News Releases

Top SEA, CAPE and A Level Students applauded at UWI Matriculation Ceremony

For Release Upon Receipt - September 19, 2008

St. Augustine

The Honourable Christine Kangaloo, Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education (STTE) and Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor E. Nigel Harris welcomed thousands of new students at the St. Augustine Campus’ 2008 UWI Matriculation and Welcome Ceremony yesterday (Thursday) evening.

The STTE Minister reminded the new students to embrace the responsibility that came with their state-subsidised education: “Our societies are, sadly, full of people content to criticise from armchairs and to avoid the responsibility of lifting themselves out of them and doing something about that which they criticise. Let that not be the badge that history attaches to your generation.”

The UWI Vice Chancellor conducted the formal Recognition of New Students, officially welcoming 1,030 new postgraduate students and 3,448 new undergraduate students into the six Faculties of the St Augustine Campus. Most of the undergraduates are enrolled in the Faculties of Social Sciences (1,134) and Science & Agriculture (1,004), with the remainder distributed among the Faculties of Humanities and Education (568), Engineering (320), Medical Sciences (366) and Law (56). The 2008 incoming class is one of the largest ever at the St Augustine Campus.

UWI Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat, who delivered the main address shared from his heart: “I am delighted to welcome you all as fully matriculated students of the University and I wish you nothing but the best in your life at campus, both inside and outside of the classroom. I went through this Ceremony on the 6th of October, 1969. My time on Canada Hall was some of the best years of my life; in fact, I have not left. Let these be your best years also.”

UWI St Augustine Campus Registrar, Mr. Jeremy Callaghan, introduced the country’s top Advanced Level/CAPE student, Donna Mitchell, a first-year student in the University’s undergraduate BSc Economics degree programme. A former student of Shiva Boys' Hindu College, Ms Mitchell was selected from among her peers to execute the symbolic Signing of the Register.

The two-hour ceremony, which started at 5 p.m. in the JFK Quadrangle, also included an entire segment devoted to recognising the academic achievement of the top Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) performers of 2008. Thirteen top SEA performers of the 2008 were recognised by UWI Deputy Principal Professor Rhoda Reddock, who made special presentations to each of the SEA students.

“In recognising their achievement in this way, our purpose is dual. Firstly, we hope that this formal ceremony, with all the pomp and regalia of our 60-year-old tradition, imparts to them some idea of the reward that awaits them if they continue along the path of academic excellence. Secondly, we hope that their academic accomplishment serves as an example to our own incoming students, most of whom are just beginning their academic careers at the undergraduate or postgraduate level,” said Professor Reddock.

The ceremony, one of many time-honoured traditions at the 60-year-old university, also included representation from the UWI Student Guild and the UWI Alumni Association (T&T Chapter). UWI Student Guild President, Mr. Hillan Morean led the new students in the taking of the Academic Vow, while President of the UWI Alumni Association (T&T Chapter), Mr. James Richardson, encouraged the incoming students to think ahead to their responsibilities in their post-student lives.


The University of the West Indies is a contemporary, international tertiary education institution offering innovative programmes, modern facilities and collaborative links with over sixty institutions worldwide. The UWI is the largest internationally accredited university in the region, serving over 40,000 local, regional and international students. UWI is committed to be first in the development of new knowledge unique to the Caribbean and small-island states, and to be the first port of call for Caribbean governments seeking advice and technical expertise for policy development, strategic planning and programme implementation. Persons interested in making donations to the UWI can do so by contributing to the University Campus Endowment Funds, scholarship funds, academic chairs, and new facilities.

The thirteen top 2008 SEA students are (in alphabetical order):

1. Shivanand Balkaran, a former student of Grant Memorial Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Boys' College;

2. Jeanine Bhikarry, a former student of Grant Memorial Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Girls' College;

3. Yasovineeth Bhogadi, a former student of Grant Memorial Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Boys' College;

4. Aliyyah Cassie, a former student of Gasparillo Hindu, now attending Naparima Girls' College;

5. Shenel Gangoo, a former student of Princes Town Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Girls' College;

6. Justine Lewis, a former student of Vistabella Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Girls' College;

7. Tanuja Maharaj, a former student of El Dorado Hindu South, now attending St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph;

8. Vishala Pariag a former student of Exchange Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Girls' College;

9. Claire Ragobar a former student of San Fernando TML, now attending Naparima Girls' College;

10. Anthony Rajkumar, a former student of Curepe Presbyterian, now attending Hillview College;

11. Amelia Ram, a former student of Gandhi Memorial APS, now attending St Augustine Girls' High School;

12. Ajay Rameshwarsingh, a former student of Gandhi Memorial APS, now attending Presentation College, Chaguanas;

13. and Nicholas Singh, a former student of Princes Town Presbyterian, now attending Naparima Boys' College.