News Releases

The UWI’s 2018 Graduation Ceremonies begin October 13

For Release Upon Receipt - October 12, 2018


Over 8000 students to graduate; Grace Jones among 18 to receive honorary degrees.

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. October 12, 2018. Eighteen influencers who have made outstanding contributions regionally and internationally within their respective fields will be awarded honorary degrees by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) this year. As is tradition, the honorary graduands represent a cross-section of eminent persons in the arts, sciences and other fields of intellectual endeavour. Their degrees, which have been approved by the University Council, will be conferred at The UWI’s 2018 graduation ceremonies and presented by Chancellor Robert Bermudez.

This year, over 8000 graduates are expected to participate in the traditional ceremonies—a total of 13 across the four campuses. The schedule begins October 13 with the Open Campus in Saint Lucia, and continues on October 20 at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, October 25 through 27 at the St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago and November 2 through 3 at the Mona Campus in Jamaica. Each ceremony will be streamed live on UWItv via for friends, family and well-wishers who want to view the proceedings.

The complete list of UWI honorary graduands for 2018 and each of their nominated honorary degrees and bios follow.


Open Campus

§  The Honourable Dame Janice Mesadis Pereira DBE from the British Virgin Islands for her work in law – LLD

§  Mr Larry Quinlan from St Kitts for his work in leadership – LLD


Cave Hill Campus

§  The Honourable Justice Adrian Dudley Saunders from St Vincent and the Grenadines for his work in law – LLD

§  Professor Ebenezer Oduru Owusu from Ghana for his contribution as an agricultural scientist – DSc


St Augustine Campus

§  Mrs Paula Lucie-Smith from Trinidad and Tobago for her contributions as a teacher, advocate and pioneer – LLD

§  Professor Dermot Kelleher from Ireland for his work in research and medicine – DSc

§  The Honourable Hubert Ingraham from The Bahamas for his work as a politician – LLD

§  Mr Shivnarine Chanderpaul from Guyana for his achievements in the sport of cricket – LLD

§  Mr Winston Mc Garland Bailey (Shadow) from Trinidad and Tobago for his contributions as a musical composer – DLitt


Mona Campus

§  Mr Michael Anthony Holding from Jamaica for his achievements in the sport of cricket – LLD

§  The Honourable Kenneth S. Benjamin, OJ, CD from Jamaica for his leadership in the field of security – LLD

§  Mrs Donette Chin-Loy Chang from Jamaica for her philanthropy – LLD

§  Mr H. Carl McCall from the US for his leadership in public service – DLitt

§  Professor Shirley J. Thompson from Jamaica/UK, for her ground-breaking work as a classical music composer, artistic director and educator – DLitt

§  Ms Grace B. Jones from Jamaica for her achievements as an entertainer, model and global trendsetter – DLitt

§  Dr The Honourable Karl Wellington OJ, CD from Jamaica for his contributions as an agricultural scientist – DSc

§  Mr Lloyd A. Williams from Jamaica for his contributions in leadership – LLD

§  Mr Montgomery Bernard “Monty” Alexander from Jamaica for his achievements as a musician - DLitt





The Honourable Dame Janice Mesadis Pereira DBE

The illustrious Dame Janice is a renowned legal professional who has dedicated many years of service to the people of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the wider region.  In 2012, she was sworn in as the first female Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC).

Born in Virgin Gorda, BVI, she went on to obtain her Law degree at The UWI Cave Hill in 1979, her Legal Education Certificate from the Norman Manley Law School and was called to the Bar in the BVI in 1981.  For the decades that followed she built a long and successful legal career, first as a registrar and then as an associate and partner with well-respected legal firms.

In September 2003, she was appointed Judge of the ECSC and was assigned to the territories of Anguilla and Montserrat.  In 2009, Dame Janice was elevated to Justice of Appeal and one of the first females to be so appointed. On September 28, 2012, she was appointed to the Office of Chief Justice, the first female to do so since the Court’s creation in 1967.

Dame Janice is also a distinguished alumna of The University of the West Indies and has been recognised for her extraordinary qualities as a legal professional by Caribbean leaders.   In 2013, she was awarded the title “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire” by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

An incredibly active jurist, Dame Janice serves as Chair of the Judicial and Legal Services Commissions (JLSC) of both BVI and Anguilla, and is a member of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission of the Caribbean Court of Justice. She is also a member of the Cayman Islands JLSC.  She is an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, UK and a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute.  She has received several awards for dedicated service and contributions to the administration of justice.



