News Releases

Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald inducted as first Principal of UWI Open Campus

For Release Upon Receipt - October 26, 2009

St. Augustine

Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald was formally inducted as the first Principal of the Open Campus on Friday, October 16, 2009. The ceremony, which was attended by over 150 guests, took place at the Government House in the Principal’s homeland of St. Lucia.

Witnessing the historic event were four Governors General, including Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of St. Lucia; His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Governor General of St. Kitts & Nevis; Her Excellency Dame Louise Lake-Tack, Governor General of Antigua & Barbuda; and His Excellency Sir Carlyle Glean, Governor General of Grenada. Also in attendance were The Honourable Mr. Stephenson King, Prime Minister of St. Lucia, The Honourable Mr. Sam Condor, Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis; the Hon. Colin Riley, Minister of Education, Montserrat; and the Hon. McNeil Rogers, Minister of Social Development, Antigua & Barbuda, as well as Open Campus Council members and Principal Officers of the University including Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice Chancellor; Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill campus; Professor Clement Sankat, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the St. Augustine Campus; Mr. Joseph Pereira, Deputy Principal of the Mona Campus, the University Registrar, Mr. C. William Iton; the University Bursar, Mr. Winston Bayley; and University Librarian, Ms. Jennifer Joseph.

The ceremony opened with a traditional academic procession, and featured entertainment by Elra Ermay, Luther Francois and the St. Lucia School of Music Concert Choir. The evening’s speakers included the Chairman of the Open Campus Council, Sir Dwight Venner; UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris; Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, Sir Hilary Beckles; Dr. Didicus Jules, Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC); Mrs. Charmaine Gardner, of the St. Lucian Private Sector; and Head of Open Campus - St Lucia, Mrs. Veronica Simon.

In her inaugural speech, Professor Simmons-McDonald spoke of the necessity of the University to restructure itself to ensure that it serves more persons with higher education products and services around and outside of the region, and issued her firm commitment to overseeing the development of the Open Campus into the premier higher learning institution for distance education in the Caribbean region by the year 2016.

She said "I propose that we seriously consider putting more major resources in place to ensure that we will become a major center for the deployment of educational services to the marginalized across the region as well as to our adult learners and professionals who wish to continue expanding their education and skill dimensions". The Principal’s Induction preceded another ‘Open Campus first’, that was its inaugural graduation ceremony held on Saturday, October 17 at St. Lucia’s Beausejour Indoor Sports Facility.

Notes to the Editor: See overleaf.

For photos please see


About Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald

Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald officially began her tenure as the Open Campus Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal in January of 2006. A St. Lucian by birth, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald is a Professor of Applied Linguistics. Professor Simmons-McDonald was a Faculty member at Cave Hill since 1991. She has provided leadership as Deputy Dean (Outreach -1993-1995); as Head of Department (1995-1999); as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education (2003-2007) at the Cave Hill Campus.  She has considerable experience in and understanding of the educational needs of the Eastern Caribbean countries. Her professional experience began in 1970 in the UWI School of Continuing Studies in St. Lucia as a part-time Instructor of English Language and Literature. She was also Acting Resident Tutor from 1973-1974 and served at the Mona Campus as Temporary Lecturer from 1977-1979. Professor Simmons-McDonald's main research interests include: Applied Linguistics: Language Acquisition/Learning; Teaching of English in Creole Contexts; Literacy in French Creole. Her academic works include Exploring the Boundaries of Caribbean Creole Languages (2005), co-edited with Ian Robertson, Writing in English (1996) and the popular Heinemann Ginn Let's Work with English Series, Books 1-3 and a fourth book for CXC, which adopts an exciting, integrated, task-based approach to teaching English in Caribbean secondary schools. 

For more information about the Open Campus Principal’s Induction Ceremony, contact:

Ms. Suzette Wolfe

The Marketing & Communications Unit,

The University of the West Indies, Open Campus

Tel:  876-927-1201 or 876-970-0720

Fax: 876-977-3443




About The UWI Open Campus

The newest UWI campus was formally launched in June 2008 and offers multi-mode teaching and learning services in over 40 physical site locations and virtual locations across 16 English-speaking Caribbean including Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks & Caicos Islands.  The UWI Open Campus offers an open and flexible learning environment for pre-university, professional development, undergraduate and graduate courses and programmes in online, face-to-face and blended format. The UWI Open Campus is an amalgamation of three former departments – the Office of the Board for Non-Campus Countries & Distance Education (BNNCDE), the School of Continuing Studies (SCS), the UWI Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC), and the Tertiary Level Institutions Unit (TLIU). All programmes and courses at the Open Campus have been designed in direct response to a need for high quality continuing and professional development in many key areas in the Caribbean and global markets.


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, consisting of four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and the new Open Campus. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 100 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate certificate, diploma and degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences. As an icon of Caribbean integration and culture, UWI remains committed to enhancing every aspect of Caribbean development and improving the well-being of the people of the Caribbean.



  • Ms. Suzette Wolfe, The Marketing & Communications Unit, UWI Open Campus

  • Faculty/Department

  • Tel.: 876-927-1201 or 876-970-0720
  • Email: