News Releases

Regional University honours sixteen Caribbean beacons

For Release Upon Receipt - October 22, 2009

St. Augustine

St Augustine Campus names four Valedictorians

In its ongoing campaign to shine light on past, present and future contributors to regional development, The University of the West Indies (UWI) is conferring sixteen honorary degrees during its month of graduation ceremonies throughout its campuses. The St Augustine Campus has also announced the names of this year’s four Valedictorians.

Ms Kailash Jaikaransingh, Valedictorian of the Faculty of Humanities and Education, will speak at the first St. Augustine Campus Graduation Ceremony on Friday 30th October at 10 a.m. At that ceremony, Mr. Christopher Laird will receive the honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt.). Mr. Laird, a theatre artist and poet, has devoted his life to developing the media, communication and film industries in Trinidad and Tobago.

The noted biographer, Prof Arnold Rampersad, will also receive the DLitt in that Friday morning ceremony, where he will be the guest speaker. Professor Rampersad is a Professor of English and the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. Among his many works of biography and criticism was the two-volume “Life of Langston Hughes” for which the first volume was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His work on W. E. B. Du Bois is also highly acclaimed. 

Dr Tennille Auguste, Valedictorian of the Faculty of Medical Sciences will speak in the Friday afternoon ceremony, which starts at 4 p.m. In that ceremony, Angela Cropper, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, will receive a DLitt from the University for her work relating to issues of the environment and sustainable development.

Ms Chava O’Sullivan, Valedictorian of the Faculty of Engineering will deliver the Valedictory Address on Saturday 31st October. The University will honour petroleum industry pioneer, Mr Robert B. Riley with an LLD in the Saturday morning ceremony, which starts at 10 a.m. 

In the Campus’ fourth and final ceremony, which starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday 31st October, Ms. Joni Lee-Pow, Valedictorian of the Faculty of Social Sciences will speak, and Mr. Yesu Persaud will receive an LLD for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavours.

At the Mona Campus, The Honourable John Issa will receive a Doctor of Laws degree. This consultant and entrepreneur is one of the most influential figures in the Jamaican tourism industry. Issa has received more than 18 national and industry awards, including the Order of Jamaica (1998), Tourism Medal of Excellence (2001), Trail Blazer Award (2005) and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Travel and Tourism (2007).

The degree DLitt honoris causa will be awarded to Mr. John Maxwell, veteran journalist and environmental activist. Involved in media since the 1950s, he was also a lecturer at CARIMAC UWI as well as at UTECH, Jamaica.

Another recipient of the Doctor of Laws degree will be the Honourable Oliver F. Clarke, Chairman and Managing Director of the Gleaner Company.

For her achievements as a publisher and cultural historian, the Honorary DLitt will be conferred on Dr. Anne Walmsley. Born in Derby, England, she fell in love with Caribbean culture and has since devoted herself to producing and disseminating works of West Indian Literature and Visual Arts.

Professor Colin A Palmer will also receive a DLitt at the Mona Campus graduation ceremony. A prolific scholar and historian, he has produced over 60 publications with several papers still to be published.

At the Cave Hill Campus, Sir Frederick Ballantyne GCMG (Knight Grand Cross), Governor General of St Vincent and the Grenadines, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Sciences degree. Sir Frederick has been in this office since September 2nd, 2002, and was knighted in November 2008.

Mr. Paul Bernard Altman is also expected to be honoured with an LLD at the Cave Hill Campus. This entrepreneur has prospered as a leader in tourism development and heritage conservation in the Caribbean for over 30 years.

Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford will also receive and LLD at the Cave Hill Campus. This scholar wears several hats including statesman, author, educator, diplomat and politician. Having served as the fourth Prime Minister of Barbados, he has over 32 years of unbroken and devoted service to Parliament, and holds the record of the longest serving Minister of Education in Barbados.

Professor Zelma Edgell is expected to receive a DLitt at the Cave Hill Campus. A native of Belize, this accomplished novelist began her career as a reporter for the Jamaica Gleaner. Having completed a Masters in Liberal Studies, she currently serves as an Associate Professor at Kent State University, Ohio, USA.

The University celebrated an historic first with the inaugural Graduation Ceremony of its newest campus, the Open Campus, at the Beausejour Indoor Sports Facility in St Lucia on Saturday, October 17th, 2009. An LLD was awarded to Mrs. Peggy Antrobus, the dedicated social worker who is well respected for her contributions to society, as well as her support of the feminist ideology.

The man who gave St. Lucia its greatest symbol of independence, The Honourable Dunstan St. Omer received a D Litt. St. Omer was the artist responsible for designing the National Flag of St. Lucia in 1967.

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About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.