Mr Larry Quinlan


Larry Quinlan is a leader in business, technology, and community engagement. Born in St. Kitts, he is the Global Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Deloitte, one of the largest privately owned companies in the world, where he leads the technology organisation that serves over 260,000 people in more than 150 countries and territories. He oversees an annual technology investment programme of US$1.6 billion.

Mr Quinlan is also deeply involved in community engagement. He has a long history of working with community organisations that address issues such as encouraging young people in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, leadership, technology, and diversity and inclusion.

He currently serves or has served on the boards of several prominent organisations, including the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI), the Miami Knowledge is Power Programme (KIPP), the Global Leadership Forum Board, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Executive Leadership Council, and many others.

As a proud alumnus of The UWI (Cave Hill and St. Augustine campuses), Mr Quinlan has facilitated and has made considerable personal donations to the university. Every year, he funds two scholarships to The UWI Open Campus for students from the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis. In 2011, he gave the keynote address at The UWI St. Augustine Campus’ “Evening of Excellence.”

Mr Quinlan has received numerous honours for his work in technology and community, including induction into’s 2018 CIO Hall of Fame, a Caribbean American Heritage Award for Outstanding Contribution to Corporate America, and the AFUWI Vice-Chancellor’s Award.





The Honourable Mr Justice Adrian Dudley Saunders

Vincentian Justice Adrian Saunders has a powerful reputation as a Caribbean jurist, judicial reformer and educator.

He received his Law degree from The UWI in 1975 and was called to the Bar in 1977. He founded the firm of Saunders & Huggins and was later appointed High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) in 1996. In 2004 he was appointed to act as Chief Justice of the ECSC until he was appointed a Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2005.

Before being appointed a judge, Justice Saunders was a member of the Bar Council of The OECS Bar Association and Secretary of the St Vincent Bar Association. While a judge on the ECSC he immersed himself in reform initiatives as Chairman of that court’s Judicial Education Institute from 2001 to 2004 and Chair of its Ethics Committee from 2000 to 2004, presiding over the adoption of a code of ethics for Eastern Caribbean judges.

Justice Saunders is a faculty member, and currently Director of Studies, of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in Halifax, Canada. As such he has contributed to the judicial education of judges from over 30 countries. He has also lectured part time at The UWI, St Augustine and is a co-author of Fundamentals of Caribbean Constitutional Law.

Justice Saunders led the development of the CCJ’s first Strategic Plan in 2012. He has also been the Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers since its formation in 2009 and has played a leading role in the development of gender-sensitive protocols for Caribbean Judicial Officers.

Justice Saunders is a lover of sports. He represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines in table tennis on a number of occasions. He is married to Angela nee Joslyn and they have two sons. He was sworn in as President of the CCJ on July 4, 2018.



Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

Professor Owusu is an internationally renowned and respected scholar who has made an enormous contribution to agricultural science and education in his home country of Ghana and Japan. In his current post as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Owusu is working with The UWI to strengthen the relationship between the universities. 

Born in Takwa, Ghana, Professor Owusu started his elementary education at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana primary school, then to St Peters Secondary School, and continued all the way to the University of Ghana, where he completed his first degree in Agriculture. Already a high achiever, the Professor was awarded a prestigious Monbukagakusho Japanese scholarship in 1989, which led him to complete his postgraduate and doctoral degrees at Kochi University, and forged strong links in Japan that he retains today.

As a faculty member at Kochi University, Research fellow at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and later faculty of the University of Ghana, Professor Owusu has carried out extensive research in Entomology, looking at insect pests of agricultural and medical importance. Some of his significant accomplishments are the development of a system to manage the threat of the Millet head miner, a grain-killing moth that affects West Africa as well as elucidating the biochemical mechanisms of cotton aphid resistance to insecticides, which has world-wide applications.  He has also trained numerous PhD and MPhil students.

Today Professor Owusu is a celebrated administrator, researcher and consultant. At the University of Ghana, he was able to attract funding to personally build a food security laboratory and purchase expensive specialised equipment. In his senior administrative roles, he has been intimately involved in the expansion of the University of Ghana in infrastructure, new buildings, personnel, international partnerships, as well as embarked on various transformations to make the University of Ghana the leading university in West Africa.

