News Releases

UWI Honours Black Stalin at Graduation Ceremony

For Release Upon Receipt - November 14, 2008

St. Augustine

Mr Leroy Calliste, the Trinidadian calypsonian known as Black Stalin, was among the four persons conferred with an honorary doctorate at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine graduation ceremonies in October and November this year. This year’s graduation ceremonies came as University marks its 60th Anniversary Celebrations.

Black Stalin was conferred the Doctor of Letters (DLitt) at the Faculty of Humanities and Education’s ceremony on Friday 31st October, 2008. Awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) in 1987, Black Stalin is considered to be one of the major practitioners of traditional Calypso, providing insightful social and political commentary in his compositions. He shared the spotlight at the 2008 Graduation Ceremonies with three other honorary graduands: Hungarian-born Canadian developmental economist Professor Kari Polanyi Levitt, Trinidadian curator and art historian Mr. Kynaston McShine, and Bahamian statesman His Excellency the Honourable Arthur D. Hanna.

Mrs. Angela Cropper, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Director of the United Nations Environmental Program, was scheduled to receive the Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) Honoris Causa of the University of the West Indies. Cropper is most recognised for her leadership and commitment to sustainable development through her work with the Cropper Foundation. Regrettably, due to an emergency, she was unable to return to Trinidad to attend the UWI St. Augustine Campus 2008 graduation ceremony. As such, given the university’s policy which does not allow for the presentation of Honorary Degrees in absentia, Mrs. Cropper was unable to have the degree conferred upon her.

Professor Kari Polanyi Levitt, an economist and scholar was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). Professor Kari Levitt has been associated with scholarship and development policy in the Caribbean for nearly 50 years. During the 1970s she served as advisor on National Accounts to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Professor Levitt is Professor Emerita at McGill University in Canada.

Mr Kynaston McShine, Trinidadian curator and art historian, was awarded the Doctor of Letters (DLitt) honoris causa. Mr McShine has devoted his life to the visual arts and is the Chief Curator at Large of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. His expert work and achievements have been recognised with several awards, including an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Bahamian public servant and statesman, His Excellency the Hon Arthur D. Hanna received an honorary LLD. A champion of civil rights in the Bahamas, His Excellency was appointed the seventh Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The Governor General is also a legal luminary and served as Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives of The Bahamas from 1967 to 1984.

This year the ceremonies took place over two days, from Friday 31 October to Saturday 1 November, with two ceremonies on each day. UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne and Vice Chancellor Professor E. Nigel Harris both addressed the graduands at each of this year’s four ceremonies.

The Valedictorians at this year’s ceremonies were Mr. Istrophle Ali Aziz (Faculty of Humanities and Education), Ms. Nikisha Alana Alexander (Faculty of Medical Sciences), Ms. Charlene Toussaint (Faculty of Engineering), and Ms. Jolene Romain (Faculty of Social Sciences).

For more information on the 2008 UWI Graduation Ceremonies, please contact the Marketing and Communications Office at 662-2002 Ext.