News Releases

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles Receives Honorary Doctorate from University of the Virgin Islands

For Release Upon Receipt - May 13, 2016


The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) has conferred an honorary doctorate on the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. Sir Hilary delivered the keynote address at the 2016 commencement ceremonies of the UVI.   

“I was a student in the 1970s, a decade that embraced Black Power, anti-apartheid, and all of those struggles. We had a sense of responsibility for those who were going to walk in our footsteps. You have done what our generation expected of you and, to my mind, you are looking just fine,” he told the gathering.

UVI President David Hall said Sir Hilary is “The epitome of academic excellence and an outstanding Caribbean scholar. We want the presence and words of Sir Hilary Beckles to inspire our graduates to reach for the stars of their own aspirations, and to contribute to the intellectual, educational and economic growth of the Caribbean as Sir Hilary has done through his work.” 

Renowned Virgin Islanders Ruth Moolenaar of St. Thomas and Richard A. Schrader, Sr. of St. Croix also received honorary doctorates at the UVI’s 52nd annual commencement ceremonies for their cultural and intellectual contributions to the territory. 

Nearly 300 degrees were conferred at those ceremonies, held on May 12 and 13, in St. Thomas and St. Croix. 

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, an Economic Historian, was installed as the 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) on 30, May, 2015. Before assuming the office of Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Sir Hilary was Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Cave Hill Campus in Barbados for thirteen years (2002-2015). Sir Hilary is a distinguished university administrator, and transformational leader in higher education. 

For his complete biography, visit:


About UVI

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) lies in the heart of the beautiful Caribbean. Although UVI is located in one of the most popular vacation spots in the world, it offers far more than just sun, sand and sea. The UVI experience is uniquely multi-cultural, international, entrepreneurial and intellectually stimulating. UVI provides a vital and exciting environment for educating future leaders of the global 21st century community.

Founded in 1962, UVI is a public, co-ed, land-grant HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Approximately 2,500 students are enrolled on the two campuses: the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix and the St. Thomas campus. The institution offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across its five colleges and schools. 


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

 (Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)