In Ghana, Professor Owusu is a member of numerous boards and councils of national importance, including the Cocoa Research Institute, to which he was appointed Chair by the President of Ghana, as well as a member of the National Accreditation Board of Ghana. In Japan he was decorated as “A Living Legend” by the people of Kochi, and was given Japan’s “Order of the Rising Sun” a national honour by the Emperor of Japan. 





Mrs Paula Lucie-Smith

Paula Lucie-Smith is a national scholarship winner, teacher and author, but she is known best for her enormous contribution to Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean as founder of the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA). Starting with a small literacy class of 20 students in 1990, ALTA has developed into a multi-faceted programme that operates at more than 50 venues and has provided instruction for over 15,000 students.

Mrs Lucie-Smith completed her postgraduate degree in the UK before returning home to become a teacher. It was during this time she recognised the problem of adult literacy and decided to offer a class. From this small beginning ALTA was born. ALTA is a literacy programme, taught fully by volunteer tutors and delivered free of charge to students. It is also a life skills programme which focuses on personal development and empowerment.

Through the programme she has been able to reach people from many walks of life who had fallen through the cracks of the education system, offering instruction in classrooms, homes, churches, prisons and businesses. ALTA provides instruction to young adults, those in their middle years and the elderly. Using the methods she developed through ALTA, Mrs Lucie-Smith has created pedagogical materials that have been recognised by several international agencies including UNESCO and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She has written and edited more than 60 ALTA publications. She has also developed ALTA’s tutor training programme for literacy tutors. Over 2,500 volunteers have learned to teach literacy through this programme.

Mrs Lucie-Smith has been a consultant on many national committees such as the Ministry of Education National Reading Policy Committee in 2007 and the Primary School Curriculum committee in 2011. She has been the recipient of several awards for her service to her nation and region, including the Hummingbird Gold National Award and the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence in Public and Civic Contributions. ALTA has received the JB Fernandes Award for NGO Excellence (2014) and the Energy Chamber NGO Award for Good Governance (2017).



Professor Dermot Kelleher

Professor Dermot Kelleher is a highly influential and prolific researcher whose work has been recognised internationally for innovation in academic health leadership and administration, clinical care, research and education.  Professor Kelleher is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President of Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where he helps to facilitate greater collaboration and integration in research and learning across the university, with particular focus on large scale grants and new programme development.

Born of a Trinidadian mother and Irish father, Professor Kelleher is a highly experienced investigator with over 300 publications in international scholarly writing. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin in the area of Gastroenterology, he was a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Science, one of the most prestigious career development awards for young researchers in Britain and Ireland. Professor Kelleher paid a visit to The UWI St. Augustine’s Faculty of Medicine in 2017 and delivered a Distinguished Lecture.

As a researcher he has focused on mechanisms of immune responses in the gastrointestinal tract, where he has won several research awards from agencies such as the Health Research Board of Ireland and the European Commission. He has also led applications that resulted in the establishment of new facilities at Trinity College Dublin, such as the Institute for Molecular Medicine, the Wellcome Trust HRB Clinical Research Facility and the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.



The Right Honourable Hubert Alexander Ingraham

The Right Honourable Hubert Ingraham has been a political force in the Bahamas for several decades, culminating in his historic victory to become Prime Minister in 1992. As Prime Minister, Mr Ingraham led the Bahamas through tumultuous periods in the global economy. He is credited with facilitating the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort development, making the Bahamas a major tourism destination.

Mr Ingraham rose to power in the election of August 1992, where his Free National Movement (FNM) Party unseated the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) of Prime Minister Lynden Pindling, which had been in power since 1967. He served as Prime Minister for three non-consecutive terms between 1992 and 2002 and again from 2007 to 2012. He was the Member of Parliament for North Abaco for 35 years.

Born in Pine Ridge, Grand Bahama, Mr Ingraham’s first profession was as a lawyer.  In 1975, he entered front-line politics when he was elected to the National General Council of the PLP.  He advanced quickly, becoming National Chairman of the party and member of its National Executive Committee in 1976. Elected to the House of Assembly in 1977, by 1982 he was a Cabinet Minister. 

Dismissed from Cabinet in 1984, he was expelled from the PLP in 1985 but re-elected to the House of Assembly as an Independent in 1987.  In April 1990 he joined the Official Opposition and was unanimously elected leader.  In their 1992 election victory, Mr Ingraham and the FNM party won an overwhelming 32 to 17 seats.

