News Releases

UWI wows with Black Tie Fundraiser

For Release Upon Receipt - December 17, 2008

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies affirmed its identity as the Caribbean’s most enduring symbol of regional integration on Friday night when it hosted “60” – The Gala, the black-tie fundraiser dinner that brought its yearlong 60th Anniversary Celebrations to a climactic conclusion. “60” was held at the Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency under the distinguished patronage of His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and former UWI St Augustine Campus Principal. 


The Gala attracted many top-level leaders of the regional university, including UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne, Vice Chancellor Professor E. Nigel Harris, Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal (St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago) Professor Clement Sankat, University Registrar Mr C. William Iton, and University Bursar Mr Winston Bayley.  Also present at the red carpet affair were Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, The Honourable Christine Kangaloo; Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, The Honourable Fitzgerald Jeffrey; and Grenadian Minister in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture, The Honourable Arley Gil.


Professor Sankat, opened the auspicious evening with sober reflection, placing the yearlong celebrations in the context of the global crises which have emerged in the areas of finance, the environment, energy and food security.


“While we celebrate this evening, we also embrace our responsibility as THE regional university, to prepare collaborative and innovative regional responses to the global problems of this new age,” said Professor Sankat, whose Welcome Address closed with a strong re-affirmation of the University’s commitment to serve the Caribbean by identifying the needs of its peoples and championing the execution of affordable solutions to the identified needs.


On the heels of Professor Sankat’s affirmation, Professor Gurmohan Kochhar, Chair of the Gala Black Tie Fundraising Committee, urged all the University’s stakeholders to renew and strengthen their relationships with the longstanding regional institution. Professor Kochhar asserted that it was through its relationships with regional governments, corporate sponsors, and individual and institutional supporters, that The University of the West Indies has become an innovative, internationally competitive, contemporary university whose alumni include 14 heads of government, one Nobel laureate and countless leaders in industry across the Caribbean and North America.


Minister Christine Kangaloo, delivering remarks on behalf of The Honourable Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, compared the University to another significant international organisation: “The University shares with no less than the United Nations a special relationship to the year 1948. It was in 1948 that the UN proclaimed its Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people and all nations. At the same time, the University was opening its doors in one of the first collective expressions of West Indian identity. Since then, the University has done as much for the liberation and pride of West Indian people as the UN’s Declaration has done for the world.”


Professor E. Nigel Harris, UWI Vice Chancellor and Chair of the Central 60th Anniversary Steering Committee, presented original watercolour paintings by celebrated Trinidadian artist Donald ‘Jackie’ Hinkson to four institutions who have demonstrated longstanding commitment to partnering with the University: Republic Bank Limited, the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC), Petrotrin, and bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT). Identified as Diamond Sponsors, each will have the opportunity to partner in developing graduate programmes in 2009 to the value of TT$600,000.


“60” – The Gala provided three categories of Strategic Alliance Opportunities to friends of The University of the West Indies, namely Diamond, Emerald and Ruby. Emerald sponsors included Ansa McAL Limited, British-American Insurance, First Citizens, Kee-Chanona Limited, National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB), Trinidad and Tobago National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited (NP), RBTT, and the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC). Proceeds from all UWI 60th Anniversary initiatives support infrastructure projects, and Capital and Student Development at UWI.


Professor Harris also recognised the yearlong efforts of Mrs. Dawn- Marie De Four-Gill, University Director of Marketing and Communications, Ms Joy Pilgrim, member of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations Secretariat in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, and Professor Winston Mellowes, Chair of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations Local Organising Committee.


After the sumptuous four-course dinner, guests were entertained by the Festival Arts Chorale, UWI and The National Steel Symphony Orchestra, both directed by Mr Jessel Murray. Dr. Leroy Calliste, more popularly known as “The Black Stalin”, recipient of the Honarary Doctor of Letters Degree from UWI St Augustine (2008) also performed on the evening.


For more information about the Gala Fundraising Black Tie Dinner, please contact the Local Organising Committee at  or (868) 662-2002 Ext. 3635.