News Releases

International Auditor and Philanthropist, George Samuel Willie to receive UWI Honorary Degree

For Release Upon Receipt - October 13, 2021



The UWI Open Campus, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Wednesday, 13 October 2021—This Saturday, October 16, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus hosts its graduation ceremony for the 2021 graduating class. As the series of virtual ceremonies continues across the regional University this weekend, 877 graduands will officially be conferred their diplomas and degrees, and International Auditor and Philanthropist, George Samuel Willie will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree.

Mr Willie is currently Managing Partner of Bert Smith and Company, a high profile, minority-owned firm in the Washington DC Metro area. His career spans over 40 years in the field of public accounting, with specialisations in consulting and programme management, financial and performance audits, financial reporting, and accounting services. Mr Willie leads a formidable team that has over the years developed unmatched capabilities in serving both the public and private sectors.

For his sterling professional accomplishments, he has received numerous accolades, including recognition as one of the United States’ most influential practitioners by CPA Magazine and Accounting Today. Among his accolades include the Distinguished Alumni Award in the field of Business and Community Service from Howard University; the Special Vision 21 award by the Howard University School of Business; the distinguished Alumni Award from the Kogod School of Business at the America University and several other awards that reflect his invaluable contribution in the accounting profession.

Mr Willie has also been honoured by the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) with the coveted Caribbean Luminary Award for his outstanding professional achievements and his exemplary charitable contributions to The UWI.  He has given significant support to special projects and sponsors the tuition for several students each academic year who have financial challenges.  He is currently an active member of the Executive Team of the Foundation in the capacity of Deputy Treasurer and Chair of the Fund-raising Committee. His personal contributions to the AFUWI in the past four years have exceeded US$100K.

Mr George Willie aligns himself with the programmes at the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), providing access for students and faculty to cutting-edge practices and the up-to-the-minute industry trends. His sponsorship of the annual MSBM Lecture series involves inviting outstanding practitioners to share their experiences with students, providing contacts within industry/academia to strengthen teaching, learning and research capacities.  He was also instrumental in helping the MSBM to gain membership and accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, (AACSB).   

His commitment to providing increased access to higher education for students who face financial challenges is evidenced by his longstanding role as a valued member of the Board of Trustees for Howard University, playing a significant role in providing financial aid for students from Jamaica and the USA. As a token of appreciation for his outstanding charitable contribution, Howard University has named its Accounting Career Awareness course in his honour - The George S. Willie ACAP Programme. Similarly, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica named its Research Centre after him in recognition of his dedicated support to the profession in Jamaica.

His life story is replete with ways in which he has impacted lives of the undeserved in his native land Jamaica, as well as other minority populations in the USA. He is a highly sought-after individual who has served in a variety of capacities on several Boards. He is currently Chairman of the US representative to the Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Committee of the International Federation of Accountants; Member, Audit Committee of the American Institute for Research; Chair and a current member of the Montgomery County Employees Retirement System – Board of Trustees; Member, Board of Visitors of Howard University School of Business; Member, Dean’s Council of the Kogod School of Business - American University; and Chairman, Advisory Board for the Centre for Accounting Education – Howard University.

Mr Willie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Howard University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from American University.

Well-wishers across the world can tune in to be part of the virtual Open Campus graduation celebration via, UWItv’s channels on Flow EVO or on Facebook live this Saturday, October 16, from 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Caribbean/AST) | 3:00 p.m. (Jamaica/EST).



About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year. In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI stands among the top 1.5%.

The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

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