As Prime Minister, Mr Ingraham promoted trade, industry and investment. He is remembered for ending government monopoly in telecommunications and broadcasting, the promotion of information and communication technologies (ICT), the introduction of elected local government in the Family Islands, country-wide infrastructural upgrades and guiding the country through the Great Recession.


Mr Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a humble legend of West Indies cricket. Born in Guyana, this former West Indies captain is the first cricketer of Indo-Caribbean descent to play 100 tests for the West Indies and only the third international to have a career of over two decades. Mr Chanderpaul has scored over 20,000 runs in international cricket and was awarded the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy in 2008.

Born and raised in Unity Village, his interest in cricket was nurtured by his father from a young age and by the time he was eight years old, he was playing for the village team. He made his first-class cricket debut for the national team at age 17 and in the following year (1993) played for the West Indies Under-19 team in England. Mr Chanderpaul scored an impressive 372 runs during the series, including an outstanding 203 runs not out in the first test, making him the team’s highest scorer. From there his reputation as a batsman and all around good cricketer grew.

In his career Mr Chanderpaul has scored over 11,800 runs in test cricket, giving him the eighth highest total for a test batsman in history. He has been in several crucial batting partnerships with fellow greats such as Brian Lara and Carl Hooper. In 2004 he became Captain of the West Indies team and in the first match in a series against South Africa, scored 203 runs not out, making him only the second batsman in history to score a double century in their captaincy debut.

Off the field, Mr Chanderpaul has led many community level projects in his home village, regional projects in Guyana and has influenced West Indies policy and practice over the years. His influence as a skilled, focused and hardworking sportsman has extended to many cricket playing nations.



Mr Winston Mc Garland Bailey (Shadow)

Winston Bailey, known in the world of Caribbean music as ‘Shadow’, is one of the most creative artists in the history of calypso. With his rich voice, anti-hero/diabolical persona and unique performance style, Mr Bailey is a true musical innovator that has had a major influence on the music of Trinidad and Tobago and its counterparts throughout the region.

Born in Belmont, Trinidad and raised in Les Coteaux, Tobago, Mr Bailey began to sing at an early age and had ambitions of being a performer. He made his big splash in 1974, winning both first and second place in the Road March competition with “Bassman” and “I Come out to Play”. Audiences were entranced by this new type of performer—deep voiced, black-clad, lyrics referencing the devil and madness, and standing still instead of dancing.

Over the years he has remained consistent, producing some of the most original, evocative, insightful and dark music to come out of the genre. His hits include “King from Hell”, “Tension”, “Feeling the Feeling”, “Dingolay”, “Poverty is Hell” and many more. In 2003 he was recognised for his contribution to the nation, receiving the Silver Hummingbird Medal, a state decoration of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr Bailey has created an important legacy for the Trinidad and Tobago music industry. For some time, he was one of the few artists that produced singles and albums every year. Other calypsonians have paid homage to his unique vocal and arrangement style in their own compositions. He is also a mentor to emerging calypsonians and songwriters. He references Tobago, its people and culture in many of his compositions.




Mr Michael Anthony Holding

Mr Michael Anthony Holding, born in Kingston Jamaica, is known internationally as a legend of West Indies cricket and a leading figure in the pursuit of social and political justice. Regarded as one of the fastest bowlers ever to play the sport, he showed the strength of his principles in the 1980s when he refused to play in apartheid South Africa, sacrificing millions of dollars. At the time he said: “I could never sacrifice my birth right as a West Indian for a mess of pottage.” His stance became a rallying cry for anti-apartheid activism and sentiments.

Mr Holding, alongside Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Sylvester Clarke, Colin Croft, Wayne Daniel and Malcolm Marshall, was part of the West Indies’ pace bowling onslaught that made the team so formidable during the 1970s and 1980s. He made his test debut in Australia in 1975 and by 1976 he broke the record for best bowling figures in a test match by a West Indian: 14 wickets for 149 runs. In 1977 he was selected as Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year.

Now retired, Mr Holding has become an accomplished broadcaster, working first in radio and then moving to television in 1990. He became a member of the Sky Sports cricket commentary team as well as a semi-regular on the Channel 9 commentary team in Australia, and has been working for Supersport in South Africa over the past five years during their summer months.

