News Releases

The UWI Honours the Legacy of Gérard Besson

For Release Upon Receipt - August 10, 2023

St. Augustine

 undefinedMr. Gérard Besson, Honorary Graduate of The UWI 

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. July 27, 2023 - In 2015, Gérard Besson was celebrated by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St Augustine Campus for his timeless work and consistent contributions to publishing, the preservation of heritage, and historical and creative writing. Now the campus joins the local and regional communities to mourn Besson’s passing. 

Besson was a multifaceted individual and in his notable career, he served on the St. Augustine Campus Council of The UWI for seven years. It was in recognition of his exceptional work in the field of advertising, his storytelling and his rigorous documentation of historical events that The UWI conferred the Honorary Doctorate upon him in 2015. The university acknowledged his relentless pursuit of truth, his vast knowledge of Caribbean history, and his unwavering commitment to education and learning. 

In his remarks at the 2015 graduation ceremony, Besson made his passion for storytelling relatable to all as he described, “We are story-telling and story-hearing creatures. We love stories and learn much better from them than from cold facts.” 

And while he spoke of many of the great stories and storytellers, he left the graduates with wise words that were all his own, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, that you cannot then, be false to anyone. Seek out and speak the truth, and you will enjoy the meat of the matter.” 

The University of the West Indies extends its heartfelt condolences to Mr. Besson's family, friends, and all who mourn his loss.


About The University of the West Indies 

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 for the past 75 years. 

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 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). 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 in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 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. 

2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University. 

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