News Releases

The UWI St. Augustine mourns the passing of Honorary Graduate, Elliot “Ellie” Mannette

For Release Upon Receipt - August 30, 2018

St. Augustine

"The world has lost yet another pioneer of the steelpan industry with the passing of Ellie Mannette", said Professor Brian Copeland, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI). Eighteen years ago, in 2000, the regional University proudly recognised the steelpan pioneer with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters for "the special and decisive advances which he made to rescue a marginal group". It was in the citation for the conferment of the degree that Ellie was called "The greatest innovator Trinidad has ever produced".
As part of their steelpan technology research in the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Copeland and Professor Emeritus Clement Imbert collaborated with Mannette in a 2001 visit to the West Virginia University (WVU) where Ellie was Artiste in Residence. At WVU, Ellie taught courses in steelpan construction and performance in the University Tuning Project in their World Music program. That University spun off a company called Mannette Musical Instruments (formerly Mannette Steel  Drums) that manufactures and markets high quality steelpans.
Apart from his UWI Honorary Degree, Ellie  was the recipient of two national awards from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1969 he was awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for his innovations in pan making and in 2000 he was also awarded the Chaconia Medal (Silver) for his outstanding contribution to culture. In the US, he was the recipient of the very prestigious National Heritage Fellowship Award, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the US Percussive Arts Society. Professor Copeland referred to him as "a humble man who truly experienced a lifetime of achievement from his dedication to and passion for the steelpan.”
On behalf of the entire Campus community of The UWI, Professor Copeland expressed condolences to his family and to the steelpan community on the passing of this great innovator. 
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, The 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, Social Sciences and Sport. The 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.)