In 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Degree and Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of East London for his service to sports. He also holds an honorary degree from the University of East Anglia.



The Honourable Kenneth S. Benjamin, OJ, CD

Kenneth Benjamin is the founder of Guardsman Limited, the largest security firm in the Caribbean with branches in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Barbados. However, Mr Benjamin has become even more renowned for his incredible philanthropic work. He has taken the concept of corporate social responsibility to an almost unparalleled level and continues to make an extremely robust and impactful contribution to Jamaican society.

Born in India, Mr Benjamin came to Jamaica at 17 to attend a test match between India and the West Indies. Enamoured by the island and its people, he returned seven years later in 1977 and established Guardsman Limited. Over the decades the company has expanded into the Guardsman Group, a highly successful conglomerate of nine companies operating in the region. The Guardsman Group employs over 8,000 people, making it the second largest employer in Jamaica after the Government.

The list of Mr Benjamin’s philanthropic and community-building efforts in Jamaica is extremely long. He was Chairman of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, contributing to its modernisation. He created a modern, eco-friendly farm and zoo called Serenity Park that included free tours for school children and an educational programme on environmental issues in Jamaica. In 2011, he adopted Hope Zoo and has made a multi-million-dollar investment to modernise it.

Through the Guardsman Group he creates and supports youth and community initiatives such as developing new industries to create employment, providing job skills training, hosting events that promote values such as good citizenship, and rehabilitating prison inmates.

Mr. Benjamin has received much recognition for his success in business and contribution to society. In 2013 he was awarded the Order of Jamaica.


Mrs Donette Chin-Loy Chang

Donette Chin-Loy Chang is a Jamaican Canadian journalist and communications specialist, as well a passionate philanthropist and community volunteer. Her enormous sense of community, equity and fair play has driven her philanthropic activities in the Caribbean and Canada. Her efforts include support for The UWI. 

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, at age 17 she immigrated to Canada and studied at Ryerson University.  She went on to work at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where she excelled as a journalist and producer.   She was recruited by Ruder Finn & Rotman, a leading US public relations firm, and then went on to head the radio department of the Jamaica Information Service.  Mrs Chin-Loy Chang has trained journalists in several Caribbean countries and was a visiting lecturer at The UWI’s CARIMAC.

With her husband, Jamaican-Canadian business leader and philanthropist, G. Raymond Chang, she shared a vision of a better world, focusing on education, health and the environment. Together they made major donations of their time and financial resources. Mr Chang passed away in 2014, and Mrs Chang continues their shared legacy of helping to make communities better.

She is a director of Food for the Poor Canada. She personally funded the construction of two schools in Jamaica, in Accompong and in St Thomas.  Through Food for the Poor Canada she saw the construction of 26 homes in Jamaica and 35 in Haiti, and provided relief goods for disaster-hit islands.

Mrs Chin-Loy Chang is a major supporter of The UWI.  With her husband, they made a major gift of One Million US Dollars.  She is lead patron of the University’s largest fundraiser, the nine-year-old UWI Toronto Benefit Gala, which has raised nearly two million Canadian dollars for scholarships, and awarded approximately 450 scholarships for students across the Caribbean. 


Mr H. Carl McCall

H. Carl McCall is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY), a position that has allowed him to be a strong advocate for education and empowerment. Even prior to holding this position, he was a distinguished public servant and policymaker with a special emphasis on public education. Along with the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles, Mr McCall is Co-Chair of the SUNY UWI Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development, based in New York.

Born in Boston, USA, he attended Dartmouth College (one of the USA’s oldest and most prominent universities), Andover Newton Theological Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh. In his professional life he entered public service, holding three terms as a New York State Senator, serving as an Ambassador to the United Nations, and working as Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, among other important posts. Mr McCall was President of the New York City Board of Education from 1991 to 1993, setting policy for the largest school system in the US. One of his main policy interests is the advancement of minority and immigrant populations.

In his role as Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, Mr McCall has a critical position in a comprehensive university system that is educating more than 460,000 students on 64 campuses. In 2016, he played an important role in the partnership for the SUNY UWI Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development. The Centre was established to empower people from the Caribbean and other small island developing states through accessible educational programmes.



