies, as the Caribbean region's leading intellectual centre of teaching and research. Acting as a “bridge” between the University and the wider community, the Fund will provide monetary and other support for the University's programmes to facilitate the unlocking of West Indian potential and ensuring continued growth and development within the region.