Professor Shirley J. Thompson

Professor Shirley J. Thompson is a renowned composer, artistic director and academic. Born in London of Jamaican parents, this visionary artist and cultural activist is the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony in the last 40 years. Believing in the transformative power of music to affect social, cultural and political change, she has composed extensively for orchestra, opera, dance, TV and film.

Thompson is a graduate of Liverpool University where her talent for composing music was encouraged by leading academic and composer, Professor Robert Orledge. She then attended Goldsmiths’, University of London, where she studied under pioneering South African Composer Professor Stanley Glasser. After university she went on to compose solo and instrumental ensemble works while working as a freelance composer for TV, film and theatre. Professor Thompson was the first woman to compose and direct music for a major drama series for the BBC.

In 2000, she was commissioned to compose a large work to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. Thompson composed “New Nation Rising, a 21st Century Symphony”, a compelling musical telling of London's history from 1066 to the present day. Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and accompanied by a host of performers, this epic orchestral work celebrates London’s thousand-year history. The composition’s concept was assumed as the framework for the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

A prolific creative force, Professor Thompson launched and directed the Shirley Thompson Ensemble in 1994, comprising instrumental soloists, singers, dancers, visual artists and poets. The ensemble performed ground-breaking compositions that combined classical music with pop, world music, dance, spoken word and multi-media. She co-scored (and the Ensemble performed) the music for the multi-award-winning contemporary ballet, PUSH, which toured to all the major opera houses in 40 countries over 15 years.

Currently Reader and Head of Composition and Performance at the University of Westminster, she has served for over 20 years at several national arts boards and was the first female executive of the Association of Professional Composers. Professor Thompson has received numerous awards and honours for her work, including a Luminary Award from The UWI in 2016.


Ms Grace Jones

In her career of over five decades, Grace Jones has achieved mega stardom as an author, songwriter, singer, record producer, actress and supermodel. Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Ms Jones is a Caribbean legend whose fame has made her a permanent part of our collective consciousness.

At age 13, Ms Jones left Jamaica with her siblings to live with family in Syracuse, New York. In 1968, she began her modelling career in New York, soon becoming an international star. Jones worked for Paris fashion houses such as Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo, and appeared on the covers of magazines such as Vogue and Elle. She began her music career in 1977, signing with Island Records and performing in the New York City disco scene of the time. In the early 1980s she achieved huge mainstream success with the rise of new wave music and the creative energy it unleashed.

Her 1981 album “Nightclubbing” entered the top 10 in five countries and included the hit single “Pull Up to the Bumper”. It is seen by music scholars as a major influence on popular music both in sound and in the artistic persona of Ms. Jones. She has released 10 studio album and 53 singles in her music career.

Ms Jones has also appeared in several films, including the big budget “Conan the Destroyer”, the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill”, and Eddie Murphy’s comedy classic “Boomerang”. She has acted in over 20 films. She is widely viewed as a style icon and global trend-setter, and has worked with masters of the visual image such as Jean-Paul Goode and Andy Warhol.

Ms Jones has shown interest in HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment and has performed at events hosted by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Foundation for AIDS Research that raised millions of dollars for these causes.



Dr The Honourable Karl Wellington OJ, CD

Dr Karl Wellington is a globally recognised scholar who has received numerous regional and international accolades for his outstanding contribution to the field of agricultural science.  A native of Hanover, Jamaica, he has distinguished himself as an animal geneticist and livestock development researcher and is largely responsible for the development, maintenance and conservation of Jamaica’s four cattle breeds.

A hardworking, high achiever from youth, he entered the Knockalva Practical Training Centre in Hanover.  One year later, he was admitted to and pursued an outstanding three-year career at the Jamaica School of Agriculture.  In 1962 he received the first Jamaica Independence Scholarship to read for his degree in Agriculture at The UWI. In 1968, Dr Wellington received the first PhD in Livestock Science to be offered by the university.

Professionally, he spent 25 years with the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture, demitting office as Director Research and Development. He also spent 14 years with Aluminium Company of Canada as Director Agriculture and Land Reclamation.  Numerous publications have emanated from his work and those of students who he supervised.         

In 1993, Dr Wellington received the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) from the Government of Jamaica, as well as the Silver Musgrave Medal for Animal Science.  He was awarded The UWI Plaque of Honour for Long and Distinguished National Service (in 1998) and several other national, regional and international recognitions.  In 2014, he received the national honour of Order of Jamaica (OJ) and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jamaica Agricultural Society.

Presently, he is the owner of Wellington’s YS Farms in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, where he has been actively involved in cattle breeding for over 35 years.



Mr Lloyd Williams

Mr Lloyd Williams is a businessman, educator, cultural advocate and community leader in the truest sense. He is the President of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce in New York City, an over 100-year-old organisation that serves the interests of one of the USA’s most historically important communities for people of colour. Of Cuban and Jamaican descent, Mr Williams is the godson of internationally renowned human and civil rights icon Malcolm X, and he has dedicated himself to the development and cultural enrichment of Harlem and its residents.

Mr Williams is an honouree of the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) and works with the organisation to pursue the university’s interests in New York and beyond. He was primarily responsible for securing legendary performer Harry Belafonte’s support for the AFUWI Gala. AFUWI raises funds for scholarships, projects and academic programmes for The UWI.

Apart from his position at the Harlem Chamber, Mr Williams is also Co-founder and Chairman of  Harlem Week, a five-week celebration of art and culture that attracts over three million visitors a year; President and Co-founder of The Greater Harlem Housing Development Corporation, an entity that owns and manages 17 mixed-use properties for residential and commercial purposes; Vice Chair of the Harlem Arts Alliance, a non-profit organisation made up of over 800 arts and cultural institutions; and a founding member of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. 

Mr Williams is also Chairman and Co-founder of LMR Productions Inc., an urban marketing, research and special events production company. He serves on the board of NYC & Company, the travel and tourism marketing and promotion arm of New York City.

Mr Williams is devoted to his wife, Valorie, son Lateef Ade, grandson Lenox Ali, and his many beloved godchildren.



Mr Montgomery Bernard “Monty” Alexander

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Montgomery “Monty” Alexander is cited as the fifth greatest Jazz pianist ever in Hal Leonard’s publishing The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Times (2005). Monty Alexander took his first piano lessons at age six but resisted formal instruction.  During his teen years, he enjoyed the performances of Louis Armstrong and Nat “King” Cole in Jamaica.  These artists had a profound and lasting effect on Mr Alexander’s own style. By 14, Mr Alexander made his first recordings, both as leader of a group called Monty and the Cyclones, and as a sideman for such legendary producers as Ken Khouri (Federal Records), Duke Reade (Treasure Isle), and Clement Coxsone Dodd at Studio One.  Mr Alexander came to the United States at the end of 1961.  Less than two years later, while playing in Las Vegas he caught the eye of New York City club owner Jilly Rizzo and his friend Frank Sinatra.  Before long, Mr Alexander was working with Jazz titans Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and Sonny Rollins.

To date, Mr Alexander has recorded over 75 albums as a leader and collaborated on recordings with Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole, and Tony Bennett among many others.  His "Montreux Alexander '76" recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival remains a fan favourite.  Two recent recordings capture the excitement of his live performances around the world: Uplift (JLP), and Harlem-Kingston Express: Live! (Motéma).  Harlem Kingston Express is the most refined expressive vehicle to date of Monty’s love for hard-swinging Jazz and the music of his Jamaican heritage, shifting between an acoustic trio and a Jamaican rhythm section. Both albums reached number one on US radio charts three times dominating Jazz and world music charts.  Harlem-Kingston Express: Live! was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2012 and a Soul Train Award in 2015.  

In 2000 he received Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (Commander) as well as the Gold Musgrave Medal in the same year from the Institute of Jamaica. He also received the prestigious German Jazz Trophy, “A Life for Jazz”, and the Caribbean American Heritage, “Luminary Award”, from the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington, D.C.

2019 will mark the tenth edition of the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival in Easton, Maryland, for which he has served as Artistic Director and perennial performer every Labour Day weekend.

Inching towards his 75th year, Mr Alexander continues his touring as a musical ambassador whose sole purpose is to delight audiences by, as he says, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.”






About The UWI

For the past 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region. In 2018, The UWI celebrates its evolution from 1948 as a university college in Jamaica with 33 medical students to an internationally respected regional university with near 50,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and an 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 & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. Its 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. The UWI has been a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of our people. As the regional institution commemorates its 70th anniversary milestone, it will celebrate its students, faculty, administrators, alumni, governments, and partners in the public and private sector. The anniversary commemoration will focus on reflection as well as projection for the future with an emphasis on social justice and the economic transformation of the region. Website: and . (Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)